News & Features

Plastic Surgery News: World Roundup

Australia: Spray-on Skin
Russia: Nose Jobs – by Melting Them?
Israel: Taking Out Fat – With no Incisions
U.S.: Ankle Liposuction
England: Go, Granny, Go! Facelifts for Seniors
U.S.: The “J-Lo Effect:” Shapely Derrieres Spread to Mannequins

Spray-on Skin

Do you have an old tattoo from wilder, younger days you would like removed? Plastic or cosmetic surgeons can do it now but the procedure will leave a slight scar. However, in the not-too-distance future, that tattoo can be taken off and new, unmarked skin—your skin – can be put back onto the wound site.

It’s an old but unfortunate rule in surgery: when people are burned or injured, they are usually scared for life. Sure, plastic surgeons can usually make burned and scarred skin look better by reducing the prominence of scars, but the skin is never again the same.

However, research on recreating new skin – made from the patient’s own skin cells – is being used in Australia, Japan and the European Union. What’s even more amazing, the new skin is sprayed on.

Developed by Clinical Cell Culture in Perth, Australia, the technology, known commercially as ReCell, made major news in the South Pacific after the Bali terrorist bombing of a popular nightclub in 2003 when about 150 burn victims were first treated with the spray on technology.

ReCell technology works by taking a small patch of the patient’s skin to create larger sheets of skin. According to the company, within about three months, the injured skin is back to normal, absent the scarring. The technology is used for burns, scalds, scars and other skin defects. It’s usually not the treatment of choice for very deep burns which still require skin grafts.

ReCell’s uses in cosmetic surgery include laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, deep chemical peels, tattoo removal and scar removal.

Here’s how a ReCell procedure is performed: a small sample of skin is taken from a numbed area close to the injury or wound in need of treatment. That ensures the treated section has the same texture and color as the surrounding skin. The surgeon then puts the sample in the ReCell kit. The device separates the skin cells, the surgeon sprays the mix onto the treatment area and puts a dressing over it. That part requires about half an hour. After three days, the bandages are removed to reveal a reddened treatment area, dotted with some scabs. Normal, smooth skin then grows over the treatment area in about three months.

So far, about 30,000 people worldwide have been treated with ReCell.

The company now wants to introduce the technology to the U.S., South America, Mexico, are other areas where cosmetic and plastic surgeries are in great demand.

Nose Jobs – by Melting Them?

Russia: Nose Jobs One of the most closely followed developments in plastic surgery comes from the Institute on Laser and Information Technologies in Moscow where a technique that modifies cartilage by laser heat is being further studied.

Briefly, Russian researchers developed the new approach and designed a dedicated laser system (known as an “Erbium doped glass laser”) that modifies the shape of cartilage without any damage so the nose can be reshaped “like dough.” One of the planned cosmetic uses for the new technology is quickly creating straighter noses – without scalpels, stitches, anesthesia or bleeding. Arcuo Medical, Inc. was recently funded to bring technique – which has the tongue-twisting name, “Laser Septochondrocorrecton” -- into the commercial future. It all sounds like something plastic surgery consumers will welcome because the procedure only takes about ten minutes and requires no anesthesia or sedation, according to Professor Emil Sobol at the Institute of Laser and Information Technologies in Moscow.

Currently, clinical trials are going on in Russia and are planned for France, Greece and the U.S. The laser system and nose straightening technique may be available to consumers within one or two years.

Currently, plastic surgeons must make incisions in the nose to remove or add slight amounts of cartilage to change the shape of a nose. After the procedure, stitches are required to close the surgical wounds while patients usually must take time off from jobs and their normal activities for recovery. Additional risks are encountered when anybody goes under general anesthesia.

The first Russian test subjects suffered from a crooked nasal septum, which is a wall of cartilage dividing the nostrils. When the septum is blocked, the patient usually develops breathing difficulties. But with the laser technique, the cartilage becomes more pliable and can be reshaped by a special tool that comes with the laser system.

Since 1999, The Medical Academy of Moscow reports using the laser on 200 patients between nine and 75 years old and found all had improved airways following the treatment. However, in eleven test subjects, the septal cartilage returned to its original shape. Physicians followed the test subjects for 18 months and learned various ages must be irradiated differently because cartilage behaves differently in younger, older and other patients in the age ranges in between.

Probably the most involved part of the research is the device’s control system. The laser measures the temperature of the patient’s cartilage and surrounding tissues, sets the best parameters for each patient and stops the irradiation when the cartilage reaches a certain temperature and plasticity.

Specialists in otolaryngology, cosmetology and reconstructive and plastic surgery are also taking part in the clinical trials.

Taking Out Fat – With no Incisions

Another closely watched development in plastic surgery is UltraShape, a device from Israel that removes human fat with a combination of ultrasound, radio waves, and infrared light. That high technology is coupled to a vacuum device that smoothes out the skin as a mouse-sized gizmo is passed over the areas of overweight.

According to the manufacturers, the system requires no anesthesia, has no major side effects and the patient can immediately return to normal activities. The device is currently being tested in F.D.A. trials for approval in the U.S. and is expected within several years.

“I think UltraShape is safe and effective although I do not think it will totally replace invasive liposuction,” says FDA investigator John L. Burns, M.D., at the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute. “It will probably find a place among the so-called ‘lunch hour’ procedures.

“After the fat is melted, it is cleared from the body the same way a bruise is cleared,” says Dr. Burns.

Yet another device, VelaSmooth, uses similar technology and is also undergoing FDA mandated testing. According to the Syneron Inc., the Israeli company that makes it, about ten, one-hour treatments are required to remove four inches of fat from the circumference of an overweight person’s waist.

Ankle Liposuction

ZZ Top sang about them while many men describe themselves as guys who most favor that part of the female anatomy. In surveys given to men asking what they consider to be the sexiest body part in women, one of the most popular answers was….Legs! But that’s scant comfort for women who struggle with fat ankles. Remember the scene in the film Shallow Hal when Jason Alexander’s character describes Gwyneth Paltrow’s obese alter ego as having the ultimate turn-off “cankles”? Know what those are? “Cankles” (or “piano legs”) are putdowns, used to describe the lower portion of the female leg, when calf and ankle seemingly look the same. Luckily, liposuction surgical techniques have rapidly improved over the last twenty years so ankle liposuction has become a safe and efficient procedure.

Dr. Bruce Nadler, a plastic surgeon based in New York, performs liposuction on ankles.

“Because fat on the legs and ankles is often genetically predetermined, it is nearly impossible to alter the appearance of the lower portion of the leg just through exercise and diet alone,” Dr. Nadler says.

With ankle liposuction, there is minimal scarring because surgeons use a very small suction tube that draws the fat from ankles. The tube (known to surgeons as a “cannula,”) is smaller that a straw swizzle stick. But, because we place so much weight on our legs, about a three-month healing time is required. So a cankle-bearing person could have the procedure done in spring and be ready to walk around with confidence by summer in the latest sandals without that dreaded lower leg excess weight.

Go, Granny, Go! Facelifts for Seniors

Facelifts for Seniors News reports in most nations are full of stories about teens going under the knife for nose jobs and high school girls who yearn for breast augmentations as graduation gifts. But the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons says it’s not so, with a measly 7 percent of all procedures done on people under 18.

Now, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) says it’s not actually teens, but grandparents who are coming in for a nip, tuck or snip. And why not? After all, when you have 70 or 80 summers behind you, there’s quite a bit of clock to turn back.

“We’re seeing more from older age range patients than younger,” says Douglas McGeorge, BAAPS president-elect. “So far, my oldest face lift was for an 81-year-old. Lots of kids may talk about cosmetic surgery but talking is a long way from actually having it done.”

Experts figure old-timers are showing up for surgical rejuvenation, not only because they are full of years, but because they have more money at their disposal and because many retire and then start a new career. Consequently, they want to look more like the rest of a generally younger-looking workforce. Plus, many patriarchs and pensioners have seen the startling changes in self-confidence others have gained after plastic surgery.

Added another BAAPS member: “Older patients ask to turn back the clock while younger ones want to change their shapes.”

Effect of J-Lo’s Derriere Spreads

The J-Lo Effect As long as there are three-way mirrors in department stores, there will be women who look over their shoulders and ask, “Does this make my butt look big?” You need no longer shudder with guilt, because the answer a lot of women want now is an enthusiastic, YES!

Now, even department store mannequins are boasting that J-Lo shapely derriere. Thanks to the singer-actress, (who wants to be henceforth known as “Jennifer Anthony”) and the men who drool over her, women are rushing to duplicate her curvaceous rear end through plastic surgery. Moreover, highly rated television shows like “The Swan” and “Extreme Makeover” have additionally bolstered interest in buttock augmentation surgery.

America has long been a breast-obsessed society. Current statistics show a dramatic increase in the number of people springing for buttock augmentation, causing full-figured femininity to return to style, big time.

Curvy rears are also showing up in other places.

New York City’s Goldsmith, a mannequin supplier, makes a model named “Sex,” whose basic purpose is to wear low-slung jeans, the sales of which have been rising as more women undergo buttocks augmentation and buy clothes that best frame their rear end surgical rejuvenations.

Adds Teresa Riordan, author of “Inventing Beauty: A History of the Innovations that Have Made Us Beautiful:” “The primary goal of fashion is to keep things fresh. So the emphasis has shifted from body part to body part. Just over a century ago, the rump was all the rage, albeit in accordance with the Victorian times. Then, the bustle became the butt craze of its day. Now, the accent on shapely rear ends is back.”

The curvaceous derriere has been a part of pop music for a while. Case in point: “Baby Got Back” Forever linked with his pop culture touchstone “Baby Got Back,” Sir Mix-A-Lot parlayed a huge tribute to women with larger buttocks into hip-hop immortality. (Some typical lyrics: “...look at her butt/it is so big...I like big butts.... I like ‘em round and big.”)

Thanks a lot, Sir Mix-A-Lot.

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