Today's Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Has Undergone Significant Changes in the Past 50 Years

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Surgical techniques have improved resulting in smaller scars and less invasive procedures. Unfortunately, not all of the techniques that have been tried have led to significant benefits. These questionable techniques I would classify as “fads”.

Any new procedure should be studied extensively in specialized academic centers before it is introduced into the general population. Plastic Surgeons are provided monthly updates in various periodicals which informs their members on the latest data about new techniques and new products. Botox, hyaluronic acid injectables (eg.Juvederm, Restylane), fat grafting and endoscopic surgery are some examples of excellent products and techniques that continue to do well in the academic and clinical studies.

What are some of the “fads” in cosmetic plastic surgery?

Of course, every surgeon has his or her own bias of what works and what doesn’t. Goretex lip grafting is one example of a procedure that initially elicited excitement for lip augmentation. However, it was prone to distortion, extrusion and was difficult to remove. With so many other better options, this technique is rarely used.

I also have seen significant decrease in enthusiasm about the “thread lift procedure”. I have never performed this procedure because of its limitations. At one of the Aesthetic Society meetings that I attended several years ago, various experts showed their best ‘before and after’ photographs with their personal patients that had the thread lift procedure. It was one of the few times that it was difficult to determine what photograph was the before and what one was the after. Thread extrusion, distortion of facial features and asymmetry are also described in the literature.

Mesotherapy involves the injection of various pharmacologic or herbal substances into fat to make the fat ‘dissolve’. The solutions injected are variable and are often kept secret depending on the person injecting. This procedure is controversial at best. There have been no conclusive benefit regarding mesotherapy and most plastic surgeons perform the very well respected standard liposuction procedure instead.

What will be the future of cosmetic plastic surgery?

Certainly lasers will continue to improve. Injectable fillers will be also altered to increase their longevity and effectiveness. Surgeons will continue to improve their techniques for shorter scars and less downtime.

Essentially, every person considering cosmetic surgery should look at the credentials of the doctor performing the procedure. A board certified plastic surgeon is trained to perform cosmetic surgery procedures and continues to expand upon this initial training with continued intensive study with medical literature and meetings.

If a technique “seems too good to be true”, it probably is. A patient should never be given aggressive prompting to schedule a procedure. A second opinion should be considered with any questions that a patient has. Patients should also be given adequate information for any procedure that he or she is considering. This should include websites for further education.