News & Features



2005 - What a Year for Plastic Surgery!


Plastic Surgery was in the news, big time, during 2005.
In addition to almost daily reminders about finding new uses for Botox, the fast-growing trend of Medispas (and in a couple of cases, Dentispas,) a possible place for stem cells in plastic and cosmetic surgery and new discoveries about the 28 kinds of cellulite, the year ended with a lot of news about cosmetic and plastic surgery given as Christmas gifts.

But the view from the very top was different. According to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (A.S.P.S.,) 2005 saw ten hot trends and topics taking place worldwide.

"This is an exciting time in plastic surgery," said A.S.P.S. President Bruce Cunningham, M.D. "Innovations in technology and techniques lead the way while an ever more diverse range of patients sought plastic surgery procedures."

Here are the leading topics of 2005, according to the A.S.P.S.:

1. Silicone Breast Implants could be Returning - After thirteen years of restricted access, the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) deemed silicone implants --- at least those from manufacturers Inamed and Mentor -- approvable with a few conditions attached. There is no set date, however, for the return of implants to the market. (See Implants, an article about Silicone Gel-Filled Breast Implants.)

2. A Face Transplant coming to America - Recent news has focused on a partial face transplant in France. However, plastic surgeons in the United States have been debating, researching and preparing for the first complete facial transplant. Two U.S. institutions - the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Louisville School of Medicine -- have given surgeons clearance to perform the procedure on a qualified candidate. Experts suggest the first transplant in the United States will occur in the next 12 months. (SeeFace Transplants.)

3. Manufacturers Investing in the Future - Looking to boost their position in the fast-growing cosmetic plastic surgery market, several large plastic surgery product firms like Allergan, Inc. and Mentor Corporation have begun efforts to acquire other manufacturers. Focused around breast implants and injectable wrinkle fighters, these companies hope to capitalize on the highly demanding baby boomer segment of the population. ("Boomers" include all those born between 1946 and 1964; they claim to be the original "youth" generation and have declared they will never grow old nor retire.)

4. Liposuction -- without the suction - Known as the "Botox of body contouring," focused ultrasound may become the hottest, non-invasive procedure for body sculpting. Clinical studies found the procedure significantly reduces the circumference of the leg and abdominal regions. Without cutting through the skin, ultrasound can destroy and disperse targeted fat cells, which may be able to give patients the benefits of liposuction without anesthesia and time lost to recovery. Manufacturers hope to gain FDA approval within the next 24 months.

5. Only the rich and famous? Think again! - A groundbreaking study found 71 percent of people considering plastic surgery had annual household incomes under $60,000. About 25% had incomes under $30,000. Only 13 percent of plastic and cosmetic patients reported an annual household income over $90,000. So it's not just the rich and famous -- plastic surgery is being done on Mr. and Mrs. Ordinary Joe and Jane.

6. No Endorsement for Mesotherapy - A recent study shows there is no evidence proving the safety and long-term efficacy of mesotherapy, a treatment that often claims to reduce weight through a series of injections. None of the substances used to inject patients are approved by the FDA and there is no standardization of technique.

7. Injectables fill the Market - Cosmetic patients have more minimally invasive options today with the advent of injectable wrinkle fillers and laser technologies. The latest A.S.P.S. procedural statistics report minimally invasive procedures rose 36 percent while surgical cosmetic procedures declined 8 percent from 2000 to 2004. (See Injectables.)

8. Diversity among plastic surgery patients - More than 1.3 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed on ethnic patients in 2004, an increase of 44 percent since 2000. Fourteen percent of all cosmetic plastic surgery patients were Asian, Black, or Hispanic. These patients have similar motivations as other patients, and often prefer to maintain their ethnic identity while achieving a more youthful appearance. (See Diversity.)

9. Reconstructing battle wounds - Reconstructive plastic surgery is playing a larger role in the war in Iraq partly because today, more wounded soldiers are surviving their injuries. Though body armor is effective in reducing injuries, blasts from suicide bombs and land mines have produced an unprecedented number of mangled extremities. With modern techniques, plastic surgeons are able to provide injured soldiers a better quality of life and save limbs that may have been amputated in previous wars.

10. No new taxes - In a subtle but important victory for the average American, lawmakers in several states elected not to impose a tax on cosmetic procedures. Legislation was considered in Illinois, Washington, New York, Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey and Arkansas when state budgets came up short. New taxes would increase the amounts plastic and cosmetic surgery patients would have to pay for their procedures.




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