Weight loss surgeries fuel rise in plastic surgery, doctors say

Weight loss surgery is a booming business, and doctors now say that's leading to an increase in certain plastic surgery procedures.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons released its annual report Monday on what's hot in cosmetic procedures. The report found that in 2014, procedures associated with massive weight loss -- tummy tucks, thigh lifts, upper arm lifts and breast lifts -- grew at their fastest rate in four years. Surgeons suggest that such growth is a direct result of the increase in weight loss surgeries.

"We think there is a correlation between the two types of procedures, and we expect that trend to continue," ASPS President Scot Glasberg, M.D., a private-practice plastic surgeon based in New York City, said in a press release. "Post-massive weight loss patients are the number one growth area I have seen in my practice, and I'm sure that's the case in many doctor's offices across the country."

Nearly 179,000 obese Americans underwent weight loss surgery in 2013. However, once the goal of shedding the pounds has been accomplished, many are not satisfied with their thinner bodies because large amounts of excess skin fails to shrink back to its previous size. That's where plastic surgery or body contouring procedures come into play.

The number of lower body lifts, which tighten and sculpt the thighs, hips, buttocks and abdomen, increased by 7 percent, the most of all body contouring procedures. Tummy tucks and thigh lifts increased 5 percent since 2013, while upper arm lifts rose by 3 percent.

About a quarter of all weight-loss surgery patients went on to have some type of cosmetic surgery, according to the report. The plastic surgeons' group says many others might benefit from it.

"Going forward, we'd like to be a part of the process from the outset, when patients are first starting to consider weight loss surgery," Glasberg said. "A lot of times patients think weight loss surgery is the answer to their issues, when in reality it may only be one step in the process."

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American Society of Plastic Surgeons

The report found that 15.6 million people underwent some type of cosmetic procedure in 2014, up 3 percent from 2013. Buttock lifts and implants are among the fastest growing procedures over the past year, although breast augmentation surgery still reigns as the most common cosmetic surgery procedure.

The number of men having plastic surgery also continues to rise according to the report. Top cosmetic procedures for men were pectoral implants and breast reduction surgery, or gynecomastia.

Although teens only made up a small percentage of cosmetic procedures (2 percent) the most common surgeries in that age range included nose reshaping, ear surgery, male breast reduction and laser hair removal.