ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Know Your Asthma Triggers
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
Cane Use May Cut Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis
CANCER
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Successful Weight Loss Shows Unique Brain Patterns
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
EYE CARE, VISION
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Eat Light - Live Longer
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
The Unmedicated Mind
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Optimism May Boost Immune System
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Add your Article

Bye, Bye Back Fat?

FRIDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- For many women, unsightly bumps and bulges above and below the back of their bra can make wearing body-hugging fashions a nightmare.

Now, a plastic surgeon in North Carolina has designed a procedure that lifts and smoothes the upper and middle back.

In a one-hour procedure, with the patient under general anesthesia, Dr. Joseph P. Hunstad makes an incision across the back, at the level of the bra line. "We strongly gather up every bit of 'tissue laxity,' which can be 8 to 10 inches of excess skin, and remove it," he said.

The area is stitched closed, leaving a fine line scar that is typically hidden under the bra or a swimsuit, he said.

Hunstad reported on the new procedure in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

He details the case histories of seven women who had the procedure. The average age was 54, and six of seven patients were not overweight. Only one had undergone gastric bypass surgery for weight loss. "This procedure eliminates all the laxity there, and the contour of their whole body becomes taut and smooth," he said. While he uses a short-acting general anesthesia, he said the procedure could be done under a local anesthesia in some patients.

"If we have a heavy patient, which is unusual, we can do liposuction at the same time," he said.

So-called back fat can occur with age or after substantial weight loss, he said.

Patients are advised to avoid vigorous activity, heavy lifting, raising their arms above their head or submerging the surgical site under water after the procedure. They can shower after 24 hours, return to normal activity in three or four days, and can walk for exercise within 48 hours of surgery, Hunstad said.

During the follow-up, on average almost two years, complications were minimal, he said, with no infections or tissue death. Two of the seven women underwent scar revision surgery, but Hunstad said their scars weren't much different than those on the other five patients. It's important, he wrote in the report, to discuss the scar with the patient before the surgery, so expectations are realistic.

The new technique "will catch on," said Dr. Renato Calabria, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon familiar with the procedure. "It's a great operation and works well, and the scar is hidden [under the bra], but there is still a scar," he noted.

"For years, doctors have used liposuction to take care of back fat," Calabria said. Now, the new procedure might be used in combination with liposuction, he added.

Not everyone will go for it, , however, Calabria said. "Here in Beverly Hills, there are not a lot of patients who want to walk around with that kind of scar," he explained.

Elsewhere, however, Calabria predicted the procedure will catch on. It might be appreciated especially by patients who have lost a substantial amount of weight and have sagging skin on their back.

The cost is about $7,500 to $10,000, Hunstad said, noting the fees vary from region to region. In large metropolitan areas, patients can expect to pay up to $20,000 for it, Calabria said.

-Kathleen Doheny

More information

To learn more about body contouring, visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.



SOURCES: Joseph P. Hunstad, M.D., plastic surgeon, Charlotte, N.C.; former professor, Duke University, Durham, N.C., and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Renato Calabria, M.D., plastic surgeon, Beverly Hills, Calif., and instructor, University of Southern California Department of Plastic Surgery; October 2008, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Last Updated: Sept. 12, 2008

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