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June 15, 2006

More frontiers in plastic surgery

I'm sorry I can't serve you another heaping plate of plastic surgery in highly intimate female regions, specifically Beverly Hills, California, but today's New York Times brings us the next best thing: removal of fat from new and sometimes interesting places: "Do My Knees Look Fat to You?"

LOVE handles, saddlebags, turkey wattle. Self-conscious women have been trying to reduce those body areas for years. But now, with more efficient diets and fitness routines, women are turning to more obscure anatomical zones. The newest worries? "Bra fat" and "back fat."
Dana Conte, a Manhattan bartender suffered from "back fat." And here, "suffering" is defined as being whistled at on the street but having your mother pull the back of your shirt down. Because it couldn't have been simply the fact that mothers sometimes don't like their daughters to display too much skin, fat or not; it had to be the fat. So Ms. Conte had two liposuction surgeries. Why two? Well, why not?
Last August, she had liposuction on her lower back around her waistline, and in January, she had liposuction again, this time on her mid- and upper-back to eliminate "bra fat," bulges that can occur when "your bra pushes lumps of fat down your back and up over the bra fastening and to the sides right near your arms," Ms. Conte said. The total fee for both procedures, $10,000, was well worth it, she said.
The article suggest that liposuction "has become a tool to enhance the near-perfect body parts of the already fit." In fact, "selective or micro liposuction" is used "to remove an ounce or three of fat from ankles, knees, chins, necks, backs and upper arms, according to some prominent plastic surgeons and dermatologists." And a doctor who does the procedure puts it well:
"Some of them are perfect 10's who want to be 10½'s," said Dr. Howard D. Sobel, a dermatologist in Manhattan whose liposuction patients have included models and personal trainers. "These patients' 'before' pictures are what patients in the past wished their 'after' pictures looked like."
And, as you might expect in this designer bodywork, each procedure has a nickname:
Patients have developed their own nicknames for these obscure fat deposits. To help doctors understand the exact locations their patients are describing, the journal Dermatologic Surgery recently published an article titled "Lexicon of Areas Amenable to Liposuction." According to the article, patients are now asking for liposuction of the "buffalo hump" (upper back), the "wings" (bulges around the bra area), the "doughnut" (around the belly button), the "banana fold" (below the buttocks), the "piano legs" (calves) and the "chubb."

"Chubb is a Southern term for the kneecap area," said one of the article's authors, Dr. William P. Coleman III, a clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He has not yet heard a colloquialism for ankle fat.
What does the future hold? Well, here's something to think about: One doctors says, "Maybe liposuction will become like a gym membership where you pay a doctor $10,000 for the year and you can have as much surgery as you want."

On the plus side, I expect to have lots of news stories to write about.

UPDATE (6/16): PrawfsBlawg raises some legal questions, which are actually too serious to be interesting: "Query: what if a patient just asked a doctor to perform surgery, with absolutely no effect on their appearance? Would it be legally permitted for the doctor simply to take the money, make the incision, take out, say, a gram of fat? Is this purely a matter of contract? Or should legal standards prohibit such a transaction?"

What I want to know is, what happens if a guy gets plastic surgery and ends up with a hairy hand?