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Barbed sutures, wrinkle fillers give patients more innovative, non-surgical options


Program presented at American Society of Plastic Surgeons annual scientific meeting

Patients without time for a facelift or intimidated by surgery now have more minimally invasive options that produce effective results. Barbed sutures, ultrasonic body contouring and soft tissue fillers, three emerging trends in the plastic surgery industry, offer patients faster results without the downtime of surgery, according to a program held today at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2004 conference in Philadelphia.

"Plastic surgery patients want shorter, minimally invasive procedures that produce results and have limited downtime," said Leroy Young, MD, chair of the ASPS Committee on Emerging Trends. "As plastic surgeons, we are always searching for cutting-edge technology to meet the demand of our patients. Barbed sutures, ultrasonic technology and wrinkle fillers fit the bill."

Barbed sutures are a bit like barbed wire that have little cuts in the side of the suture, allowing the barb to catch when it is passed through tissue. The catch allows the plastic surgeon to pull on the suture once it is in place and tighten the tissue. This surgical development is expected to increase the number of people having facial rejuvenation, according to Dr. Young, because the sutures themselves are minimally invasive, require almost no downtime and are low risk.

Ultrasonic body contouring uses ultrasound to disrupt, destroy and disperse targeted fat cells, giving patients the benefits of liposuction without the pain and recovery time.

Last year, more than 7 million minimally invasive procedures were performed, up 43 percent from the previous year. Almost 11 percent used a soft tissue filler to fight wrinkles, furrows and folds. With the addition of Restylane®, Hylaform®, and SculptraTM, plastic surgeons expect patient demand for wrinkle fillers to skyrocket.

These trends, as well as other technologies, will be discussed during the ASPS "Emerging Trends – Hot Topics in Plastic Surgery" program, 7:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. today at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. Approximately 20 new technologies and devices in plastic surgery will be presented.

Studies and courses on other emerging, minimally invasive procedures are being presented at Plastic Surgery 2004, including the FraxelTM SR Laser, ThermaCoolTM System and mesotherapy (mesoplasty).

Fraxel SR Laser, the next generation in laser light treatment which received FDA approval in July 2004, helps remove age spots better than previous lasers as well as lessens wrinkles, according to information presented at Plastic Surgery 2004. Unlike other lasers, this laser uses light to heat and remove microscopic pinpoints of skin, promoting a more effective result and faster recovery. This new laser treatment may replace deep chemical peels and laser skin resurfacing, which often leave the skin raw and take more than a week to heal.

ThermaCool offers patients facial rejuvenation without invasive surgery. A non-laser, radiofrequency device that heats the lower layers of the skin, ThermaCool may tighten the skin and improve skin texture. In addition, it may dramatically improve the skin of patients with acute cystic acne. According to a study presented at Plastic Surgery 2004, patients who had ThermaCool saw a notable difference after one treatment, experienced skin tightening and improved skin texture.

Mesotherapy is a potential alternative for removing localized fat without liposuction. The treatment, a combination of chemical and herbal remedies injected directly into the body, allegedly helps increase circulation to the targeted area, break down fat and prevent fat from forming. According to a study presented at Plastic Surgery 2004, patients who had mesotherapy lost 4.2 centimeters around the waist and 2.5 centimeters around the thighs.

Brian Hugins | EurekAlert!
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