African-Americans are turning to plastic surgery in record numbers June 1, 2006 Seven years ago Vickii Ivy, 32, of Cordova was dealing with a stomach roll even a personal trainer couldn't help her lose. A Caesarean section left her skin so stretched "it just hung. It was ugly," she said. "When I wore my clothes, I still looked pregnant." Ivy had a tummy tuck, but it took her three years to decide to do it. She feared the risk of surgery, and she was unsure of its social acceptability. "I didn't want people to think I was trying to be anything else than who I was." One reason she went ahead was the encouragement of her sister, Veronica Sanders, a plastic surgery nurse for 10 years. A decade ago African-Americans often shunned plastic surgery. Fear of losing ethnic identity was a big concern. Keloid scars (scars that are raised and spread) were another. But that attitude is changing. From 2000 to 2005, the number of procedures for African-Americans has almost doubled to 685,725, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. And that figure may be low, said Dr. Jan Adams, a top Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and the host of Discovery Health Channel's "Plastic Surgery: Before and After." "Many kinds of doctors do cosmetic procedures" that are not accounted for in ASAPS figures, he said. "Black women are realizing they have control over their lives. They can do what they want to do," he said. At the same time, cosmetic surgery has become more sophisticated in both its approach and technique. Adams, an African-American, will tell Memphians about it at the 11th Annual Sisterhood Outreach Summit & Showcase at the Memphis Cook Convention Center Saturday and Sunday. Adams will lead a workshop Saturday at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door and can be purchased online at sisterhoodshow case.com. Adams has made numerous appearances on "Oprah" and "Entertainment Tonight" as well as other shows. He is author of "Everything Women of Color Should Know About Cosmetic Surgery." A second book, "Skin Care for Women of Color," is due out this fall. His TV series airs on the Discovery Health Digital Channel 203 Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Plastic surgery procedures have become more targeted and less invasive, he said, eliminating some pain, down time and costs. Ideas of beauty have changed too. We know now, for example, that desirable noses come in more than one shape. "You can keep a nose's character while making it more refined," he said. Adams thinks scarring is over-rated as a problem for African-Americans. "There's no data anywhere that shows that black folks have more keloid scars than anybody else. It's not a racial issue. It's a genetic issue." Adams said he performs five cosmetic surgeries a day most working days and is seeing many more black patients. To a great extent, they want the same help as Caucasians. "Liposuction is probably the most performed surgery across the board," he said. He also does many tummy tucks, breast augmentations and rhinoplasty (nose reshaping). "Certainly TV exposure has helped," he said. Sanders, who works at the Langsdon Clinic in Memphis, agrees. TV shows like "Extreme Makeover" and "The Swan" reveal the results of surgery while celebrities such as Tyra Banks, Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Oprah Winfrey and Queen Latifah are poster-women for African-American beauty. Sanders said blacks make up about 20 percent of patients at the Langsdon Clinic, which specializes in facial work. Rhinoplasty, lip augmentation and permanent hair removal are some of the most popular procedures among African-Americans. Ivy said she was hospitalized only one day (and no nights) for her tummy tuck that caused her more soreness than pain. In two weeks she could travel and in three weeks she returned to work. The Caesarean and tummy tuck have left a wide scar, she said. "But I'm happy I did it. My stomach is flat. My shape is a lot better, and I can wear my bikini." She is more willing to talk about her surgery now, and her sister knows why. "There's nothing wrong with ethnicity and nothing wrong with us improving on that," said Sanders. "If you have a hump on your nose, and it has bothered you for years, why not make it as beautiful as you can -- without making you into someone else." -- Barbara Bradley: 529-2370 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Great a brother, Dr. Jan Adams, recognizing the power of BLACK WOMEN. Hope he isnt discerning for PROFITS alone. After all a brother can only IMPROVE a sister in this case. Nothing about mutual ACCEPTANCE. Oh well.