Photo provided by Jacqueline Biollo
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Vulnerably Exposed | Jacqueline Biollo, MBA, ICD.D

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I was encouraged by a male acquaintance, one who is actively engaged in my personal and professional life, to write about a (recent) phenomenon that is gaining interest and exposure on social media, in the medical industry, amongst the fashion industry, and in the conversations of many. 

The New York Times Magazine recently published an article about the beauty and pain of butt lifts, and the post-surgical reality from this complex surgery, in which fat is liposuctioned from fleshy parts of the body and used to enlarge and shape the buttocks. 

My friend commented that “readers might find the subject matter and the broader issues of female body image, etc., interesting”. What he doesn’t know, is that this conversation is more than interesting to me, it’s also personal.

Liposuction, or the concept of body contouring through fat removal has been performed for over 100 years. And although mainly used to correct deep and superficial fat accumulations and remodel the body contour, it is nowadays the most frequently performed aesthetic surgery procedure in western countries – an essential complementary technique to enhance the aesthetic result of many other procedures such as mammoplasty, abdominoplasty, thigh lift, and post-bariatric body contouring.

Recent plastic surgery statistics seem to indicate that the overall trends include cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, with breast augmentation, liposuction, and facelifts rounding out the top three. The average surgeon/physician fees for the same top three procedures range from ($4,692 – $10,326 CAD). Of interest, less than 10% of cosmetic procedures (including nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, cheek implants, liposuction, and ear surgery) are performed on men.

In 2005, after the birth of my children, I decided to have an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). Eight pounds of skin was removed from my mid-section, mesh reinforcements were used prophylactically, I got a new belly button, 240 stitches from hip to hip to secure the tightened, toned, and flattened appearance, two external drains to help remove excess fluid were in place for about 10-days after surgery, I was in recovery mode for about 5-weeks, and it took more than 2-years for me to regain sensation in my abdominal area. 

The New York Times Magazine reported that “butt lifts are booming” – but why? Why would anyone want to actively choose to have cosmetic or reconstructive surgery? According to a 2019 survey by RealSelf/Harris Poll, the top cited motivations among those who’ve had or are thinking about a cosmetic treatment are “to improve self-esteem/confidence” and “to look as good as I feel.”

I have no regrets and I feel no need to justify to anyone, other than myself, as to why I had an aesthetic surgery procedure. I did it for me. Period. Regardless of your opinion on aesthetic surgery procedures, I hope we all find ways to love who we are, find ways to build our self-confidence, and have empathy for others – because all bodies are beautiful. And sometimes, I think we either forget that, don’t believe that, or just need reminding of that. #YourBodyYourChoice

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Jacqueline Biollo is a leading authority on innovative business solutions, political strategy, and community engagement. She is also an experienced full-figure model and body-positive advocate. Jacqueline’s voluptuous personality will be walking in the Curvy Revolution during NY Fashion week in 2022. Follow her at www.instagram.com/jacquelinebiollo

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Body Positive Coach Tania Turner on LadiesCorner.ca

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