What's Back Scoop Surgery? A Plastic Surgeon Explains

Cynthia Dermody

heidi montag
Photo by Splash News

Now that everyone is done eye-rolling and head-shaking over the fact that Heidi Montag had back scoop surgery without even knowing what it was (you know, just like one of us would toss an extra pair of socks on our armful of clothes on our way to the checkout at The Gap), all of us stable people are kinda wondering the same thing: What is it?

It's actually a common and fairly low-risk procedure, but it still would have been good idea to ask about it, Hieds. I'm not even having the procedure and the name got me curious, so I asked Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Stephen Teitelbaum, assistant clinical professor of at UCLA and a spokesman for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, for the scoop on the scoop:

What is back scooping?

It's liposuction or fat removal of the lower back, and it's not new at all. It's also called "back sculpting." The exact target area varies in each person, but it basically involves the area of fat just above the butt cheeks, the place women often refer to as the love handles or muffin top. In France, they have much nicer sounding name for the area: la chute derain.

On the plastic surgery spectrum, how risky is it?

It's a low-risk procedure. It's also one of the best places to do liposuction because the fat in that area of the body is very dense and fibrous so it's easier to sculpt and contour, unlike the giggly fat on your thighs or arms. Plus, the skin on that part of the body contracts back very well, so you don't get that crepey, saggy look that sometimes happens after liposuction of the stomach and legs.

Who is a candidate for this surgery? Heidi Montag is so thin!

I've done this procedure on extremely thin women who have only a little fat there. A lot of patients who come in wanting a smaller waist often focus on their tummies. In truth, there isn't a lot of fat on the front of your stomach, at least not enough that if removed it shrinks waist size.

Back sculpting is often a much more effective way to get a smaller waist. It's also a great procedure for balancing out your body shape, like if you are a size 8 on top but a size 12 on the bottom. Many women just want liposuction on their thighs. But if we do that and ignore the back, it gives them a boxy shape. Often times surgeons need to reduce both areas to get the desired look.

What does it cost?

$3,000-$10,000, depending on whether it's done under local or general anesthesia, and how much fat is removed.

What's the recovery time?

One day to five days, depending how extensive.

What could go wrong?

Lots of things. Make sure you select a surgeon who's a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Some doctors are performing liposuction and shouldn't be. I've seen some horrible results that are very difficult to fix, including significant unevenness between the sides, taking too much out (you want to leave a little padding between your skin and bone), and general body disproportion.

Heidi says since she had the procedure, she feels more "fragile" and is afraid to hug people. Does back scooping weaken your body?



Would you consider getting back scoop surgery?

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