Monthly Archives: November 2010

Botox and Fillers Require a Trained Hand for Safe Treatment

The prevalence and frequency of the use of facial injectables has influenced some individuals to believe they can administer these drugs themselves—without a Ph.D. While wrinkle and facial fillers like Botox can be safely administered by a doctor, some untrained people have found ways to procure the drugs online and are choosing unwisely to take matters into their own hands in an effort to save a little money.

According to the Courier Post Online, Lynn Tibbets, a woman from New Jersey ordered Restylane treatments online from Canada and Switzerland over the course of two years. While she initially performed the injections herself without major issue, on one occasion she injected too much Restylane, which resulted in a large donut-shaped accumulation on her face.

Luckily, Tibbets’ doctor was able to remove the mass without much issue, but Tibbets decided the cost savings of ordering facial injectables online did not outweigh the risks to her health.

Though using injectable fillers is not a surgical procedure, the process still requires the proper training and skill that a doctor possesses and should only be performed by a professional to achieve the desired result safely.

Contact Dr. Genter’s office in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania for information on a variety of safe, professional injectable treatments.

Tattoo Techniques May Help Breast Reconstruction Patients

After many breast reconstruction surgeries, patients will often turn to a somewhat unconventional alternative when reconstructing a nipple and areola—having the nipple color created through the process of intradermal tattooing. This is done through a traditional tattoo machine or a surgical pigmenting pen. An article in the Syracuse Post Standard documents the story of one woman who brought her unique art to breast cancer patients in the later stages of reconstructive surgery.

Tattoo artist and former nurse, Kim Leach provides patients with tattoos to cover surgery scars and has seen the positive effect the tattoos have on her clients, even those who may have previously been averse to tattoos.

“I help people who were ashamed of their bodies be able to take pride in their bodies,” Leach said. “People go from, ‘Oh, my God, what happened to you?’ to ‘Oh, my God, what an awesome tattoo!’”

Leach herself has had scars from lymphoma treatment covered with tattoos.

When it comes to reconstructing the nipple, the patient’s doctor may propose using a skin graft in an effort to obtain pigmentation to the area. However, the skin grafting process can be painful, prone to breakdown and the patient may object to using the suggested donor site. Patients averse to this option turn to their doctors and tattoo artists like Leach to create the desired nipple color match.

When tattooed, a local anesthetic is injected into the area to be tattooed and a layer of Neosporin is applied. The ink used in coloring the area is generally darker than the desired result since its tone will fade somewhat over time. Some patients choose to have touch-up tattoos administered in an effort to achieve and maintain the desired result. Most patients who receive this tattoo coloring treatment to reconstruct nipples are satisfied with the result, having achieved a color match and avoided the inconvenience of a skin graft.

While many patients choose a more standard solution when covering scars from breast reconstruction, there are also patients who choose the more unconventional route of artist-designed tattoos. In these cases, patients often elect to have tattoos applied that have a special meaning and present a symbol of their experiences.

While a symbolic tattoo may not be for every patient, a variety of options remain for patients to move forward and rebuild after breast reconstruction surgery.

Evaluating the Role of Computer Imaging in Plastic Surgery

A growing number of plastic surgeons are using preoperative computer imaging during patient consultations. These systems can be especially useful for procedures like rhinoplasty or breast augmentation, when patients are eager to visualize the expected outcome.

One popular computer imaging system (the Vectra 3D) captures 6 patient photos simultaneously. The computer then creates a three dimensional image that can be rotated and viewed from multiple angles. The surgeon can even overlay a ghost image of the expected outcome over the first patient photo to visually compare the differences.

But can patients expect these systems to predict their results with great accuracy? According to a study published in the current issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, their accuracy is moderately effective.

A study by plastic surgeon Umang Mehta was performed to “quantitatively measure accuracy of preoperative computer imaging as a reflection of postoperative rhinoplasty results.” To carry out the study, the doctor enrolled 38 subjects who underwent rhinoplasty. Both surgeons and non-surgeons were asked to compare the post-operative rhinoplasty photos with the predictive results from the computer imaging system.

According to the panel of expert judges in this study, the predictive accuracy of the computer imaging system scored a moderate rating of 2.98 on a 5-point scale. Slightly higher scores were submitted by the participating patients and non-surgeon judges.

What does this mean for the future of computer imaging in cosmetic surgery? The accuracy of imaging systems could (and probably will) be improved. But predicting surgical results is not the only aspect that matters in a surgery consultation. As the authors mention, viewing the 3D images is a “useful exercise,” just like your surgeon’s clinical before and after photos; they serve as a tool for productive discussion about aesthetics and shared goals for the procedure.