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Cosmetic Surgery News from Around the World

GLOBAL: Cellulite Group Finds 28 Kinds!

Cosmetic Surgery News from Around the World It's not just cottage cheese or orange peel thighs any more. It looks like there are many different kinds of cellulite. This happy news has been brought to us by a new organization comprised of many medical specialists, the American Cellulite Task Force, which has banded together to bring consumers everywhere the real truth behind that dimpled, bumpy fat so universally dreaded by womankind. Among their primary findings so far: there are actually 28 different kinds of cellulite, according to Dr. Gustavo Leibaschoff, continuing education director for the organization. Even worse, the task force says 90 percent of women, even thin and athletic women, have some form of cellulite that might someday spring forth into full-blown saddlebags.

Spongy Cellulite

Among the bugbear types of cellulite: compact cellulite, usually found in older women, is said to be the hardest type to treat because it has accumulated deep in the tissues over a longer period of time. Watery, or spongy, cellulite has less fat and is often linked to genetics. Localized cellulite is often found in "saddlebags" in otherwise slender women. Spread cellulite is found on the thighs and buttocks and also in very thin women. That type contains more fat than fluid.

The task force says they have tests to reveal what type of cellulite various bodies have. Several hands full of treatments are also said to be available.

Nonetheless, spokesmen for the American Society of Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons say there is no proven treatment, technique or device known to remove cellulite.

With endless claims, counter-claims and promises of instant or eventual removal, questions about cellulite and what to do about it, have left consumers as confused. Even plastic surgeons often disagree about the best way to rid one's body of cellulite. Some experts say diet and exercise top the list while others insist the best way is to carefully choose your parents and screen out all those with heavy cellulite genes.

Whatever the real cure may be, one thing's for sure: we'll continue to hear much more about cellulite cures.

U.S.: Maggots, Leeches & Bone Wax in Surgery

Cosmetic Surgery News from Around the World Even tiny creatures are subject to the rules, stipulations and regulations imposed by the federal government. The (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration has decided the use of maggots, leeches and bone wax should require some special warnings and cautions.

There's actually a well established place for all of the above creatures and substances in the medical world and in some plastic surgery.

For instance, if you ever lost a finger or other body part that can be reattached, your plastic surgeon might attach medical leeches to keep the blood flowing. It's because the saliva of the thick worms (which doctors know as Hirudo medicinalis) anaesthetizes the wound and enlarges the arteries and veins so the blood will not clot. The leeches also release hirudin, a powerful natural blood thinner that breaks up pooled blood. All that means the reattached part continues to get much-needed nourishment through flowing blood when it's sewn back on. But the F.D.A. may also institute rules that declare a used leech a biohazard that requires proper disposal. Meanwhile, the less hard-of-heart wonder, why not just give the little invertebrates a chance to digest their gory meals?

Or, your surgeon may clean out and help heal infected wounds by allowing maggots to munch away on dead skin and foreign material. Medical maggots were once widely used by surgeons but were laid off when penicillin became widely available in the 1940s. But in 2004, medical maggots were recalled in many clinics for cleaning out hard-to-treat wounds because too many antibiotics were being dispensed.

A medical maggot, however, is a far cry from your granddad's basic garbage can maggot. Maggots for medical use have been raised in sterile conditions and are fed only the finest Grade-A wormy eats. Nonetheless, F.D.A. honchos don't want the legless larva to start buzzing around the rest of the hospital when they sprout wings. (Maggots are baby flies, you know.) So now medical maggots come with what is basically a warning label - surgeons should not move them from the initial application site to the unprotected skin around the edges of a wound, least they nibble too much. And, surgeons must make sure they keep a tight rein on the little critters - which may be labeled with an "environmental risk" warning.

Bone wax, made from beeswax, is used in surgery to stop bleeding bones. But new substances have replaced much of the beeswax type of bone wax, causing the regulators to apply yet another warning label that new synthetic products might be absorbed by the patient's body, thus delaying healing.

But nobody thought to ask if bone wax produces a glossy finish.

Weight Loss Surgery -- via Robots!

Cosmetic Surgery News from Around the World Add "Robot" to the list of things that can help you lose weight.

More and more frequently, it's a case of the Robot is in - and ready to operate. While skilled surgeons guide and make the major decisions, some four-arm automatons do the tricky - but rock steady - cutting in some operations. Used in a handful of procedures, medical robot operations result in less scarring, pain and bleeding and a quicker recovery time for patients.

One of the most recent robotic operations allows surgeons to perform gastric bypasses that reduce the amount of food a patient's stomach can hold. But the complicated procedures are difficult for surgeons to learn, according to a recent study printed in the Archives of Surgery, one of the journals of the (U.S.) American Medical Association. Some bypass operations require 75 to 100 cases for surgeons to achieve the highest level of proficiency.

At the Stanford School of Medicine in California, ten patients underwent robotic assisted surgery and were compared to a group of ten patients who had regular surgery. While most measurements were found to be equal, the researchers found the robot doctors took less time, 169 versus 208 minutes. Moreover, the learning curve for the surgeons was shorter.

During robot surgery, the surgeon orchestrates the operation from a remote console by controlling up to three robotic arms and a binocular camera, making it physically less demanding.

Scalpel! Screw Driver! Oil Can!

Yet another robot in New York City was assigned that time-honored chore of passing instruments to a surgeon. In its first test, the automaton, the Penelope Surgical Instrument Server, recognizes - through voice recognition software -- what instrument the surgeon is asking for and places it in his hand. When the surgeon is done, he lays the instrument down. Then, more special software and high tech gizmos allow the robot to record the instrument's location on the tray. Thanks to the software, Penelope can also predict what instrument the surgeon may need next and is often reaching for it as the surgeon asks for it. The machine additionally keeps a detailed count of what and how many instruments were used in the operation.

"Surgical teams have faced manpower shortages that affect scheduling and staffing of operations," says Willie Manzano, chief nursing officer at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. "Penelope easily interacts with surgeons and nurses and can be an innovative tool to help improve the quality of health care."

Too Much Tanning = Mental Disorder?

Cosmetic and plastic surgeons are trained to screen new patients for an odd psychological condition known as body dysmorphic disorder. That is an ailment that causes both men and women sufferers to become fanatically obsessed with supposed bodily defects that nobody else can see. But, no matter how much surgery is done, the sufferers are never happy with the results. For instance, one whole episode of the E! Channel's hit program, "Dr. 90210" filmed plastic surgeon Robert Rey, M.D., trying to talk a 25-year-old woman out of any more plastic surgery. Reason? She already had 27 cosmetic surgeries and could not be made any more beautiful. The other known obvious symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder can be seen in people who endlessly check mirrors, comb and recomb their hair, shave and snip their hair several times daily and apply tremendous layers of makeup. But somehow, researchers missed excessive tanning, a practice that causes some people to become known as "tannexics." When Jennifer Hunter-Yates, M.D., a dermatology resident at Brown Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island, studied a group of eleven frequent tanners, she found the main reason they baked under the lights for deep tans was to conceal what they, the tanners, thought were physical imperfections on their bodies.

"Body dysmorphic disorder is an actual psychiatric disorder so it's important for the person to be referred to a psychiatrist," says Dr. Hunter-Yates.

Breast Exam, Phone Home!

Cosmetic Surgery News from Around the World Think it's hard to remember those bothersome but important health checks like dentist visits every six months, daily flossing and that monthly breast exam? Why not have breast exam reminders call you on your cell phone? An existing service, EggAlert, sends text messages to the cell phones of women who want to stay atop their most fertile periods to get pregnant. The same service will now call you with a reminder each month to do your breast self-exam. Developed by PDAHealthWare, Inc., the user enters the first day of her last menstrual period, and then the length of the cycle. She receives a text message automatically on her cell phone a few days before ovulation, which is her most likely fertile period and a second alert a few days prior to her expected menses.

The new alert, for reminders to do the self breast exam, comes automatically with the fertile period alert. It all costs $5.95 for a three-month subscription, according to Amarish Dave', D.O., founder of PDAHealthWare, Inc. in Chicago.

Cyprus: Banks Spring for Plastic Surgery

Bankers must develop a heart of stone if they want to stay in business. Daily, they hear all types of requests for loans for many purposes, some sound and some not so sound. Five years ago, your basic banker would have dissolved in laughter if you told him or her you wanted to float a loan for plastic or cosmetic surgery. But times have changed and more banks are willing to back a personal surgical rejuvenation with their cold cash.

Regular readers of News will recall Lloyds TSB Bank in Scotland started making plastic surgery as one of its major loan categories about six months ago.

Now, Hellenic Bank in Cyprus has started what it calls "Beautiful Life" loans that cover all types of rejuvenation surgery including cosmetic dentistry and laser eye treatments. According to the bank, about 90 percent of applicants have been women. But those who take out one of the plastic surgery loans need two co-signers and a life insurance policy in favor of the bank.

Despite loving new beauty in all its forms, bankers still have a touch of the hard business heart.

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