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Rise in Plastic Surgery Hits Below the Belt with Labiaplasty, Buttock Augmenation

Model Released. Wearing Bikini BottomsEvery year, the big aesthetic societies gather data from their member doctors to find out who’s having what done and how it compares to years past. This year, the numbers are starting to for 2013, and according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), not only are surgical procedures on the rise, but there are two, a-hem, delicate procedures that have grown in popularity. What are they and on where? A recent ASAPS news release appropriately refer to these as those that take place “below the belt.”

Buttock Augmentation

Okay, so this might not be a huge surprise, with increasing positive media attention to rounder, fuller backsides, but according to ASAPS statistics, buttock augmentation increased by a whopping 58% compared with 2012. That’s a lot of love!

And not only are the procedure numbers up, but so too are the number of doctors performing them. The society reports an 11% increase from 2012 to 2013. According to the release, Jack Fisher, MD, ASAPS president said, “Over the past decade, we’ve seen a cultural shift towards a greater acceptance of and a desire for a rounder, more prominent derriere in specific regions across the country, so the increase in buttock augmentation procedures is not that surprising.”


Of the two “below-the-best” procedures, labiaplasty is definitely the dark horse, with ASAPS reporting a 44% increase in 2013 compared with the previous year’s numbers. Mimicking the trend with buttock augmentation, there has also been a rise in the number of doctors performing the procedure—by 8%, reports the news release. Why the interest in this personal area of enhancement? ASAPS President-Elect Michael Edwards, MD, is quoted in the news release as saying, “…I believe more women are also pursuing procedures like labiaplasty to correct labia-related issues that are interfering with their ability to perform sexually, to perform daily tasks such as exercise, or are merely causing discomfort.”

Christine Hamori, MD, ASAPS member and labiaplasty specialist told the news source that, “The reality is that women have been grooming themselves differently for about the past ten years, with many eliminating pubic hair altogether, and consequently, they are noticing what things look like in that region as a result. Many of my patients want to achieve a clean, smooth look as they would with their face and underarms.”

ASAPS is scheduled to release the full report of 2013 statistics this March.

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Can Face Exercises Turn Back the Hands of Time?

face exerciseFrom so-called “yoga” for your face to expensive microcurrent at-home facial “toning” devices, everyone wants to get in the game when it comes to finding non-surgical ways to turn back the hands of time. But the big question to those of us looking for a painless and easy way to rejuvenate is, of course, do face exercises work? The aesthetic medical community recently put a few good scientific minds to this very question and published their findings earlier this year in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

9 Studies

In the article “The Effectiveness of Facial Exercises for Facial Rejuvenation,” a group of Belgian researchers led by John Van Borsel, PhD, took an analytical approach to existing research on facial exercise for enhancement, reviewing 9 studies that took a closer look at how exercising the facial muscles may or may not rejuvenate the face. Interestingly, all studies were reported from South America, and “studies” were actually case reports or small series and used subjective evaluations only, according to the researchers.

Van Borsel et al. report that “Although positive outcomes were achieved in all 9 studies, none of the studies used a control group and randomization process.” In other words, these studies make claims without effectively following good scientific methods and, therefore, can not be trusted as necessarily accurate.

In a press release from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), Van Borsel told the society, “The existing published studies were not randomized or controlled. Most lacked blinding and only used subjective measures to assess the effectiveness of treatment. We need better studies before we can draw any conclusions about the usefulness of facial exercises.”

Looking Ahead

But there is at least some good news that comes out of all of this. The conclusion the Belgian researchers came to simply elucidates the fact that there is a need for more thorough and vigorous study of these popular, yet unproven, non-surgical techniques.

According to Foad Nahai, MD, Editor-in-Chief of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, “Randomized, controlled studies are the gold standard for determining the efficacy of any procedure. Hopefully, we will see some well designed studies in the future that can help us determine whether these claims have merit.” That’s also according to the society’s press release.

We can expect that it’s only a matter of time until someone rises to the occasion and the aesthetic community gets some real answers. Until then, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reports in their annual plastic surgery statistics that surgical facelifts and non-surgical fillers—both used to create facial contours more characteristic of a youthful face—are up by 6% and 13%, respectively.

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