News & Features

Plastic Surgery News: World Roundup May 2006

Before Surgery: 3-D Photos of Your Post-Op Look

3d Modeling Consultation
One of the most difficult areas of communications between surgeons and patients in cosmetic plastic surgery takes place during the initial consultation when the surgeon tries to explain to the patient what her face or body will most likely look after the anticipated procedure has healed. Sometimes, patients have unrealistic expectations when, say, a 50-year-old facelift patient gets the idea she is going to look like she did on her high school graduation pictures. To provide more realistic expectations, surgeons often show patients before and after pictures of other patients, give them drawings or even mark up existing photos to show how the surgical changes would look after healing.

Now, high-tech is coming to the rescue. Working with Allen Rosen, M.D., a plastic surgeon at The Plastic Surgery Group of New Jersey, Canfield Scientific, Inc. of Fairfield, New Jersey, is field-testing a device that photographs a patient from three different angles to get a three-dimensional image. If the patient is interested in, say, a 300 cc breast augmentation, the device would photograph her as she currently looks and then provide yet another picture to show how her breasts would look with 300 cc implants.
3d Rendering of Breast Enlargement

Or, the surgeon could dial the picture down to show how 200 cc implants would look. Moreover, the viewer could turn the picture on the screen see the post-op breasts from the front, the side and other angles. Or, the device could show a patient what her thighs would look like without the cellulite dimpling she is so anxious to have removed. According to Dr. Rosen, who is also co-author of “Beauty in Balance,” the system is six months to a year away from being found in the offices of U.S. plastic and cosmetic surgeons.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, Axisthree, a high-tech imaging company in Belfast, plans on introducing to the U.S. plastic surgery market around September or October of 2006, a 3-D imaging system that will capture a person’s likeness with a mouse click. The system contains manipulation tools so the surgeon can easily alter the captured image and show the patient his or her post-op appearance “in a very realistic, 3-D photo,” according to Axisthree director of business development Jim Blumel. Moreover, the Axisthree device offers remote viewing capability so the patient can log in to the surgeon’s website and show on her computer, or email others, what the patient-to-be will look like after the procedure.

Of course, some overdone celebrities would need, not a photo, but a twin to see what they would look like without ever having had any plastic surgery at all.

No Cosmetic Surgery for Fat People

Measuring the Waistline
Is it the handwriting on the wall? The National Health Service in Britain has been called many things since its inception and now you can add “scolding” to the list.

The Health Commission in Wales is requiring some cosmetic surgery patients to lose some weight before they can have cosmetic -- but medically necessary -- procedures. Those most affected are patients with very large breasts, a condition that can cause back pain, other health woes and can even wear grooves into the shoulder blades from so much heft on bra straps. Those women desperately need their breasts reduced. The new rule could also apply if you’re a male United Kingdom subject, have a hormonal imbalance and have grown a bodacious set of tatas, through no fault of your own.

Those men are afflicted with a medical condition known as gynecomastia and also may need their breasts reduced to create a manlier chest and a less shameful frame of mind. The Health Commission also wants to see weight loss from people who have already dropped massive amounts of weight and are left with sheets of stretched skin hanging from their bodies. That group of patients requires a procedure known as body shaping which surgically removes much of the excess skin that -- if left in place -- creates health problems, makes exercise almost impossible and clothes hard to find.

The new rule requires a Body Mass Index of no more than 25. That means some people who are only a few pounds over their ideal weight will have to forego the operations.

The Health Commission says it’s strapped for cash but the secretary of the British Association of Plastic Surgeons, Hamish Laing, says the plastic surgery patients are being singled out as being the only ones on the service who must be within their ideal weight range before they can have access to medical intervention. Of course, if you can’t have the operation, the next best -- and very cost-effective -- way of looking thin is to only hang out with people who are way fatter.

Girls Just Wanna Have……Surgery

Despite all the attention about real beauty and liking oneself as you are, new research in the United Kingdom reveals that one in four 16-year-olds would like to have plastic surgery. 90% of the test subjects say they just don’t like how they look -- at all. And it’s even worse among youngsters -- 75 percent of British girls, 12 and under, dislike some part of their body enough to change it through surgery, if only their parents and the surgeons would allow it.

Self Esteem hit Low
The research arm of Dove Beauty Soap found that girls in the United Kingdom were among those with the lowest self-esteem in the world. (Three of ten wanted to be slimmer while 15 percent wanted to be taller.) Experts think it’s because there is a growing acceptance of, and regard for, plastic surgery. Many youngsters and teens just don’t like they way they look because, again, the media holds up so many perfect (READ: highly airbrushed, recolorized, cropped and doctored) pictures of young women in magazines. Thus, the theory goes, more youngsters are buying into certain images of what it is to be perfect. Consequently, plastic and cosmetic surgeons on both sides of the Atlantic report more teens having cosmetic plastic surgery.

However, teens 14 to 16 never stop to think a whole lot more physical development is likely to take place in their young bodies, often making any surgery at all unnecessary by age 20. But, of course, when you’re a teenager, instant gratification takes entirely too long.

Study: Mom -- not Britney -- Decides Beauty

A study of thousands of girls and young women in ten nations has found that moms have more influences on a young girl’s idea of beauty than celebrities or the media.

Sure, you’ve read it before: the heartless media constantly hold up pictures of perfect, if half-starved, women and hint that every female, everywhere, should look like the celebrity du jour.

Peer Group
But after the Dove Self-Esteem Fund finished its study, “Beyond Stereotypes: Rebuilding the Foundation of Beauty Beliefs,” they found that celebrities and the media have less impact on a young woman’s definition of beauty than their own dear mums. Girls and young women, up to age 17, were more likely to name girlfriends and mothers as female role models having the most influence on their earliest feelings about beauty and body image. But -- and it’s a huge but -- when women do become dissatisfied with their physical appearance, low-self esteem results and that causes the women to avoid: social events (25 percent,) expressing opinions (17 percent,) going on job interviews (16 percent,) going to school (13 percent,) and, for eight percent, going to work.

Sadly, only two percent of thousands of women from ten nations described themselves as beautiful. The Dove self-Esteem Resource Center ( offers online tools to help young girls and women to live free from stereotypes about beauty.

Moreover, half the subjects said they wished their moms had talked with them more often about beauty and body image while growing up. Plus, 79 percent said there’s an overwhelming need to start talking with girls earlier in their lives about what real beauty means.

So, the way out of having negative body images is clear. You’ve heard it before. Listen to your mother!

Post script: one of the most beautiful women in Britain, 25-year-old Rachael Baughan, a Miss Great Britain finalist, suffers from an off-the-wall disorder that makes her think she is ugly. Known to doctors as Body Dysmorphic Disorder, (B.D.D.) the malady is estimated to afflict some 600,000 people in the U.K. and countless others in the U.S. Needless to say, plastic and cosmetic surgeons in most nations keep a weather eye out for B.D.D patients because no amount of plastic surgery will ever make them content about their looks. In the eyes of the B.D.D. afflicted, every procedure is botched.

Consequently, the sufferers are almost always angry and carping after the plastic surgery, regardless how it turns out, and show their displeasure by plaguing surgeons for re-dos and writing poison pen letters to the surgeons and the newspapers.

Acid Victims Smile Again

One of the oddest but most tragic traditions somehow developed in parts of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh when girls and women decided, for whatever reasons, to break off romantic relationships that had been arranged by parents and others. Somehow, the jilted males got the idea it was O.K. to toss acid into the faces of their once-betrothed to destroy their beauty and make sure the women remained alone and childless the rest of their lives. Once news of the attacks spread, strangers whose advances had been spurned also turned to acid attacks.
Recovering Victim

The New York based human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, estimated that 280 women died and 750 suffered injuries during acid attacks during 2002, the most recent year for which full statistic are available. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has documented 46 attacks in 2004 in the southern Punjab district alone.

Now, a chain of beauty salons in Pakistan and an Italian charity are teaming up to cater to a new kind of client -- acid burn victims whose beauty treatments will be much more than skin deep. The new plastic surgery program, Depilex Smile Again, enlists the aid of big-hearted Italian and French plastic surgeons who start what is usually a series of operations in Lahore and Islamabad to undo at least some of the facial damage. When an acid attack victim needs more extensive help, Depilex flies the woman to Italy for the required treatment. Some women also receive vocational training after the medical treatments so they won’t have to return to the area where the attack first happened.

Organizers say acid is used in the attacks because the substance is cheap -- less than 50 U.S. cents for a pint in Bangladesh -- and plentiful because it is widely used in agriculture. Thanks to international pressure, more perpetrators are being tried, convicted and sentenced to jail.

Test Coming for Stretch Marks

Plastic and cosmetic surgeons are only now coming up with high-tech, light-based ways to take stretch marks from skin, using a popular new, computer-guided radio frequency device known as the Fraxel.

While stretch marks are most commonly associated with child bearing and nursing, men who’ve gained a lot of weight or weight lifters who created a lot of muscle also have stretch marks. (See Zapping Stretch Marks April Newsletter) Now, a medical test is coming to tell if you are likely to develop stretch marks. The November/December, 2005, issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, says that women at risk for developing stretch marks can be spotted due to metabolic and biochemical differences in their skin.

We may soon be able to take steps to help women effectively and reliably prevent stretch marks,” says V. Leroy Young, M.D., associate editor of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. “The question of why some women get stretch marks while others don’t has vexed specialists and patients for many years,” says Dr. Young.
The study found that cells in skin samples taken from healthy-looking sections of skin in women with stretch marks could not quickly reproduce or repair the marks. The skin of women with stretch marks also had a pronounced deficiency in total DNA and total protein. But those deficiencies were not seen in the skin samples of women without any stretch marks. Additionally, the report found that a skin biopsy can be used to identify women at risk.

Current methods only fade stretch marks, according to Mark Jewell, M.D. president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (A.S.A.P.S.)

“This data gives us new hopes of being able to prevent stretch marks in women who are predisposed and to help us develop better treatments for those who have the condition,” says Dr. Jewell. Until then, mothers should just tell others that their stretch marks are actually badges of honor in the form of pregnancy service stripes.

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