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Mississauga News – July 20th 2010

Tummy tuck surgery on the rise

By Julie Slack


Tummy tuck surgery is becoming increasingly popular in Mississauga and across North America as women strive to look better in a bikini.

Dr. Hugh McLean, former chief of plastic surgery at Trillium Health Centre Mississauga, says the tummy tuck is the most-requested plastic surgery he performs at the McLean Clinic in Mississauga, which he's operated since 1988. It's followed by breast enhancement and facelifts.

McLean says he performs the procedure, which costs $8,500, about two times per week at his 10,000-sq.-ft. clinic at the Sussex Centre. He's done about 1,000 such procedures at his clinic. It's mainly women who undergo the procedure, but some men request it as well, he notes.

The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons, which doesn't keep statistics on such surgeries, estimates that 12,000 people had the procedure in Canada last year. In the United States, where the number of tummy tucks has risen by 84 per cent since 2000, some 115,000 surgeries were performed in 2009.

McLean calls it the "mommy makeover," seeing many women in their 40s or 50s who've finished having children and want the procedure. "When people undergo a significant weight loss and are left with excess abdominal skin, no amount of personal effort will get rid of it," said McLean, who has more than 30 years' experience in the field. "Think of your skin like a well-worn bathing suit that loses its elasticity; there’s just no way to reverse the damaging stretch."

He believes the trend toward a flatter tummy has a lot to do with people being more health-conscious and more aware of body image. McLean says people have the money and they're willing to spend it to feel better about their body. To critics who call the procedure vain, he balks. "I looked up vain in the dictionary a number of years ago and it means having a particularly high opinion of oneself," he said. "I wouldn't say anyone who comes in here to inquire about this procedure has a particularly high opinion…I'd say they want a better opinion. They want to feel better about how they look. It's no more vain than going out and buying a sports car or a flat-screen television."

Mississauga resident and McLean Clinic patient Stacey Placket says having a tummy tuck was one of the best decisions of her life. "I took care of myself — I ate right, drank lots of water, used all the expensive creams and worked out throughout my pregnancy," she said. "I expected to easily bounce back into shape after having my son, but that wasn’t the case. I was determined to fix my flabby stomach myself, but no matter how toned my muscles got or how low my body fat percentage was, I couldn’t get rid of the flabby skin," she said. "I wouldn’t wear a bikini; I cringed if my shirt popped up when I reached for something."

McLean says his procedure, in which patients go home the same day following the three-hour surgery, is safe and heals quickly, with little discomfort.