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The Past & Future of Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery has changed immensely over the last seventeen or so years. From new surgical techniques to new non-surgical options that reduce the need for surgery, this is a field that is constantly evolving, and as our technology improves, we plastic surgeons are improving right along with it.
When it comes to facial treatments, non-surgical options have really come into their own in the last decade. Botox—and now other, newer botulinum toxin injectables like Dysport—are now indispensable tools in the plastic surgeon’s arsenal when it comes to rejuvenating the upper faces without lifting a scalpel. Fillers like Restylane, Juvederm, and Belotero, as well as Sculptra, which is a biostimulatory agent, also work anti-aging wonders, giving the face volume while still preserving a natural look. Of course, if someone really shows signs of aging, then their best option is still a facelift—but for many patients, these other non-surgical treatments are very effective and much more affordable than surgery would be.
Lasers represent another area of plastic surgery that has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past seventeen years. While the CO2 lasers are still the golden standard, more recent inventions like the Fraxel laser and the photofacial (IPL) laser have become quite popular over the past few years because of their precision and mildness in comparison to the older lasers.
Stem cell research, of course, is another big area of development in plastic surgery. Last year, a special review was published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery revealing that plastic surgeons conducting research on adipose stem cells (called ASCs for short) had found the cells—which can be taken from the fat removed during liposuction—can be used for soft tissue augmentation procedures, and for use in promoting the healing of difficult wounds. The possibilities hold promise for the entire medical community, but specific to plastic surgery, one obvious area where these stem cells could be used is for breast augmentation.
Plastic surgeons around the U.S. are also employing new stem cell-related techniques and technologies to regrow muscles, bones, and skin in labs to help heal soldiers who have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As you can see, plastic surgery has been an exciting area of medicine to practice in over the past seventeen years—and, given the advancements we continue to make, it promises to continue to be a stimulating field in the next seventeen years to come.
For my part, I can’t wait to see what we come up with next!