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Liposuction, Quick Fixes for the Obese

As Britons’ average waistlines expand, so does the number of people seeking liposuction as an easy way out//.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) gives figures of at least 4,000 of around 29,000 cosmetic surgery operations carried out last year, as being liposuction procedures. This is an almost doubling from figures of 2005.

The most popular ‘fixes’ include areas of the breast and eyelids followed by the areas targeted during liposuction.

According to figures released by BAAPS, the top procedure for women continues to be breast augmentation, with 6,156 carried out, followed by eyelid surgery, liposuction, face or neck lifts and breast reduction.

Nose jobs were the most common operation for men, with 525 carried out last year, followed by eyelid surgery,

liposuction, ear correction and face or neck lifts.

The growth in demand is part of an overall beautification frenzy sweeping the globe. In the UK, total cosmetic operations were up 31 per cent last year to almost 29,000, according to BAAPS.

The Harley Medical Group, which runs 13 cosmetic surgery clinics nationwide, says the true total is at least three times as high, at 90,000 procedures.

The BAAPS figures represents operations performed by its 180 consultant plastic surgeon members and are the "tip of the iceberg," it states.

Liposuction refers to the sucking or vacuuming of fat from regions like the abdomen, thighs, chin and breast regions.

Doctors are now worried as people who are overweight are trying out liposuction as a quick and easy means to get into shape.

Says Rajiv Grover, a consultant plastic surgeon and the BAAPS representative responsible for the national audit:"Judging by the dramatic rise in certain procedures, it is clear we are becoming a more body-image conscious society.

"However, it is important to note that liposuction and tummy tucks are not a treatment for weight management or obesity: they are body contouring procedures for patients near or already at their ideal body weight."

Publicized incidents of risk include the case of Denise Hendry, the wife of the former Scotland football captain Colin Hendry, who suffered complications from the procedure. She was in intensive care for nearly two months after sustaining nine punctures to her bowel and colon during a procedure. At one point her heart stopped for four minutes.

Douglas McGeorge, the president of BAAPS warns that the surgical procedure is not a quick fix for the obese. "It is not desperately difficult; I could teach a four year old to do it. The skill comes in resculpting the body. It is not an alternative to dieting. If someone is three stone overweight and wants liposuction to deal with the problem, I tell them to go away."

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