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Rise in Plastic Surgery Hits Below the Belt with Labiaplasty, Buttock Augmenation

Model Released. Wearing Bikini BottomsEvery year, the big aesthetic societies gather data from their member doctors to find out who’s having what done and how it compares to years past. This year, the numbers are starting to for 2013, and according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), not only are surgical procedures on the rise, but there are two, a-hem, delicate procedures that have grown in popularity. What are they and on where? A recent ASAPS news release appropriately refer to these as those that take place “below the belt.”

Buttock Augmentation

Okay, so this might not be a huge surprise, with increasing positive media attention to rounder, fuller backsides, but according to ASAPS statistics, buttock augmentation increased by a whopping 58% compared with 2012. That’s a lot of love!

And not only are the procedure numbers up, but so too are the number of doctors performing them. The society reports an 11% increase from 2012 to 2013. According to the release, Jack Fisher, MD, ASAPS president said, “Over the past decade, we’ve seen a cultural shift towards a greater acceptance of and a desire for a rounder, more prominent derriere in specific regions across the country, so the increase in buttock augmentation procedures is not that surprising.”


Of the two “below-the-best” procedures, labiaplasty is definitely the dark horse, with ASAPS reporting a 44% increase in 2013 compared with the previous year’s numbers. Mimicking the trend with buttock augmentation, there has also been a rise in the number of doctors performing the procedure—by 8%, reports the news release. Why the interest in this personal area of enhancement? ASAPS President-Elect Michael Edwards, MD, is quoted in the news release as saying, “…I believe more women are also pursuing procedures like labiaplasty to correct labia-related issues that are interfering with their ability to perform sexually, to perform daily tasks such as exercise, or are merely causing discomfort.”

Christine Hamori, MD, ASAPS member and labiaplasty specialist told the news source that, “The reality is that women have been grooming themselves differently for about the past ten years, with many eliminating pubic hair altogether, and consequently, they are noticing what things look like in that region as a result. Many of my patients want to achieve a clean, smooth look as they would with their face and underarms.”

ASAPS is scheduled to release the full report of 2013 statistics this March.

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Can Face Exercises Turn Back the Hands of Time?

face exerciseFrom so-called “yoga” for your face to expensive microcurrent at-home facial “toning” devices, everyone wants to get in the game when it comes to finding non-surgical ways to turn back the hands of time. But the big question to those of us looking for a painless and easy way to rejuvenate is, of course, do face exercises work? The aesthetic medical community recently put a few good scientific minds to this very question and published their findings earlier this year in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

9 Studies

In the article “The Effectiveness of Facial Exercises for Facial Rejuvenation,” a group of Belgian researchers led by John Van Borsel, PhD, took an analytical approach to existing research on facial exercise for enhancement, reviewing 9 studies that took a closer look at how exercising the facial muscles may or may not rejuvenate the face. Interestingly, all studies were reported from South America, and “studies” were actually case reports or small series and used subjective evaluations only, according to the researchers.

Van Borsel et al. report that “Although positive outcomes were achieved in all 9 studies, none of the studies used a control group and randomization process.” In other words, these studies make claims without effectively following good scientific methods and, therefore, can not be trusted as necessarily accurate.

In a press release from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), Van Borsel told the society, “The existing published studies were not randomized or controlled. Most lacked blinding and only used subjective measures to assess the effectiveness of treatment. We need better studies before we can draw any conclusions about the usefulness of facial exercises.”

Looking Ahead

But there is at least some good news that comes out of all of this. The conclusion the Belgian researchers came to simply elucidates the fact that there is a need for more thorough and vigorous study of these popular, yet unproven, non-surgical techniques.

According to Foad Nahai, MD, Editor-in-Chief of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, “Randomized, controlled studies are the gold standard for determining the efficacy of any procedure. Hopefully, we will see some well designed studies in the future that can help us determine whether these claims have merit.” That’s also according to the society’s press release.

We can expect that it’s only a matter of time until someone rises to the occasion and the aesthetic community gets some real answers. Until then, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reports in their annual plastic surgery statistics that surgical facelifts and non-surgical fillers—both used to create facial contours more characteristic of a youthful face—are up by 6% and 13%, respectively.

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Getting Cheeky: Voluma XC Approved for Cheek Augmentation

beautiful woman pointing to cheekAre you still looking for the Fountain of Youth? It’s time to stop searching… Today experts know that the secret of eternal youth is found in the cheeks! With the recent announment that Voluma XC, a new FDA-approved filler, is joining the ranks of the Juvéderm family, those in the know are smiling cheek-to-cheek.

Safe and Effective

Juvéderm Voluma XC was approved this October to restore age-related volume loss in the midface (cheeks). It’s been about 8 months since the FDA General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel unanimously recommended Voluma XC for approval as a safe and effective viscous gel for cheek augmentation. This hyaluronic acid product is the first of its kind approved in the US for deep-tissue injection to address lost volume in the midface / cheeks, earning it status as filling an unmet industry need. Here’s how:

Today’s aesthetic experts know that facial aging happens in 3 dimensions: the skin becomes wrinkled and damaged; we lose volume in the midface, under the eyes and in the temples; and tissue becomes lax and droops. Two decades ago, the answer was to pull the skin back tightly and trim the excess in a standard facelifting procedure. Surgeons today are able to restore volume, which lifts up some of that lax skin, and fill the lines with soft tissue fillers. Adding Voluma XC to the non-surgical toolbag puts the very first filler in surgeons’ hands that’s approved to restore lost volume to the midface / cheek area.

Study Results

In the clinical trials, Voluma was shown to be safe, with no permanent adverse events, and effective, with excellent results. In fact, about 70% of the study patients still had improvement in the midface 2 years after treatment, which means patients can expect a long-lasting result with infrequent (but necessary) touchups.

As for adverse effects, the most common in the study were at the injection site, including redness, tenderness, swelling, bruising, pain, and other moderatly uncomfortable skin nuisances. All were temporary, lasting 2 to 4 weeks. Voluma XC is for adults 21 years of age and older.

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Blood and Youth: The Makings of the Vampire Facelift

vampireAt first blush, using the term “Vampire” to describe a facelifting technique seems like a pretty obvious marketing ploy to get our attention. After all, so-called vampire “culture” has boomed in recent years, especially when it come to cable television, Hollywood blockbusters, and the reading collection at your local library. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that the “Vampire Facelift” is actually very appropriately named. It uses blood to create a youthful countenance.

Vampires aside, the whole idea of using your own blood to make your face look younger may seem itself a strange or even unbelievable prospect. At least until you understand that the technique is widely used across medical specialties. They don’t relate it to blood-sucking monsters; they simply call it platelet therapy or PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections, and it’s frequently used to treat osteoarthritis of the joints, including shoulders, knees and hips, as well as sport overuse injuries to the knee, elbow, ankle or rotator cuff. Experts will tell you, this is a safe treatment. It’s safe because it’s a technique that uses your own blood, and what could be better than an all-natural solution to restoring a more youthful face?

The Vampire Facelift was coined by Dr. Charles Runels, a Mobile, Ala.-based physician who specializes in treating the appearance of the aging face. If you’ve noticed a change in texture, color or skin laxity, this treatment may be just what the doctor ordered. By drawing about 2 teaspoons of your blood, isolating the platelets and reinjecting those into specific places on the face, you can expect an increase in collagen and new blood flow over time, which rejuvenate and repair the skin for a younger looking face.

Is the Vampire Facelift right for you? Some patients may have better results with surgery or a combination of injectables, so only a qualified doctor can help you answer that question. Are you ready? Find a Doctor today!

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The O-Shot — The Next Generation in Vaginal Rejuvenation

hands and hips of young womanWhen we talk about vaginal rejuvenation, it’s generally a conversation about enhancing appearance, tightening the area, or amplifying the G spot. But says Dr. Charles Runels, inventor of the O-Shot, it’s about helping the body repair itself to address common issues women have that affect their sexual wellbeing. That’s according to a recent interview with Gail Hogan, Daytime Columbus.

Approximately 40% of women have issues that affect their ability to enjoy intimacy, Dr. Runels told Hogan, with only 14% actually having a conversation with their doctor to seek a solution. The most common issues include pain or discomfort during intercourse and trouble with arousal, sex drive, and achieving an orgasm.

The O-Shot is an all-natural non-surgical procedure that can rejuvenate and revitalize sensitive vaginal and clitoral function, for improved sensitivity and sex drive enhancement.

According to Dr. Runels, the O-Shot works because the blood drawn from the patient is activated with calcium to create PRP. When it is injected into the pre-numbed vaginal wall and clitoris area, PRP growth factors activate local stem cells and stimulate cell growth and tissue repair.

Dr. Runels admits he didn’t actually create the technology behind the O-Shot, but he was the first to use it to treat the vaginal area. It’s the same technology used in other medical specialties including oral and orthopedic surgery to promote healing. Even the NFL puts this technology to use, he told Hogan during their interview. They draw blood from a player with an injured knee, for example, then reinject the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the knee for its rejuvenative properties. He himself has a history of using the technology for facial rejuvenation. You’ve probably heard of a little procedure called the Vampire Facelift. He invented that too. In fact, it was one of his Vampire Facelift patients, he said, that inspired using PRPs in the vaginal area. It worked, and the rest, as they say, is history. Yes, the O-Shot is in a very sensitive area, but he assures, numbing cream helps to manage pain. From start to finish, the treatment only takes about 30 minutes.

As for results, the treatment is over 90% effective, Dr. Runels told Hogan, and holds promise for treating other issues, such as urinary incontinence.

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The Facial Facelift: A Rejuvenation Revolution

Face Massage.  Close-up of a Young Woman Getting Spa Treatment.If you could have any cosmetic treatment you wanted, would you choose the more dramatic and longer-lasting surgical option or would you go surgery-free? If you’re anything like the rest of us, unless you have to go under the knife, your preference is not to. So it won’t be any surprise to hear about the latest innovation in the facelifting world: The “facial” facelift for non-surgical rejuvenation.

From the traditional surgical facelift to the completely surgery-free liquid facelift, the aesthetic world has seen considerable shift in treatments trends designed to turn back the clock. This evolution has been fueled on the one hand by our general desire for non-surgical solutions and on the other by research-generated knowledge of how the face ages. The result? Today the most innovative cosmetic doctors are offering a whole new approach to non-surgical anti-aging solutions with what’s being called the facial facelift.

A facial facelift is a treatment package that includes any variety of skin and tissue-toning treatments that work together to improve the tone, texture and contours of an aging face:

  • Botox to soften muscle activity and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Fillers to restore lost volume, creating lift and smoothing out deeper wrinkles as well as offering contour to areas that have lost definition (cheeks, jawline, temples).
  • Lasers to resurface and rejuvenate the skin, minimizing discolorations, evening out the tone and texture of the skin, boosting collagen.
  • Chemical peels to clean the skin and refine pores.
  • Microdermabrasion to minimize scaring and refine the appearance of the skin overall.
  • Energy treatments (ultrasound, radio frequency) to lift tissues, tighten the skin and create a more youthful-looking face.

Alone each of these treatments can turn that frown upside down, but selectively combined together, they can inspire a full-on fresh face that you can’t wait to put forward!

While great minds can be credited for this new aesthetic approach, it’s also a credit to the high-tech tools they use. Advancements in technology, first with injectables and more recently with energy treatments, are key to delivering results, and are also the primary driver behind cost, which can range from $2500 to $5000, depending on actual treatments, region and practice.

Want more? Here are 3 Reasons to consider going ‘Facial’:

1. Convenience!

Forget all the work in setting up multiple appointments and counting days between treatments. In general, all your treatments can be performed in a single trip. No muss, no fuss!

2. Real Results

Completely non-surgical, this multi-step approach addresses all of the major and minor age-related changes that are showing up on your skin and face. The result? A subtle, yet comprehensive aesthetic approach for a completely rejuvenated face.

3. Long-Term Benefit

Yes, a surgical facelift, brow lift or eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) has years on most any non-surgical treatment, but if surgery isn’t in your plans, regular, “facial facelift” treatments work together to help you age gracefully. The cherry on top? They just may prevent any need for major surgical work down the road.

Are You Ready?

Choose wisely. Get the facts and find a reputable doctor in your area!

Plastic Surgery Tourism Trend: Good Idea, Bad Idea?

girl with suitcaseAmidst all the media headlines that seem to continually offer conflicting messages, is traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery a good idea or a bad idea? On the one hand, headlines proclaim safety issues that have negatively affected some American patients who travel for well-known “discount” surgeries in less regulated countries. On the other, they hail international travel as a growing trend in the industry, with instances of good, if not stellar, surgical outcomes. Budget-conscious consumers want to know: Is there risk, or not?

The fact is, when it comes to plastic surgery procedures, there is always risk, and the right answer is, regardless of where you choose to have yours, smart patients take the time and effort required to know what they’re doing in order to mitigate that risk. That’s according to a recent article in Metro New York, “Surgeons Predict Seasonal Spike in Americans Seeking Plastic Surgery Abroad,” published in their December 10, 2013, edition. Patient Irina Gonzalez told Metro that her surgical trip abroad to Colombia was inspired by a friend who recommended a specific doctor there for a combination of post-gastric bypass surgeries, including liposuction, breast augmentation, upper- and lower body lifts, and arm lift. According to the article, Irina considers her plastic surgery tourism experience and results a success.

At the same time, Metro spoke with a New York-based and American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified surgeon Stephen Greenberg, MD, who pointed out that he sees many patients for corrective work who return from abroad with botched surgeries. “It’s common for someone to go and have cheap surgery and their breasts are uneven or they have a scar they don’t like,” Dr. Greenberg told the news source.

While one issue is safety, and a lack of strict regulations, which may lead to the procedure-related complications he sees, Dr. Greenberg told Metro that more frequently the issue is that US patients simply aren’t happy with their results.

The two most popular plastic surgery spots lately? Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, said Dr. Greenberg, and perhaps the two countries to avoid, if that’s where these unhappy patients have traveled for their surgeries abroad.

As for Irina, “ …I don’t have any regrets,” she told Metro, who also claims that most of the local and US patients who go to South America for plastic surgery are satisfied customers, with this caveat: “It’s safe for the people who know what they are doing,” she told the news source. “I felt like I did because I speak Spanish and I had this family connection. I had a lot of advantages I feel the typical American might not have.”

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Mommy Makeover: Passé or Here to Stay?

Healthy diet

There are somethings that will never change: Babies will be born, bodies will change, and, yes, mommies will seek out body makeovers. Frequently that means perking up deflated breasts and tucking stretched out tummies. We’ve been doing it for decades, but does that mean that it’s time the Mommy Makeover was replaced with something more high-tech or glamorous? Don’t bet on it!

Despite the fact that many things change in the aesthetic world, the Mommy Makeover is one thing that’s here to stay. While the name was initially used to described a growing trend in the industry, today it has earned permanent status as a tried-and-true solution to the new baby, new body phenomenon. The makeover is often considered in terms of multiple treatments performed on the same day to restore a woman’s body to pre-pregnancy form. Procedures often include some combination of breast augmentation / breast reduction / breast lift, tummy tuck, and liposuction. In fact, for the past 10 years, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) has reported breast augmentation (implants, lift and/or reduction), tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and liposuction in the top 5 procedures performed by their members on women in the United States. Here’s how these three treatments break down:

Better Breasts

Post-pregnancy breasts can leave even the most practical woman at least slightly disconcerted by the change in size and shape that reflects back in her mirror image. When looking to restore your breasts the options are a breast reduction to reduce overly large, heavy, or sagging breasts; breast implants to restore volume to a deflated breast; and / or a breast lift to elevate the existing breast tissue.

Tummy Control

Just like a deflated balloon, the post-pregnancy tummy often is wrinkled and misshapen with excess skin that just won’t retract. That’s why a tummy tuck is often the best solution for the new mommy’s body.

Lower Body Liposuction

No matter how disciplined, diet and exercise don’t always deliver desired results post-baby. Any stubborn pockets of fat that are leftover in the thighs, buttocks or hips is best removed via liposuction.

One thing is for certain: The Mommy Makeover has earned status as an effective combination of procedures that restores (perhaps even improves) the original contours of the post-pregnancy body. So despite the fact that technologies may evolve and beauty products will come and go, one thing is for sure: As sure as babies will continue to be born, the Mommy Makeover is here to stay.

Are You Ready?

Choose wisely. Get the facts and find a reputable doctor in your area!

Spider Vein Treatment: Test Your Beauty IQ

You’re young. You’re fit. You have beautiful skin. Are you at risk for spider veins? Read on as we tackle the myths and the facts in the name of great legs everywhere…
legs being massaged
1. Only old people have spider veins.

False! It’s actually pretty common for younger women in their 20s and 30s to get spider veins. While aging is one of the risk factors for these pesky little skin discolorations, they can also be a result of pregnancy, sun damage, being overweight, your genes, medication and extended time on your feet.

2. You’re at less risk for spider veins if you exercise regularly.

False! The truth is, whether it’s the result of medication or lifting weights, anything that puts pressure on your veins can cause them to enlarge and become visible as spider veins.

3. Spider veins do not pose any health risks.

True! As luck would have it, spider veins may not be the most aesthetically appealing, but in general, there are no related health risks. That said, if you were to have multiple spider veins pop up on your stomach or arms, a doctor should be consulted to rule out certain rare genetic conditions.

Treatment 101

If you discover that you’re one of the many who indeed have spider veins is it necessary to have spider vein treatment? Nope. However, if you really don’t like the way they look, you have options.

First, the easiest option is to simply cover them up—and no, we’re not talking about wearing long pants on a hot day! A little makeup goes a long way to blend spider veins in with your regular skin tone. If you’re looking for something more permanent, consider an in-office laser or sclerotherapy treatment. Both target spider veins in such a way that they dry up and are resorbed by the body naturally. While laser treatment is less invasive, sclerotherapy (injections) are more effective for larger veins.

The good news with treating spider veins is that all options are fairly cost effective. On average, treatments are about $300 per session. You may need 2 or 3 sessions, but results are permanent. Unfortunately, it’s likely that you’ll get more spider veins over time, but being aware of preventive measures—SPF, compression hose—can help to keep those pesky veins at bay.
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Laser Therapy: Power Up for Beautiful Skin!

If you’re still carrying around brown spots, rough skin, and fine lines from last summer’s sun exposure, it’s time to resolve to face the new year fresh. And, no, that doesn’t mean going under the knife. Today, skin rejuvenation can be found in the high-tech power of laser light therapy.

Lasers are like little miracle workers. By harnessing the power of light, lasers have the ability to zap those brown spots away, smooth out rough skin texture and fine lines and wrinkles, and, with the appropriate amount of lead time, even create a hair-free skin surface by summer!

Essentially, a laser uses a focused beam of light to target specific skin flaws, such as brown spots or scars, or to rejuvenate the skin overall. With dark spots, the light targets the pigment to break it down and eventually fade or disappear; for skin rejuvenation, it uses laser light to burn tiny holes into the skin, which jumpstarts collagen production to bring back the elasticity of a more youthful looking face.

But the truth is, lasers can be complicated. “Laser” has become a catch-all term for the variety used to treat different skin concerns. Some hurt more than others. Some deliver results with minimal downtime. Others require a week or more until you can emerge from hiding. Main categories include IPL, ablative, and non-ablative (fractional):

• IPL (intense pulsed light) lasers are used to treat large areas of sun damage, including pigment/dark spots on the face, neck, chest and more. IPL is also used to reduce Rosacea-related inflammation on the cheeks/face and to treat red, blue or purple spider veins. IPL can be used for overall photorejuvenation and to permanently remove hair. Expect redness in the treated areas for about 24 hours. Pigment and blood vessels should fade within two weeks. This treatment can be painful, and most doctors will prep your skin with a numbing cream prior to treatment.

• Ablative lasers are used to provide dramatic skin improvements with a single treatment. Treatment with an ablative laser removes the top layers of skin for complete resurfacing to get rid of wrinkles, scars, rough texture and sun damage. This procedure requires anesthesia and post-treatment pain management. While the results can be dramatic, expect initial healing to take up to four weeks, and at least one year with zero sun exposure. Fractional ablative and erbium lasers offer an effective alternative to the more traditional ablative laser treatments by delivering exceptional results without damaging the top layer of skin.

• Non-ablative fractional lasers offer a less-invasive alternative to ablative lasers. The non-ablative fractional laser creating tiny “wounds” in the skin to treat crow’s feet, blotchy skin, large pores, brown spots and more. As the wounds heal, new skin emerges. Treatment can be uncomfortable, so your doctor may use a topical anesthetic or other method for pain and/or anxiety management. After treatment, your skin may look sunburned for a few days, but there is no significant downtime required. Because this is less invasive, achieving your desired results will likely take multiple treatments.

An important note: Winter is the perfect time to get laser treatment. Why? Because chances are, you don’t have a tan. Tan + laser is a big no-no—even if it’s a spray tan—because the laser can mistake it for a big brown spot and remove pigment that should not. Do not get laser treatment if you’re tan, even if it’s a spray tan, because the laser can misread tan skin as a big brown spot. Burning or discoloration could result.

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