In annual statistics compiled by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) the number of men undergoing abdominoplasty or "tummy tucks" was up 15 percent for 2011 in the UK, with a concurrent rise of 7 percent for women.
A spokesman for BAAPS, Fazel Fatah, said, "It is also not surprising to note a considerable rise in treatments such as tummy tucks and liposuction when there has been an increase in people undergoing obesity treatment such as gastric bands. These patients are usually left with a lot of loose skin that causes physical problems and unsightly body contour which can only be addressed by surgery."
The fact that plastic surgery remains popular even in tough economic times points to the value patients place on both the physical and psychological improvements they experience from the procedures.
The decision to choose a tummy tuck over liposuction is largely dependent on individual muscle tone and the condition of the skin. It is not unusual for the two procedures to be performed in tandem, but each has unique characteristics in terms of limitations and benefits.
In general, liposuction is best for patients in good health who are close to achieving their ideal weight. The most significant results are achieved in people with good elasticity of the skin and whose abdominal muscles are sound. The procedure removes fat deposits that sit just beneath the skin that have proven resistance to exercise and diet.
Tummy tucks are the primary option when large amounts of loose skin are present and when the abdominal muscles themselves are loose. The excess fat is taken out, but the skin and underlying muscles are also tightened.
Neither procedure, however, should be considered as a means to lose weight, but rather as treatments for fat deposits, or as the culmination of a program of aggressive weight loss that has created a need for body contouring.
Many of the men who spoke with the BAAPS researchers had completed a weight loss regimen that left them with large amounts of loose skin. For them, the abdominoplasty was a necessary step toward the normal, trim appearance that was their overall goal. Their weight loss, however, had already been achieved by non-surgical methods.