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Feeling good about oneself from the “outside-in” with the help of plastic surgery has become more mainstream and acceptable in today’s society.Winter 2008Feeling good about oneself from the “outside-in” with the help of plastic surgery has become more mainstream and acceptable in today’s society.

In fact, within the last decade, national and international demand for surgical aesthetic procedures has grown by approximately 114 percent, according to Julie Barr, director of SKIN MediSpa and Barr Plastic Surgery.

At Sudbury’s first fully-accredited, private operating facility, business has grown more than 150 percent since it opened in 1998. Non-surgical procedures such as Botox, injectable fillers, microdermabrasion and laser hair removal have soared an incredible 754 percent.

Dr. Scott Barr, a Sudbury plastic surgeon and medical director of Barr Plastic Surgery, has witnessed firsthand the evolution of cosmetic surgery, both in its transparency and community acceptance.

“Fifteen years ago, women were very shy and withdrawn with respect to cosmetic surgery,” he said. “They’d get it done, but there would be this period of time where they would hide out…Now we don’t see that. At least one-third of my patients talk to others about it.”

Scott Barr said 10 percent of his clients are men. Evolving technology has developed more dramatic results than in the past, both with surgical and non-surgical procedures. There is a much higher safety profile as well.

“There are so many more options available to patients that weren’t there 15 years ago,” he said.

SmartLipo is one example of a new liposuction device that works with two different wavelengths of light using a Yag fibreoptic laser, which melts fat through an opening between two to four millimetres.

In 2007, the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure was liposuction, while the most frequently performed non-surgical procedure was Botox injections, according to the Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Statistics website.

At Barr Plastic Surgery, the top five procedures for women are breast augmentation, liposuction, eyelid surgery, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and breast reduction.

For men, the top five procedures are liposuction, eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty (nose reshaping), breast reduction to treat enlarged male breasts, and hair transplantation.
Cost is another consideration. In Canada, Medicard and Credit Medical are the two most commonly used finance companies.

For those who seek out physical change through plastic surgery, an initial consultation is required. During this time the patient’s aesthetic goals are discussed, as well as the degree of improvement that can be reasonably expected. All the available information and options are presented, as well as the associated benefits and risks. Patient history is taken and a thorough physical examination is performed. If a surgical procedure is recommended, an appointment is booked.

Prior to the surgery, a nurse will review post-op instructions, and take the patient on a short tour of the facility. Once surgery is complete, there is at least one follow-up visit to ensure proper healing.

For some procedures, like rhinoplasty, computer software is used to show digital images of potential changes, allowing the patient to see results prior to the surgical procedure. For women seeking breast augmentations, multiple-size bras and sizers are available to be tried on under a blouse in front of a full-length mirror, so they can see their enhanced body proportions. Barr said that proper education leads to better informed patients and positive results.

Two groups that typify the way most patients feel about aesthetic procedures are women seeking breast implants and men seeking hair transplants.

“A lot of people see it as an unnecessary and unessential service,” Barr said. “But for the patients who get these procedures, it transforms the way they feel about themselves and how they interact with people.”

The most common response received by clients after surgery is that they wonder why they hadn’t done it sooner.

A 32-year-old woman who had breast augmentation performed is a typical patient.
“I’ve always been flat-chested, but I’ve never been comfortable with it,” she said. Pleased with the results, she said her clothes fit and feel better. It gave her peace of mind.

Ultimately, the goal is to gain empowerment so people can feel better about themselves.

“It is a really exciting time to be doing what I do,” Barr said. “ The patients are really thrilled with the outcome, so it makes a big difference.”

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