Archive for the ‘Body contouring’ Category


Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011


Removal of unwanted body fat by liposuction is a well established procedure benefitting thousands of patients. Naturally, the thought then arose, “ Why not remove fat from unwanted areas ( hips and thighs) and replace it into wanted areas ( breast)? “

Over the past 10 years the techniques of fat transplantation have gradually been refined. The limiting factor is that that fat cells are very fragile. Removal often destroys many of the fat cells, and re-implantation yields partial, unpredictable survival. When fat cells die, they can produce small specs of calcification in the tissue.

In most areas of the body lack of survival of fat cells with microcalcification is no big deal. But in the breast, it can cause mammographic changes which look like breast cancer. If that happens, a surgical biopsy is needed.

A recent study from China, published in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, reports suspicious breast calcification in 16.7 % of patients with fat graft breast augmentation. Other early reports have not shown as many calcifications, but it is too early in the experience to know the true incidence.

There is great enthusiasm for fat grafting for augmentation. It would be the perfect solution – avoiding the hassels of silicone breast implants. But as with any new procedure, it is wise to wait until sufficient experience exists to accurately assess the downside.


Beware of Media Exaggerations

Monday, March 21st, 2011


The march issue of Town and Country has a typical article of overstatement about plastic surgery entitled “ The Last Inch”.

“Non-invasive” laser liposuction has been marketed for several years. In addition to having the marketing magic associated with the word “laser”, these “minimal” procedures are supposed to internally dissolve fat to provide “more uniform fat removal for a smoother contour”. In fact, heating is more damaging to the remaining fat, so that contour irregularities and liquified fat collections may be more common than standard liposuction.

In addition, the claims that laser heat tightens the collagen in skin to make less dimpling is scientifically impossible. Burning the undersurface of the skin to the point of collagen contraction requires heating to over 50 degrees centigrade. That amount of heat destroys skin blood supply and would kill the skin. Sin can contract somewhat from deflation of fat volume, unrelated to laser heat.

Finally, “non-invasive” external machinery is being heavily marketed. Ultrasound, radio frequency, red light, and cold application have all been shown to dissolve fat in laboratory animals. The problem is that in humans they can only do a small amount of fat dissolution in a small surface area. As a result, they are impractical.

Style and Beauty editors know that we all want magic. Big benefit – small undertaking. And writers always want to emphasize “what’s new”. But the informed patient would wait until these hyped “new” techniques prove themselves.