Got an insecurity? There’s a surgery for that.
Long gone are the days when people went under the knife purely for larger breasts or tighter tums.
Now, even the humble belly button is having an aesthetic renaissance as cosmetic surgeons report a surge in demand a procedure known as umbilicoplasty in a bid for achieving the “perfect” stomach.
Typically, treatment involves reshaping and/or resizing the navel area by removing or stretching the surrounding skin.
Speaking to The Independent, cosmetic doctor Dr Esho revealed he’s seen a rise in popularity of the procedure, claiming that a number of patients requested treatment while he was filming for E4’s Body Fixers.
“I associate this rise with the trends in fashion where people are now more comfortable showing their stomachs particularly in pictures shared on social media," he explained.
"Therefore, as a culture we are more aware of this region and how we would like it to look,” he explained.
It’s a pretty popular procedure across the pond too, as New York-based plastic surgeon Darren Smith told Allure he has also seen an increase in demand.
It’s not just a case of turning your “innie” into an “outie” either, according to Melissa Doft, another cosmetic surgeon working in NYC, patients are requesting umbilicoplasty after removing navel piercings, losing weight or giving birth.
The procedure can cost anywhere between $2,500 (£1,786) and $5,000 (£3,572), depending on how much restructuring is done to the area.
For Liam Preston, YMCA's head of the Be Real campaign, the potential for this surgery to become a bonafide trend in the UK poses a number of issues regarding body image.
“The problem with these trends is that they can put unnecessary pressure on individuals to aspire to an idealised look, often causing health risks along the way, as we’ve seen with the Kylie Jenner lip challenge, mermaid thighs and others," he told The Independent.
“Young people are extremely impressionable and are already constantly bombarded with images of bodies that don’t come natural to the majority of them. We’ve seen this leading to greater anxiety, starting at a younger and younger age.
“While everyone is free to make their own decisions when it comes to plastic surgery, it’s important to remember that the focus should be on health and happiness and not on trying to have the ‘perfect body.’”
According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the fourth most popular procedure last year was abdominoplasty, which umbilicoplasty is sometimes included in.
Like Esho, consultant plastic surgeon and former BAAPS president Rajiv Grover puts this popularity down to social media, explaining that while there are endless filters one can use to edit facial features online, there are few equivalents for the body.
“The advent of myriad filters in social media platforms allows for the ubiquitous enhancing and facial feminising of ‘selfies’," he said.
"However there are fewer options to reach online 'fitspiration' when it comes to body goals.”
Grover added that the rise in activewear may have also contributed to the boost in demand for a toned figure via surgical procedures.
“Both of these factors may potentially be the reasons why women’s focus for cosmetic surgery in 2017 has shifted from their face to their body in order to address the stubborn areas that neither diet, exercise, nor filters can reach.”
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