Friday, 17 October 2008

Obesity is Cause of 31% Rise in Surgery

Flabby skin caused by obesity or dramatic weight loss has led to the number of men having a £4,000 operation to reduce "moobs" – fat on their breasts – rise by a quarter in five years, while 18 per cent more women have undergone breast uplifts.

Since 2003, tummy tucks on both sexes have risen by almost one third, according to Harley Medical Group, Britain's biggest cosmetic surgery company.

It says the many of the procedures are for patients who have lost large amounts of weight from dieting and require post obesity surgery. The firm has carried out more than 10,000 such operations over the past five years.

Senior surgeon Waqar Malik said 21 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women in the UK are classed as clinically obese, a figure which is predicted to rise to a quarter of all adults in 2010, meaning that tummy tucks may overtake breast enlargement as the clinic's most popular treatment over the next 10 years.

Doctors say men are finding it more acceptable to pay to alter their appearance. Just a few years ago, most plastic surgeons would not have operated on men.

Last week The Daily Telegraph disclosed that three-quarters of Britons are too fat and that 10 per cent more adults are overweight or obese than previously believed, putting them at risk of suffering serious health problems such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

John Wright, from Lincolnshire, who had a tummy tuck operation and male breast reduction, called gynaecomastia after he lost 22 stone, said: "After the immense effort and hard work of losing so much weight it was utterly soul destroying to see vast folds of skin hanging from my body.

"My local GP would not refer me to have cosmetic surgery on the NHS and so I was forced to go private. I used almost £10,000 of my savings, but I think it was worth every penny."

Lisa Littlehales, head nurse at The Harley Medical Group, said: "It is heartbreaking to see patients who have achieved so much to lose dramatic amounts of weight so embarrassed by their post weight loss bodies.

"Surgery is able to transform both their bodies which have been so vastly overstretched and in the process restore their confidence."

A male breast reduction operation costs £4,050. The surgeon makes an incision near the nipple and removes excess fat by liposuction. The operation takes 1 to 2 hours and patients can return to work in a few days.

For a £6,090 tummy tuck an incision is made below the belly button across the stomach from hip to hip. During the procedure abdominal muscles are tightened and excess skin is removed.

Figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) show a 61 per cent increase in the number of men having surgery to flatten their stomachs last year. Liposuction is now the second most common operation performed on men after nose alterations.