(CNN) — Last year was the Year of the Butt.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there was a 58% increase in buttock enhancement surgery in 2013 compared to the year before. This operation had the largest gains of all cosmetic procedures for the year.
So why are so many Americans undergoing surgery to enhance their derrieres?
I believe the answer lies with the media, both broadcast and social. Plastic surgeons are seeing more and more women who want the backsides of various stars. While I don’t hear Jennifer Lopez’s name much anymore, other stars with ample behinds have taken her place.
Ratings for her reality show may be declining, but Kim Kardashian is still the poster child for a large and shapely backside. In fact, a recent butt selfie (also known as a “belfie”) on Instagram went viral with over 1 million admirers “liking” it. Beyonce’s skimpy outfit at the Grammy Awards this year displayed her well-rounded tush for all to see and admire. And Internet sensation Jen Selter’s nearly impossibly round and smooth bottom is quickly becoming the most requested rear end of all. In fact, one of my patients even dubbed it the “Eighth Wonder Of The World.”
It’s not easy to get curves like theirs. The most common type of buttock enhancement, called the “Brazilian Butt Lift,” involves liposuctioning fat from the thighs or hips, purifying it, and then re-injecting it into the buttocks.
The surgery typically takes a minimum of two to three hours to complete and costs more than $5,000. In addition, I instruct my patients to avoid sitting on their bottom for a month in order to prevent the fat and derriere from flattening out. Not an easy thing to do.
The other technique of buttock enhancement involves insertion of solid silicone implants, one in each cheek. This surgery can be quite painful, and in the wrong hands has a high risk of infection and implant displacement. Because of this, it’s not an operation that I perform.
Interestingly, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the other procedure that underwent a huge increase in 2013 was labiaplasty. Last year the number of women undergoing labiaplasty increased by a whopping 44%.
So what exactly is labiaplasty?
This surgery involves removal of excess skin from a woman’s labia minora. Yes, the skin is cut off in order to treat problems such as chafing, pain during intercourse, and even cosmetic concerns.
This field of cosmetic surgery has been dubbed “cosmetic gynecology” and is being increasingly performed by both plastic surgeons and gynecologists. In fact, between 2012 and 2013 the number of plastic surgeons performing labiaplasty increased from 21%-29%.
So why are more and more women having this done? According to my esteemed colleague Dr. Christine Hamouri, “The reality is that women have been grooming themselves differently for about the past 10 years, with many eliminating pubic hair altogether, and consequently, they are noticing what things look like in that region as a result. Many of my patients want to achieve a clean, smooth look as they would with their face and underarms.”
So what do you think? Would you consider having one of these increasingly popular “below-the-belt” procedures?
By Dr. Anthony Youn, CNN contributor
Editor’s note: Dr. Anthony Youn is a plastic surgeon in metro Detroit. He is the author of “In Stitches,” a humorous memoir about growing up Asian-American and becoming a doctor.
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