Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Cheater's Guide to a Better Beach Body

A look at cosmetic procedures that can improve your appearance in time for beach season.

WebMD Feature

Forget bikini boot camp -- an arduous six-week cardio-blast designed to get your body beach-ready. Instead, growing numbers of people are nipping, tucking, sucking, and zapping their way to bodacious beach bods.

It may be cheating, but it works -- sometimes and in some people. While there is no substitute to a healthy diet and regular exercise, sometimes we all need a little extra help. Leading plastic surgeons and dermatologists sound off on what you should and should not be doing to get trim and toned for summer.

Breast Implants

They're back -- silicone breast implants, that is. And if anecdotal reports are correct, you will likely be seeing more women sporting these bosom buddies surfside this summer.

"With the approval of silicone implants, we are seeing an increase in interest in breast implantation and seeing more breast enhancement patients getting ready for the summer season," says Julius Few, MD, an associate professor of plastic surgery at Northwestern University in Chicago.

The FDA reapproved silicone breast implants in November 2006, so summer 2007 marks their beach debut. These implants first came on the market in 1962. In 1992, citing safety concerns, the FDA stopped their sale, but now the FDA says the implants are safe.

Few recommends women get the breast surgery about six weeks before they want to see and be seen (in a bikini). "In general, that's when I see the greatest settling of the implants because there is a phase of adjustment and settling, but typically six weeks gives you enough time so it feels comfortable," he says. That's not set in stone, though. "I have definitely had patients who after two weeks have gone on to a warm-weather vacation and have done very well in a bikini."

Losing Those Love Handles

While the name is cute, love handles are anything but. The good news is that there are ways to get rid of that layer (or layers) of pudge around your midsection.

Liposuction has been around for a while, but it's still the best way to get rid of unwanted fat surgically. During liposuction or lipoplasty, a plastic surgeon basically vaccums out pockets of fat using a small, stainless steel cannula. The cannula is inserted into fatty areas between skin and muscle via small incisions where it removes excess fat either using a suction pump or a large syringe.

"Guys come in their 40s to get rid of their little bellies and love handles. And so do women with almost perfect bodies who want some touch-up of love handles, hips, and little tummies," says Lawrence Reed, MD, a New York City-based plastic surgeon. But, he cautions, people who just have skin and muscle and no fat do not make the best candidates for liposuction.

Brush Up on Beauty

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site HonCode: Health on the Net Foundation AdChoices