Drive-Thru Cosmetic Surgery

25-year old Joanna Laufer is mildly sedated and under local anesthesia this afternoon. She's having liposuction. It's a procedure that will take 4-6 inches off her outer thighs in under an hour.

Laufer said, "I've lost quite a bit of weight since December and it's just that one stubborn area that will not go away."

Lipo is just one of the items on the menu of a hot trend coined "drive-thru" cosmetic procedures. Joanna Laufer says in her circle of friends, "It's very popular."

The term also includes other procedures: skin tightening, facial resurfacing, facial fillers and Botox. All of them take an hour and a half or less per area. They require local anesthesia or none at all. The procedures can be done in an office versus a hospital. Patients go back to work almost immediately.

Dallas cosmetic surgeon Dr. Bill Johnson said, "This is the new wave. We're already here." Dr. Johnson says the unofficial definition of drive-thru procedures *is the appeal. Patients want downtime like they want cellulite. They're not interested in an unnecessary hospital bill. Dr. Johnson says, "The ability to do it in the office makes it much less expensive because we don't have to have a surgery center charge. You don't have the extra expenses when they're safe to do in the office."

Forty minutes after Joanna Laufer's liposuction started, she was done and feeling fine. She's on her way to some bruising and swelling, she says. But for what she's lost, she's gained in confidence. Joanna Laufer said, "I'm most looking forward to when I'm all healed and the swelling is gone next week. Putting on my swimsuit and looking at myself in the mirror. That's going to be the best, I think."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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