News & Features



Plastic Surgery News: World Roundup July 2005


Ol’ Man Sol -- Out to Fry Your Skin
South Africa: Skin “Needling” For Smoother Faces.
Worldwide: Still Walking in Beauty
Ireland: 3-D Cosmetic Enhancements on Computers
Designer Dresses – Too Small for Boob Jobs
Fingernails: Tell-Tail Signs of Health

Ol’ Man Sol -- Out to Burn You!



Plastic Surgery News That blazing summer sun is again with us, creating lazy days and better weather for outdoor fun – at least in the Northern Hemisphere. Sure, doctors are always telling us to stay out of the sun, but what is it exactly that’s so uncool about getting a tan or maybe even a little red from sunburn? Not being one to lecture, the American Academy of Dermatology has created a list of fast skin facts that puts you in the know so you can decide what’s best for the skin you’re in.

The facts:

  • Skin is the largest organ of the body.
  • Skin grows faster than any other organ; we continue renewing skin our entire lives.
  • Skin’s biggest chore is protection. It is a tough, elastic, flexible and waterproof covering that helps protect other organs and body parts from things that should not enter your body; namely, germs, heat, cold and sunlight.
  • Skin has two layers: the outermost epidermis and the dermis below. The epidermis keeps producing new cells that push to the top of the skin surface.
  • Nerve cells in skin make it sensitive to touch, pressure, and temperature.
  • You have about 19 million skin cells on every square inch of your body.
  • You can help protect your skin by wearing a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and by covering your arms and legs.
  • The sun’s rays can penetrate light clouds, mist and fog so you need to protect your skin on cloudy days, too.
  • On average, children get three times more sun exposure than adults.
  • Eighty percent of lifetime sun exposure is estimated to happen before age 18.
  • Just one bad, blistering sunburn during childhood can double the risk of skin cancer later in life.
  • By age 65, an estimated 40 to 50 percent of Americans will probably have at least one episode of skin cancer.


Dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Lowe author of “Away with Wrinkles,” (Marlowe & Co., $16.95) says how you live shows on your skin.

“Sunlight can alter skin cells genetically,” says Dr. Lowe. “Several years to decades later, the damage from sun exposure can lead to prematurely sagging and wrinkled skin, spider veins, brown spots, pre-cancerous skin growths and skin cancers.”

Experts also add that the UV (ultraviolet) rays in sunshine trash the collagen and elastin that makes skin tight, smooth and pliant.

South Africa: “Medical Needling” For Smoother Faces



Plastic Surgery News When your complexion becomes sun damaged, spotted, sallow, filled with fine lines and wrinkles, dotted with acne scars and otherwise older looking than you would like, several cosmetic options are available. You can have a deep chemical peel (in which caustic solutions dissolve the outer layer of skin,) undergo dermabrasion (in which the first layer of skin is painlessly ground off,) or see a surgeon who uses a laser, a high tech procedure in which “vaporize” is the operative word that describes what happens to that outer layer of skin. Moreover, those procedures have potential harmful side effects.

But why remove the outer layer of skin at all? After all, you will be red-faced for as long as several weeks while new skin grows back. Plus, our skin is a natural protection from the ravages caused by our environment. But, with new skin lies the freshness and youthful appeal.

Now, there is a third option: you can have the skin on your face medically needled, a procedure known as “Percutaneous Collagen Induction.” It originated in South Africa before spreading to perhaps several dozen offices of U.S. plastic, cosmetic and dermatologic surgeons.

While the F.D.A.-approved device may look a little scary, here’s what happens under medical needling and how it works:

The surgeon uses a roller device covered with scores of short, sharp needles, the ROLL CIT (it stands for “Collagen Induction Therapy.”) Collagen is the natural protein in our bodies that plumps up and firms your skin. Moreover, having lots of new collagen in, on and under your face is what happens after the outermost layer of skin has been removed by whatever means. Medical needling results in the body producing more of its own collagen.

The technique’s modern developer, South African plastic surgeon Des Fernandes, M.D. thinks it is counter-productive for the best long-term, anti-aging therapy to totally remove the skin’s protective surface.

While the patient is under numbed under anesthesia, the roller makes hundreds of pin pricks into the outer layer of skin -- but does not remove it. Because the skin has been slathered with vitamins A and C and antioxidants creams before the Roll CIT does its work, two things happen: collagen comes up from below while the nourishing vitamin creams flow down through the tiny holes. After the procedure, a formulation of vitamins A, C and E is applied for three weeks. Of course, the face becomes somewhat bloody during the rolling but the patient doesn’t notice, thanks to topical, local or general anesthesia. By day four or five, the patient’s skin has a moderate pink flush that can be concealed with surgical makeup. In contrast, the other skin removal techniques will give you a red face for one to three weeks.

“The technique works because the needles break old collagen strands and may mimic the results obtained with a laser but without destroying the epidermis,” writes Dr. Des Fernandes who lists additional advantages of needling as a shorter healing time, less time off work; less expense, creation of thicker skin which does not wrinkle again as quickly and improving dilated blood vessels.

An at-home instrument, the Cosmetic Roller is a miniature CIT instrument with much smaller needles that allows patients to keep their skin fresher at home. The tiny roller creates micro channels in the skin that allow topical products to penetrate deeper. According to Environ Cosmeceutics International, home use of the CIT roller stimulates renewal of the skin, restores its tone and helps soften fine lines, eliminate stretch marks and reduce the appearance of scarring and pigmentation. Moreover, the home version is said to be painless because there are no nerves in the uppermost layer of skin.



Still Walking in Beauty



All over the world, writers, philosophers, poets, commedians and others -- including the legendary Miss Piggy -- have cracked both wise and philosophical about beauty, some form of which is the desired end result of virtually all plastic and cosmetic surgery.

We’ve collected a few notable remarks about the appeal and power of beauty here. Some of our favorites:

“If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in a library?"

~ Lily Tomlin

"Beauty is the gift of God."
~ Aristotle

"Beauty is not caused. It is."
~ Emily Dickinson

"A thing of beauty is a job forever."
~ Milton Berle

"Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference."
~ Aristotle

"Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest."
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Beauty is the pilot of the young soul."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Beauty in distress is much the most affecting beauty."
~ Edmund Burke

"When beauty fires the blood, how love exalts the mind!"
~ John Dryden

"To keep beauty in its place is to make all things beautiful."
~ George Santayana

"Heat cannot be separated from fire, or beauty from the eternal."
~ Dante Alighieri

"We fly to beauty as an asylum from the terrors of finite nature."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Beauty is the bait which with delight allures man to enlarge his kind."
~ Edmund Spenser

"Beauty is a mystery. You can neither eat it nor make flannel out of it."
~ D.H. Lawrence

"Beauty itself doth of itself persuade The eyes of man without an orator."
~ William Shakespeare

"There is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul than beauty."
~ Joseph Addison

"Beauty is often worse than wine; intoxicating both the holder and beholder."
~ Zimmermann

"BEAUTY, n. That power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband."
~ Ambrose Bierce

“O, thou art fairer than the evening air clad in the beauty of a thousand stars."
~ Christopher Marlowe

"Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder."
~Dr. Lawrence J. Peter

"Old as I am, for ladies' love unfit, The power of beauty I remember yet."
~ John Dryden

"If you get simple beauty and nought else, You get about the best thing God invents."
~ Robert Browning

"BAIT, n. A preparation that renders the hook more palatable. The best kind is beauty."
~ Ambrose Bierce

“Never purchase beauty products in a hardware store."
~ Miss Piggy



Ireland: Imagine Your Enhancements in 3-D



Plastic Surgery News Many plastic and cosmetic surgeons use computers that take snapshots of potential patients as they currently look and then reduce, change or otherwise enhance some feature on the screen to provide a more precise view what the change will look like after surgery. But computer generated views have always been in two dimensions. If you want to see, say, what your chin augmentation will probably look like in profile, you and the computer operator must start over with yet another snapshot, also taken in profile.

Now, Axis Three, a company in Northern Ireland, has developed a computer program that takes a scan of the patient and allows the surgeon to make the proposed alternations on the screen, but in three dimensions. So if you want to know what your new nose will look like in profile, the computer merely turns your on screen image around so you can see your new nose from the side.

Yet another useful aspect to the new technology is allowing surgeons online access to their enhanced computer images so patients can get a second, third or fourth opinion from friends and family.

But don’t hold your breath. Axis Three’s new technology is only in the prototype stage and may require some time before reaching everyday consumers.

Designer Dresses – Too Small for Boob Jobs



Plastic Surgery News In the rarefied world of high fashion, one of those famous – but highly unpredictable -- laws of unintended consequences has struck, thanks to the ever expanding world of plastic and cosmetic surgery. Many women who have undergone breast augmentations find they can no longer fit their enhanced bodies into the latest European fashions.

“For as long as breast implants have been available, women have had trouble fitting into the jackets and tops of the very latest fashions from France and Italy,” says Rachel Clements, owner of La Mode, a lingerie store in the upscale River Oaks section of Houston, Texas.

Consequently, La Mode works with a tailor to weekly whack down at least 15 to 20 pieces of haute designs from the likes of Channel and Yves Saint Laurent.

“Houston is second only to Los Angeles in breast augmentations and so we see a lot of alternations here,” says Clements. “Meanwhile, great designers are at work like Proenza Schouler who does beautiful bustiers', but they don’t always fit our customers. The leading bustiers' are designed for models who are A cups and that’s not where many of our customers are.”

In most cases, Clements recommends her augmented customers select larger sizes and then cut the clothes down to fit. She also notes that many women are walking around in the wrong size bra – which makes it even harder to properly fit into those upscale threads.

“It’s because, years ago, mothers took great care to start and keep their daughters in properly sized under clothes as they still do in Europe today,” says Clements. “But here, most mothers are working so most young women just rush out and grab any sized bra at cut-rate department stores.”

Fingernails: Tell-Tail Signs of Health



Plastic Surgery News One of the up-and-coming plastic surgery procedures we are hearing more about is the hand makeover. Using several surgical methods, cosmetic and plastic surgeons can easily take years off a woman’s hands, making them look lovely, smooth and svelte again. Hand makeovers are additionally important because for years, when a 60-something celebrity boasted of being, say, only 39, everybody’s eyes went immediately to her hands. If those mitts were boney, splashed with sun spots and wrinkled, withered skin, it was a dead bang giveaway about her actual age.

But there is also a tale to be told by looking at the fingernails attached to those, or any, hands. Because, short or long, deep red or rosy pink, manicured or all natural, fingernails can reflect our personal tastes, lifestyles and even our career choices. But even more surprisingly, nails can often give the first signs of an underlying disease or medical condition in the body.

Joshua Fox, M.D., dermatologist and founding director of Advanced Dermatology and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery centers in New York, says changes in the fingernails can indicate anything from a mild infection in the nail bed itself to a possible case of heart disease.

“White nails could be a sign of liver diseases like hepatitis or a slight blush at the base of the nail could be a warning sign for diabetes,” says Dr. Fox. “Because the nails offer a unique window into the health of our bodies, more and more physicians are making nail examinations part of a regular patient check-up.”

According to Dr. Fox and the American Academy of Dermatology, the color, texture and appearance of nails and the surrounding tissue can be warning signs. Dark lines beneath the nails, for example, may simply be the result of small, broken blood vessels but can also indicate melanoma, the most serious of all skin cancers. Other color or texture changes to the nail bed and nail plate that warrant a visit to the dermatologist include:

  • Half-white, half-pink nails which can indicate kidney malfunction.
  • Red nail beds may suggest heart disease.
  • Yellowing, thickening nails, with slowing growth, is sometimes caused by lung diseases like congestive obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema.
  • ”Clubbing,” which likes look the nail itself is on upside down so that it resembles a tea spoon, can also indicate lung problems.
  • Pale whitish nail beds can mean anemia.
  • Pitting or rippling in the surface of the nail can be a symptom of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis.
  • Painful lumps at the matrix or under the surface of the nail can be a sign that a wart or tumor is growing and should be tested.
  • Irregular red lines at the base of the nail may be a sign of Lupus or connective tissue disease.


“It’s often hard for patients to tell the difference between a harmless nail condition and one requiring further investigation,” says Dr. Fox. “Plus, our nails are so exposed and used so often during the day, they sometimes undergo changes in color and appearance that are often perfectly normal. Let your physician decide.”



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