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To have plastic surgery or not, that is the question….

deciding to have plastic surgry imageArticle by Anne Elliott

I am often asked what I think about using cosmetic surgery or supplements. My view on both of these things is quite straightforward. They are best used conservatively and at an appropriate time. For example, if you eat a good enough diet you shouldn’t really need supplements unless it is at specific time in your life when you need more than you can get in your daily diet i.e. folic acid during pregnancy or calcium during menopause. As to cosmetic surgery I think it also has a place, but it can be easily abused or used instead of trying to follow a good diet and exercise regime.

 Vulnerable to body image during menopause

We are all vulnerable to body image at all times in our life and the pressure to look young and fit is immense. During menopause we are particularly vulnerable as it is a time of great physical and mental change. Not only are we battling with the acceptance of moving into the next phase of our lives we also see the physical effects hormone changes bring on; as well as losing strength, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility, our metabolism is also slowing down. It doesn’t happen overnight it is a slow insidious process and even those of us who work hard exercising every day and watching what we eat still find that instead of seeing improvements we’re now just keeping hold of what we’ve got. As we age this process accelerates and it becomes harder and harder to stay ahead of the game.

Fat from upper body migrates to your waist

You might have noticed that it seems all the fat from your upper body that padded out the nice bits and gave them some shape has now migrated to your waist. And not only is it there, but it seems to float above the real you, so much so that you can grab great swathes and wobble it around. Sometimes it even moves independently depending on where gravity is! You are not imagining this. Fat distribution is effected by hormonal change. And to add insult to injury, this new fat seems to be particularly stubborn when you try to shift it and that’s because your metabolism is slowing. So it’s not unreasonable at this stage to consider plastic surgery as an option especially if you’re already exercising as much as you reasonably can. I am not immune to this. In fact this thought occurred to me quite recently. And so it was that I started my quest to look into and consider the options out there.

Researching plastic surgery

I thought that if I was going to do it, I would want the safest and most effective method possible. There was no way I would ever have done liposuction; it’s much too invasive and damages the body more than it helps. But now there are a new raft of products and procedures that have appeared that seemed worthy of consideration and I looked at them all. The newer approaches seem to favour going into the subcutaneous fat layer and aggressively attacking the adipose tissue with either laser or sound. The claims seem good. The procedures are a lot less intrusive than the old method, you don’t need to have a full anaesthetic therefore recovery is much faster, you see results immediately as the fat is aspirated during the operation and we are told that the outer skin layer shrinkwrap’s back down so you don’t get the slagging that was a tell-tale sign of the old method. All sounds good so far and so I started to look for reviews, medical papers, clinic and surgeon comparisons and claims to decide which might be the best method for me.


But this is where my hopes and dreams were shattered. I found clinics with very impressive London addresses, which were obviously hired premises. This gave me a sense of impermanence and a fly by night approach to medicine. I found a good number of reviews by patients who had gone through these procedures who were less than happy with both the effect and the post operative treatment they had received, I was extremely concerned to find out that there is no governing body that oversees or moderates this type of medical work which means that these clinics have little to no regulation in terms of quality or efficacy, but most of all what really irritated me was that I was unable to find out how much it was going to cost me to remove fat from my stomach and my sides. I didn’t want to know to the exact penny, but I wanted an indication of the amount it was likely to cost. All of the clinic websites drove me to phone numbers where I was urged to call and make a consultancy appointments. I understand that every body shape is difference, but surely it’s not going to be that different to create enormous cost changes. In fact, once I realised this I was aware of the large degree of lack of information given but that everything was focused into getting me into a clinic for a consultation. I also noted in patient reviews that it was not uncommon for people to haggle over the cost of their treatments.

Researching prospective surgeon thoroughly

It was at this point that I spoke to a friend who knows much more about this industry than I do. It was her warnings to make sure that I’d fully researched any prospective surgeon before I went ahead. In fact her concerns about the whole industry, which backed up the concerns I had found, lead me to think that I might just put it off for a while. In fact I’m still looking regularly and re-searching but I still haven’t found any company or clinic that has given me enough reassurance to make me think that the procedure would be safe, effective, with good after-care, and reasonably priced.

What are your views or experience of plastic surgery?

We readers of FabafterFifty are one of the main targets audiences for this industry for all the reasons I outlined initially. I would be really interested to hear your experiences in both looking for, thinking about and perhaps even doing something about using cosmetic surgery. Why not leave your comments below, and if there’s enough of us, perhaps Ceri might set up a forum for a wider discussion.


But don’t forget, even the best surgeon doing the most effective procedure in the world cannot give you the health benefits that good regular exercise can.


Looking forward to hearing from you.



ANNE ELLIOTT is 52. She has a Personal Training Practice that specialises in working with middle-aged clients and their associated health problems. She lectures in Sports Science at Middlesex University, is an ABAE boxing referee, is registered with REPS at Level 4 and is undertaking a Doctorate in exercise in middle age. Anne appears regularly in the media talking about her specialisation - exercise in middle age.

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  1. Dee

    May 1, 2012

    I would recommend i-lipo. Beaty clinic laser treatment, no surgery or surgeons. A known cost and I lost 10cm off the circumference of my waist after 11 session. Six months later still no return of the fat

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