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The Scoop on Back Scooping Surgery

by Edie Pastis

The Scoop on Back Scooping Surgery

When the results of Heidi Montag's plastic surgery free-for-all were unveiled in January of 2010, most people simultaneously marveled/cringed/drooled over her newly sculpted barbie doll-bod. Montag, who reportedly underwent 10 plastic surgery procedures at once in November of 2009, has quickly become the new plastic surgery poster girl.

Some of Montag's cosmetic procedures, like breast augmentation and cheek augmentation, were evident immediately in her first-released before and after pictures. However, word on other minor procedures Montag had received, like "back scooping," became news more recently.

What is Back Scooping?

Long before Montag's coining of its new nickname, "back scooping" had already been a popular plastic surgery procedure. Back scooping is regularly known as back liposuction, micro liposuction or back sculpting. Montag, and many patients before her, opted for back scooping surgery to remove extra fat from the lower back, love handles, and/or the "muffin top" area to create a more toned, concave lower back shape.

In terms of the procedure itself, back scooping is alleged to be minimally invasive, low-risk, and it isn't prone to major side effects or complications. Since micro lipo requires smaller incisions than traditional liposuction, back scooping also promises minimal scarring and short recovery times. Patients can often return to work in less than a week post back scooping, and may be fully recovered in as little as two weeks.

Back scooping or back liposuction can be applied to one or more back fat areas, including:

  • Infra scapular fat (flanks): back fat located near sides of the middle back, below the shoulder blades and underneath the bra strap
  • Posterior axillary fat: back fat located on the sides of the upper back, below the shoulder and near the armpit
  • Posterior waist fat (love handles): back fat above and behind hip bones
  • Lumbo-sacral fat pad: back fat in the middle of the lower back, above the tailbone
  • Buffalo hump: back fat located on mid-upper back, below the neck

While Montag didn't specify which lower back area her back scooping targeted, it's likely that Montag had micro liposuction on the lumbo-sacral fat and/or the love handles. From her before pictures, we know that Montag didn't have much back fat to begin with. However, the love handles and lower back are often touched up with lipo in conjunction with liposuction of the waist and thighs, which Montag is confirmed to have had.

Why Did Montag Undergo Back Scooping?

When first asked to elaborate on what back scooping was in early April, while being interviewed during "On Air with Ryan Seacrest," Montag herself didn't seem certain!

"I actually don't know. I might be the first one to try it. It carves out your back a little bit." If Heidi isn't sure why she underwent back scooping, perhaps Montag's surgeon, Dr. Frank Ryan, made the suggestion. He may have felt back scooping would complement the lipo Montag was already getting on other lower body areas.

Since Heidi received silicone breast implants and buttock augmentation to dramatically enhance her curves, back scooping would've furthered that goal by sculpting the curve of her back and her waist as well.

Back Scooping OK for Thin Patients?

Some may think back scooping was an odd or unnecessary procedure for the naturally slim Heidi Montag. However, many patients who request back liposuction are indeed thin, as various plastic surgeons confirm.

A recent MSNBC article cited Dr. Anthony Youn—plastic surgeon and creator of the popular celebrity cosmetic surgery blog—when stating that, "it's often very thin patients who request the procedure". Youn was further quoted as saying the back is "...one of the only areas that can be effectively liposuctioned on a person who is otherwise very thin".

Many patients have found love handles and back fat to be stubborn and difficult to remove, even with regular exercise. Fortunately, back scooping can be used to treat very small areas of back fat, or to remove larger amounts of excess fat. In other words, both relatively fit individuals and obese patients can be candidates for back scooping surgery.

Other Benefits of Back Liposuction

Back scooping is also popular among new mothers, and can be easily incorporated into a mommy makeover plastic surgery package. Mommy makeovers typically consist of breast augmentation, liposuction and/or a tummy tuck to enhance those areas most impacted by pregnancy.

Back scooping can also reduce the size of a patient's waist, since excess fat on the hips, love handles and lower back can add to the total circumference of the waistline. Since abdominal tissue is more fibrous, and therefore more difficult to remove, back scooping alone might be a safer, easier way for slim patients to whittle their waistline.

Many men and women who want liposuction on their upper thighs, buttocks, abdomen etc. are often advised by their plastic surgeon to combine it with some back liposuction. This helps to ensure patients achieve a well-balanced, streamlined silhouette post treatment, as opposed to an uneven or box-like appearance.

Back Scooping Risks

The general word on back scooping risks is that there aren't many, which is encouraging. However, there's always an liposuction surgery always carries risks, and so it's best for patients to educate themselves about back scooping risk factors prior to treatment. Like with other types of plastic surgery, the greater the extent of back scooping surgery, the higher the risk of side effects and complications.

Micro liposuction on the back can pose minor risks such as bleeding, tenderness, swelling and bruising, but the incidence of more serious back scooping side effects is very rare. The biggest tip for avoiding back scooping side effects is to have the procedure performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon.

Is Back Liposuction Right for Me?

Many Heidi Montag fans are enamored with her head-to-toe plastic surgery makeover, but her extreme method of plastic surgery multitasking is strongly advised against for most patients. However, taking a cue from Montag where just one, or a few, procedures is concerned isn't a bad move.

In the case of Montag's back scooping, this procedure could offer an effective way to tone the waistline, enhance curves in the right places, or simply slenderize the shape of the lower back in a bathing suit or low-cut dress. For new moms, back liposuction can provide a great way to firm up their post-baby bodies. Back liposuction for men can enhance the broadness and masculinity of the upper back and torso.

To learn more about micro liposuction for the back, or back scooping, and whether or not you're a candidate for this popular back sculpting procedure, it's best to meet with a board-certified plastic surgeon near you!

To learn more about the latest liposuction treatments schedule a consultation with Sono Bello of Atlanta, GA.

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