ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
CANCER
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
CAREGIVING
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Football Can Shrink Players
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
Maximize Your Run
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
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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