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Buttock Augmentation: Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons Debate the Bottom Line

NEW YORK , NY (April 29, 2005) – Not since the days of the bustle has the fashion spotlight been so focused on shapely buttocks. Whether it's the influence of popular celebrities, cultural crossover or simply a response to fashion trends, lower body curves have made a comeback. Plastic surgeons have adapted standard techniques and are developing new ones to address patients’ desire for firmer, higher, rounder buttocks. Innovations in buttock augmentation surgery will be discussed by leading experts at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) in New Orleans. The ASAPS meeting, considered the major international forum for education and research in cosmetic plastic surgery, takes place April 29 – May 4 at the Ernest Morial Convention Center.

One tried-and-true procedure that now is being used to enhance gluteal contours is autologous fat injection, grafting fat from one body part to add volume to another. Donor sites may include the abdomen, hips, back or thighs. Fat cells are removed via lipoplasty (liposuction), and then injected in "layers" into the buttocks. Disadvantages of this technique are that it’s difficult to predict how much fat will be reabsorbed by the body, and multiple procedures may be necessary.

Implants are another alternative for reshaping the buttocks. The procedure often is performed by making an incision in the fold between the buttock "cheeks" and inserting a solid silicone implant into the pocket below the gluteus muscle and above the pelvic bone. The periphery of the cheeks is taped after surgery, so the implants are held in position as the tissues heal. Buttock implants are not effective for treatment of sagging buttocks, which often may occur after significant weight loss. Implants are most appropriate when congenital deformity or heredity is the cause of flat or poorly defined buttocks.

Due to the increased interest in buttock augmentation over the past several years, a panel discussion and complete Scientific Session will be devoted to this procedure at the ASAPS Annual Meeting. “This section of the meeting program will cover everything from aesthetics of the 'ideal' buttocks to details of the surgical techniques most appropriate for certain patients,” says ASAPS Public Education Chair Michael McGuire, MD, who co-chairs the session.

An increase in the number of patients undergoing bariatric surgery has encouraged plastic

surgeons to seek improved methods of treating the cosmetic problems associated with massive weight loss, such as deformities of the buttocks region. ASAPS presenter Ozan Sozer, MD, of El Paso, TX says: “One issue for the massive weight loss patient is postoperative loss of gluteal projection resulting in a flattened buttock contour.” Dr. Sozer will be discussing his use of an autologous buttock implant, using the patient's own tissue, in conjunction with a lower body lift.

“The ASAPS meeting provides a unique forum for surgeons from various countries around the world to compare not only surgical techniques but also cultural ideals of beauty,” says ASAPS President Peter Fodor, MD. “Our South American colleagues, for example, reported great interest in buttocks augmentation procedures before the current growing popularity in our country. Cultural aesthetics can vary, and it's important for American doctors to be aware of this, particularly since the number of procedures performed in the U.S. on patients from ethnically diverse backgrounds is increasing.”

According to ASAPS 2004 statistics, Americans had over 2,100 buttock augmentation procedures and nearly 6,000 buttock lifts last year. There were nearly 11.9 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed, up 465% from 1997.

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