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Most Popular Plastic Surgeries

The Most Common Plastic Surgery Procedures


Updated February 14, 2009

Most Popular Plastic Surgeries

Blepharoplasty Before & After

Plastic surgery is growing in popularity each year, with almost two million surgical procedures taking place in the United States. In the last decade, the total number of plastic surgeries has increased by ninety eight percent, a tremendous increase when the vast majority are paid for out-of-pocket by the patient.

Women are no longer the only people having cosmetic surgery. Men are contributing to the boom in procedures, accounting for over one hundred and fifty thousand plastic surgeries per year. Minorities are also more likely to have cosmetic surgery, with almost a quarter of patients indicating that they are non-Caucasian.

#1 Liposuction

There are two types of liposuction, a surgical procedure that suctions fat from specific areas of the body to provide a slimmer and shapelier silhouette.

In tumescent liposuction, the most popular type, a solution of saline, a drug to constrict blood vessels and a numbing agent are infused into the area to be treated. This liquid, along with fat, is suctioned out of the body using small hollow metal instruments called cannulas. The infusion of liquid can cause short term fluid retention that diminishes over the next few days.

In Ultrasonic-Assisted Liposuction (UAL), the cannula releases ultrasonic energy to melt fat so that it can be suctioned out of the body. UAL has more risks than tumescent liposuction, including the risk of internal and external burns and a lengthier surgery.

The average patient is able to return to work in one to two weeks depending on the area(s) selected for the treatment.

#2 Breast Augmentation

The surgical enlargement of women’s breasts has become enormously popular with over 350,000 procedures done every year in America.

Surgery is done for many reasons, to enlarge both breasts, to replace a breast that is absent or to make asymmetrical breasts equal in size. Other women opt for surgery when their breasts do not develop during puberty, a condition called congenital micromastia.

Silicone implants, once banned as a health risk, are increasing in popularity. Almost twenty percent of women choose a silicone implant over saline, citing the more realistic feel of silicone.

Most patients have a one or two weeks recovery before they can return to normal activities. High impact activity, such as running, may require additional healing time.

#3 Blepharoplasty

Eye lid reshaping surgery is can be done for cosmetic reasons or to improve vision in patients where the eyelids obstruct vision. Too much skin or sagging skin can cause vision to be impaired and contributes to the appearance of aging.

Lower eyelids with chronic puffiness or wrinkling are often reduced during the procedure for a more youthful appearance. Fat pads under the eyes causing the appearance of “bags” are removed as necessary in the lower lid procedure.

The average recovery from this surgery is about ten days, with swelling becoming less noticeable for weeks or months.

#4 Abdominoplasty

Commonly known as a tummy tuck or a lower body lift, abdominoplasty removes excess skin from the abdominal area and tightens the skin that remains.

This surgery is growing in popularity, primarily among women who have excess skin after being pregnant or after losing significant weight after bariatric surgery. The ideal candidate does not have excess fat deposits in the abdomen to remove but too much skin hanging from the abdomen.

Most patients are able to resume normal activities in two to three weeks, but may have limits on physical activity for a longer period of time.

#5 Breast Reduction

A woman’s breast reduction surgery is one of the few plastic surgeries that insurance does pay for routinely, as the benefits go far beyond an improved appearance.

Women with very heavy or overly large breasts often have difficulty finding clothing that fits, experience chronic back pain and poor posture. Ideally, the surgery to reduce both the size and weight of the breasts will relieve back pain and improve posture.

The surgery is a permanent solution to having disproportionate breasts and most patients return to work within two weeks.

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