Tummy tucks and liposuction were never meant to take the place of a nutritionally sound diet or exercise program. So Melissa Doft, MD, a New York City plastic surgeon, was surprised and troubled at the number of patients who requested these procedures as a way to instantly drop a few pounds.
What these patients really needed, Dr. Doft realized, was counseling to help them slim down by eating healthier and getting fitter. Then, after they lost the excess weight and learned to keep it off, cosmetic surgery could help with body contouring.
Dr. Doft teamed with local dietitians and personal trainers to develop a lifestyle program in conjunction with her medical practice. Her goal, she says, is to help patients understand that liposuction shouldn’t be viewed as a quick fix, but rather “a springboard to a healthier way of living.”
“It just makes sense,” she says. “My job is as much to treat the patient as to treat the imperfection.”
In creating a lifestyle program, Dr. Doft finds herself sitting on the cusp of an aesthetics evolution: No longer satisfied to deal solely in the superficial, medical and surgical aesthetic professionals are increasingly adding weight-loss, nutritional counseling and other lifestyle components to their cosmetic practices.
Many variations on the aesthetic-lifestyle theme exist: Some practitioners, like Dr. Doft, have cobbled together programs as adjuncts to their medical aesthetic practices, usually by hiring or contracting with dietitians, chefs and coaches. Others sign up with turnkey or franchise weight-loss programs. Some practitioners have created combination practices, with lifestyle, weight loss, lasers and liposuction seamlessly integrated from the get-go.
But regardless of how the program works, the basic goal is the same: happier, healthier patients with superior, longer-lasting aesthetic outcomes.
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