News & Features

Plastic Surgery News: World Roundup April 2006

Mermaid Statue: Got Nipples?

Regular readers of the News will recall our June, 2005 article about a statue of a mermaid with a less-than-robust bosom (READ: flat as a board) in Ustka, Poland. City fathers wanted a breast enhancement on the mermaid to bring their town’s symbol up to more modern expectations.

Now, in Florida, plastic surgery is again being done on a statute of mermaid. But in typical Yank fashion, this mermaid is really, really big. Known as The Siren, she’s 18 feet long, made of steel and bronze and so generously endowed one thinks she could be the ultimate poster child for breast reduction. But because The Siren normally sits in a public square at the Wellington Community Center in the South Florida town of the same name, city fathers and mothers declared The Siren could sit au naturel in their midst but her breasts could not have nipples. And so, there she sat for many years, nippless (or unnippled or nipple challenged or whatever the correct designation is) until her maker, artist Norm Gitzen decided to haul The Siren off to an art display in Palm Beach for a 60-day stint where a tad more artistic freedom reigned. To wit, statues in Palm Beach are allowed to publicly display bare nipples. So Gitzen, seeing a little cosmetic surgery was in order, turned his deft hand to fashioning a couple of metal nipples and attaching them with some industrial-strength epoxy.

But there’s a Catch-22 for Gitzen and his stacked statue. When he returns his buxom, now anatomically-correct mermaid back to Wellington, he must, alas, remove the nipples before again putting her on public display.

Ken Does Plastic Surgery…. for Barbie

Yet another apparent trend in plastic surgery, in addition to cosmetic rejuvenations of mermaids, appears to be plastic surgery performed on mannequins and dolls. For instance, back in April, 2005, we reported (“The J-Lo Effect”) how the surgically enhanced female derriere had become so popular, mannequins’ plastic hinnies were being made with more curve and shape to catch the eyes of female shoppers who know it’s fashionable to have a little more junk in the trunk.

Now, Ken, yes, the very same Ken of Barbie doll fame, is getting some plastic surgery because he is changing his looks to have a shot at hooking up with Barbie again. Ken and Barbie watchers worldwide grieved two years ago when Barbie dumped Ken for an Australian surfer. To make sure the changeover was artistic and compatible in all areas, Ken’s owners, toy company Mattel, Inc., hired a premier Hollywood stylist, Philip Block, to deck Ken out in more masculine togs like torn jeans, an old leather jacket and rugged boots. As for Ken’s facial rejuvenation, he is said to have less of a tan skin tone, and newly styled, longer hair in a new color. The new Ken will be unveiled shortly, Mattel says.

“Ken is more than ‘arm candy’ for Barbie,” says stylist Bloch. “In the two years Ken and Barbie have been apart, Ken has revamped his life – mind, body and soul.”

Well, hey, every gal knows when a guy is faced with being dumped, most guys at least say they will change. But how many guys will go through plastic surgery—especially after they have gone to all the trouble of remaining 23 years old for the last 45 years?

Welding…….with Skin

Tissue Welding
Regardless of how many jokes some surgeons in the Ukraine tell while operating, you will not – repeat, NOT – find yourself in stitches.

It’s because they have done away with stitches after some operations in ten Ukraine hospital and clinics. Ditto staples, glues, sealants, cauterizing and other conventional ways to close incisions.

The new technology used in closing incisions and wounds is known as tissue welding or tissue bonding. While its makers are understandably a little mum about exactly how the patented technology works, they will say tissue welding is a process that uses low heat to bond and reconnect incised tissues to restore normal functions. What’s more, the technology leaves little or no scar in skin visible to the naked eye once the incision has healed. So far, uses in plastic surgery include bonding incisions in the nasal septum, skin and stomach. To date, surgeons at ten Ukraine hospitals and clinics have used tissue welding in about 5000 human surgeries, involving almost 70 types of surgical procedures.

The technology was invented and developed at the E.PO. Paton Institute of Electric Welding, the National academy of Sciences of Ukraine at Kieve.

U.S. and Australian patents have been issued so the day may be approaching when your cosmetic or plastic surgeon looks down at you after a procedure like upper eyelid enhancement and asks, “Stitches or Welding?”

More Chin? Less Chin?

Before plastic surgery became so popular one cynical film noire movie character was fond of saying “Love is something that gets you one bathroom, two chins and three kids.” Now, things are way different; love is something that gets you the bathroom and the kids okay, but a nice, slim chin….followed with a bill for plastic surgery, of course.

Because more and more people are having plastic surgery, surgeons are willing to stand on their heads – well, almost – to come up with new, quicker techniques so that busy patients can have some sort of a facial rejuvenation, leave the office and go back to work without a head wrapped up like a mummy. In fact, most quick, so-called “lunchtime” cosmetic surgery procedures don’t draw a second glance from co-workers, coffee shop attendants or anybody else who doesn’t know you just came from a surgeon’s office.

For those who want to lose a double chin, it used to be a matter of a long incision for a facelift, some longer recovery time and quite a bill. But now, BevHills plastic surgeon Lloyd Krieger, M.D., has developed a minimally invasive procedure known as The Rodeo Drive Chin Rejuvenation. Dr. Krieger uses a thin, short cannula (the wand attached to the suction machine) that is thinner than a drinking straw. He puts tiny incisions in the crease below the chin, takes the flab out and then lets you go back to work in only a few days. Hey, don’t bellyache about a few days off the job; the “down” time for the old method was a month! Plus, only a local anesthetic, or a local with sedation, is used.

B4 and After
But suppose your problem is just the opposite – you have a weak or receding chin? No problem, modern plastic surgery has you covered in a brand new way. Under older procedures, the surgeon would open your facial skin, install an implant – which had to be molded to your jaw bone, by the way – and install it next to your chin bone with surgical screws and stitch it closed. Known to surgeons as a genioplasty, it was some major surgery which required an equally major recovery period of at least five days. Plus, you had to wear a special brace during sleep so you did not end up with a permanent lump in your throat if the implant was knocked loose before it healed.

A new, better way is offered by Alexander Rivkin, M.D., founder of Westside Medical Spa in Los Angeles. Dr. Rivkin created a non-surgical chin enhancement by using the filler Radiesse to enhance the chin. It improves your facial profile and brings your already comely features into even better balance. And all it takes – in addition to a pair of very skilled hands -- is a syringe to inject the Radiesse and a little ice and numbing cream to block the sting of the process. Dr. Rivikin says the procedure is done in two, thirty minutes stages, two weeks apart. But you can go back to work the same day; the enhancement is said to last two to three years. Performing a chin augmentation the old way – through an incision – created a risk of infection. And if that happens, the implant is usually removed. Moreover, the implant can move around under the skin. Radiesse is composed of tiny beads of calcium hydroxyapatite, a material something like tooth enamel.

The reason for doing all this? There are two things about having a strong jaw: some believe a strong chin is equated having lots of character. That, and you must have a very strong chin to be a candidate for placement on Mt. Rushmore.

Zapping Stretch Marks

One of the current big hits in the world of cosmetic and plastic surgery is a high-tech, radio frequency gizmo known as the Fraxel, a device that takes away skin blemishes and plumps up skin to remove wrinkles at the same time. Now, Fraxel does stretch marks, too.

Fraxel is the only light treatment device that splits its beam into thousands of microscopic treatment areas. Guided by a computer which tells what areas of the face or body need treating, and how much, the Fraxel leaves tiny dots of treated skin next to areas of untouched skin. Thus, healing is much faster when treatment is done dot-by-dot. The normal treatment plan usually includes three to five Thermage sessions, spaced seven to ten days apart, so all the skin is eventually treated.

More Collagen

Additionally, the Fraxel reaches down through the outer layer of skin and heats the underlying collagen, a layer that supports your skin. In response to the heat, even more collagen grows, plumping up your skin to remove wrinkles and the folds of skin associated with aging. Usually, it takes a few weeks or maybe a month, but you’ll see smoother and younger-looking skin. Unlike lasers, Fraxel can also be used on sensitive areas like the neck, chest and backs of the hands.

Another surgeon, Grant Stevens, M.D., medical director of Marina Plastic Surgery Associates in Marina del Rey and Palos Verdes, California, is using the Fraxel to zap and improve stretch marks. And it’s not only women who were once pregnant that have stretch marks on their tummies and breasts.

Men who’ve gained and lost a lot of weight bear stretch marks wherever their flesh has been pumped up. Body builders also suffer from stretch marks on their arms, legs and flanks when they add a lot of muscle. But fishermen are out of luck. Nothing can be done for stretching the truth.

Botox: Not Just for Wrinkles, Anymore

The ever-popular wrinkle remover and all-round face smoother, Botox, was administered to almost four million Americans during 2005.

But the substance is not just for wrinkles anymore and is also being used to combat the following health woes: severe underarm sweating, migraine headaches, overactive bladders, pain during some operations, cerebral palsy in children, ringing in the ears, diabetic weight gain; drooling in cerebral palsy patients and stroke victims fighting muscle palsy. Current tests of Botox look promising to treat women’s pelvic pain; pain in breast reconstruction patients; tinnitus in one or both ears and low back pain along with other conditions brought on by muscles spasms. Over the years, Botox has also been studied in patients with migraines and temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) pain. One of the latest studies reveals Botox can reduce head and face pain. According to a study in the professional journal Neurology, Botox can significantly reduce the pain caused by inflammation of the trigeminal nerve of the head and face Trigeminal neuralgia causes sudden, severe pain in one side of the jaw or cheek. Triggered by everyday, regular movements while talking, swallowing or brushing teeth, the pain can last several seconds and return repeatedly in a series of attacks.

American and Brazilian researchers looked at the effects botulinum toxin type A on 13 people with trigeminal neuralgia, finding after ten days of Botox treatment a significant drop in facial pain. With 20 days of treatment, patients were, according to researchers, “almost symptom free.”

Sixty days after the Botox treatments, four of the patients no longer needed medication, and the other participants cut their medication use by more than half, according to the report. Researchers said there were no reported major side effects observed in the patients.

Botox has indeed changed our world. For instance, Hollywood was once a place where the stars could twinkle until they wrinkle. But with Botox on the scene, there are no more wrinkles unless you want them.

So far, about the only condition Botox can’t smooth out are wrinkles in time.

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