Plastic Surgery

Lash-tastic! – more about Latisse

  Latisse is still the only prescription medication for eyelash growth – and it’s been around for 10 years.  Happy anniversary! FAQ:   What’s the growth cycle of an eyelash?  “Typically one to two months. The lash then transitions to a resting phase before eventually falling out.” We know that lashes can fall out from routine wear and tear. But what are the medical causes of thin lashes?  “It can signify underlying medical issues. The most common are thyroid conditions, but believe it or not, if lashes are missing from one particular part of an eyelid, it can indicate skin cancer. One of the ways we can tell if a growth is cancerous is that it makes lashes fall out.” How does Latisse work?  “We don’t exactly know. Latisse keeps the lashes in the growth stage for a longer period of time and stimulates the transition from an inactive growth phase to an active growth phase. But why? Nobody knows.” Does Latisse grow new eyelashes?  “Probably not, but some patients who have lost their lashes in chemotherapy respond to Latisse. Can I say with certainty their lashes wouldn’t have regrown without it? No. But their lashes didn’t grow back until […]

Update on breast implants and ALCL

With a recent news article about breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), this rare disease has gotten more notice.  Here are the important facts: BIA-ALCL has been recognized since 2011, and  to date there have been 359 medical device reports made to the FDA (though these are unconfirmed, and may be duplicates).  To give you perspective, around 550,000 breast implants are placed per year. BIA-ALCL is associated with textured breast implants, and the lifetime risk is 1:30,000 women who have these kinds of implants. Most implants are smooth (over 80% of implants), the texture is added for anatomic-shaped implants to help prevent rotation and displacement. The recently popular anatomic cohesive gel implants (“Gummy bear”) are generally textured; only one company, Mentor, has started to offer smooth anatomic cohesive gel implants. When treated appropriately, 93% of patients with BIA-ALCL are disease-free. What to look for: swelling suggesting a fluid collection around the implant, more than one year after implant placement. If you have any concerns, please do see your breast or plastic surgeon.  Here is more information from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

What to know about lip injections

Our friends at Byrdie nicely summarized the important things about lip injections – what to know before you try. “we all want to say that we #wokeuplikethis, even if our dirty little secret is that we got a little outside help. Ideally, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.”  So true!  Natural is what we like – “my lips but better.”

Trying to achieve ‘facial equality’

  Ariel Henley writes movingly about her experience here with Crouzon syndrome, a congenital craniofacial anomaly.  In craniofacial surgery, the goal is to create more normal appearance, that doesn’t trigger comments in passing and most important, harmonizes how “normal” the patient feels inside, with their outer appearance.  It’s hard work and tremendously rewarding.

“Pretty girls are supposed to smile”

Effy Redman penned a lovely essay about her experience with Mobius syndrome.  In this congenital deformity, the nerves that supply the muscles in the face don’t develop properly, so children have little to no expression.  A “social smile” develops by around 6 weeks of age, so very quickly there can be a disconnect from the baby’s feelings, and what others perceive, limiting and changing communication. Currently we have to wait for children to be big enough to have microsurgery, to transplant a muscle and connect its supplying nerve to one of the functioning muscles used for chewing, to create a smile; and it takes two surgeries, one for each side.  Depending on the child’s size, this can be around 5-7 years of age. We often talk about restoring smiles with cleft lip repair (“Operation Smile”, “Smile Train”) but this is a rarer and more challenging condition to treat, though it is similarly rewarding!

Breast augmentation – what to consider

Over at Refinery29, they collected great advice about how to plan for a breast augmentation.  See the best (which we agree with!) below: First things first: Do a little homework. While an indiscriminate Google search on boob jobs, lifts, or reductions will probably take you down a rabbit hole of overwhelming (and sometimes dubious) information, focused initial research is crucial. The two most comprehensive and, more importantly, plastic-surgeon vetted and recommended sites are the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Both these resources break down the different types of breast surgeries available and procedure details, provide info on FDA-approved implants, explain the costs, and give crucial updates on the latest related news and technologies. Shop around: Find the right doctor. Selecting the right surgeon is the most important part of this process. First, you need to make sure your doctor is legit, i.e. certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, as Dr. Yee is. Don’t be confused by a certification from the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, which, is not plastic surgery.  Plastic surgeons are specifically educated, trained, and certified to perform both cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries of the entire face and body. […]

Having a breast reduction and never looking back

Over at Byrdie, one woman has written her account of having breast reduction surgery: “I felt like I finally recognized the person looking back at me. I was confident in a way I hadn’t ever been before. It didn’t have as much to do with the way I looked, but more about the way I felt from minute to minute. I didn’t have back pain or annoying marks from my bra straps. I didn’t feel like I had to cover up my body—which was something I had gotten very good at during the years prior.” Plastic surgeons generally agree that their breast reduction patients are their happiest!  If you’re having back pain and have large breasts, talk to your primary care doctor about a referral.  

America’s Next Top Model and Treacher Collins

After the recent win of deaf contestant Nyle DiMarco on America’s Next Top Model, another woman with Treacher Collins syndrome (a craniofacial anomaly) wrote about her experience auditioning for the show.  I applaud her honesty in describing her challenges and frustration with the standards of beauty. “We live in a world of difference, a world that so far, has not often been represented in the modeling and entertainment industries. This prejudice carries over to the professional world, where people with facial disorders want to be accepted and looked at based on our own merits. . . .   I remember how the other contestants derided DiMarco because of his deafness, because he lived in a world of silence and was different, because, as they said, he would never fit into the high-stakes world he so aspired to join. With tears in my eyes, I heard his name called and watched his face light up in disbelief and overwhelming happiness when the American Sign Language interpreter translated the announcement of his win.” Treacher Collins is a rare craniofacial syndrome affecting the orbits, midface, ears, and lower jaw.  Even though she had several surgeries which are typically recommended for reconstruction, she still […]

Correcting ear anomalies with the EarWell device

We carry the EarWell ear molding device, and it was just profiled on NPR! Between one-fifth and one-third of infants are born with prominent or misfolded ears.  Immediately after birth, the cartilage is very flexible, thanks to circulating estrogen left over from pregnancy. The ears are especially malleable. Some misfolded ears unfold on their own shortly after the child is born, but if the issue does not resolve itself within a week, early intervention is advisable. There is a very specific window of time in which treatment with the EarWell device is appropriate: before the child is one month of age. If you miss this window, ear correction will have to wait until the child is old enough to undergo surgery (around age 5 or 6 ). Having surgery is a much more invasive option, with issues of recovery, cost and potential discomfort to consider. What is the EarWell Infant Ear Correction System? The EarWell is a custom-fit plastic molding device. It resembles a “cradle” that adheres around the ear, with retractors that shape the ear’s structure. A special shell fits over the ear and holds all of the components in place. The EarWell device should be worn for six […]

Changing faces – Asian plastic surgery

  Korean and Japanese cosmetics are becoming more widespread (just check out Sephora!) and especially in California we have a significant Asian, and Asian-American population.  Beauty trends are becoming global, and that includes plastic surgery and the ideals patients seek.  Here is a great interview with the current president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (the official group of plastic surgeons trained in cosmetic and reconstructive procedures all over the body) about plastic surgery prevalence and trends in Asia. Changing faces – Dr. David Song I agree with him especially on these points: So many are looking to create a crease in the upper eyelid, creating a crease in the upper eyelid to give the appearance of a softer look. In the past it’s been confused with Asians trying to look Occidental or Caucasian and, quite frankly, is not that at all. Many Asians do not want to look Caucasian; they want to look more like their Asian counterparts. The standard of beauty has become softer features with a crease in the upper eyelid. I think that has been the biggest misconception and I hope you can emphasize that. It’s not Asians trying to look Caucasian; it’s Asians trying […]