Plastic Surgery Continues to Transform
By David Buice
It may surprise you to know that plastic surgery is one of the world’s oldest healing arts. As early as 3400 BC, Egyptians practiced some forms of it, and by around 800 BC physicians in ancient India were using skin grafts for reconstructive work on some of their patients. From these primitive beginnings, over thousands of years, the practice of plastic surgery gradually and sporadically spread through Europe and eventually to America.
Following the United States, the countries where cosmetic surgery is most popular are Brazil, South Korea, India, and Mexico, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Computer-assisted Surgical Planning
This technology allows surgeons to perform procedures like reconstructive surgery on a computer using information gathered from CT scans. Then they create a 3D model of what they predict the patient will look like after surgery and use this model as a template during surgery.
The modern endoscope is a flexible tube with an attached camera and surgical instruments that allow surgeons to operate through very small incisions.
Today plastic surgeons often use the instrument to perform an endoscopic facelift to minimize the risk of noticeable scarring. The surgeon makes small, 4-5 millimeter incisions at the temple and scalp, and then uses an endoscope with attached instruments to lift and improve the appearance of the upper two-thirds of the face.
Breast Augmentation Through Fat Transfer
Breast augmentation remains popular and traditionally involves using silicone or saline implants. A recent development, fat transfer augmentation, uses liposuction to remove fat from other parts of the body to be injected into the breasts.
This procedure “grows” extra skin to use in reconstructing just about any part of the body. The surgeon inserts a silicone balloon expander under the skin near the area to be repaired. The balloon is gradually filled with saline or carbon dioxide, causing the skin to stretch and grow, providing added skin to use in various cosmetic procedures.
With traditional liposuction a cannula (probe) removes fat from beneath the skin. In contrast, Smartlipo uses a cannula containing a laser that heats and melts the fat and removes it in liquid form. With Smartlipo, recovery can be quicker than with traditional liposuction.
2019 and Beyond
Looking to the future, many cosmetic plastic surgeons believe that one of the main trends in their field will be providing their patients what is called a “tweak-ment.” This means an increasing number of patients want their plastic surgeon to perform micro-optimizations that provide a few refined tweaks that make them feel more confident and “touched up,” without being as obvious as other cosmetic changes.