Sometimes the Newest, Hottest Thing in Plastic Surgery is Just a “Flash in the Pan!”

At the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Meeting held recently in D.C., a number of old “Hot Topics” were reviewed just to see where they are today.  I found this refreshing since too often the media will run with a story or a plastic surgeon will introduce their latest and newest technique only to have it fade away without a mention.   Part of being informed is knowing what does work and also knowing what does not.  So, here’s a look at some items that were recently some of the “hottest” items and where they are now.

Saline-filled lip implants:  Stiff, non-lifelike moments and made kissing really strange.  Other than they had a high failure rate-explain that on a date-and often turned very stiff and hard with time, they only had a few other problems.  Needless to say: they are no longer on the market.

Get rid of your forehead lines by using radio-wave frequencies to zap your motor nerves.  This was supposed to be the next thing after BOTOX.  Think of it as using a microwave to destroy the nerves that are responsible for your forehead movements and those wrinkles.   Trouble was, the treatment really HURT and it did not really work.  Some patients using this treatment did get less movement in the forehead but most got irregular, non-symmetrical movements that stood out across the room.  There was also a problem that the nerves tended to come back fairly rapidly after treatment.  This one has for the most part died a good death except in some “spas” where it is still offered.  After all, you don’t want to let an expensive machine go to waste.

Artefilll:  This one is really interesting.  Once thought dead, it has a new life.  This is permanent filler that has small beads of Plexiglas in it that induce the body to form a wall of collagen around it and thus acts as permanent filler.  Used a good deal in Europe, its arrival in the USA was delayed by a number of reports of serious, late arising problems including infections, scarring, and erosions.  The original company that was planning to market this product in the USA decided not to but another company has now purchased the rights to the product and is planning to proceed.  Given that our bodies are always changing and not static, I am not sure if I would ever want permanent filler in my practice.  I understand the value of a long-term filler, just not the value of something that may look good at age 40 but really bad at age 60 and you cannot get rid of it.

Just an update on the status of a few of the past “Hot Topics” in plastic surgery.

Herluf Lund MD

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