The editors of Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery have gazed into their crystal balls to see what nips and tucks Americans will be seeking in 2009. From how the economy will affect cosmetic surgery to which new products will come to market, here’s what we will see more – or less – of in the coming year:
Less is more in 2009. The economic recession will spur many consumers to re-evaluate their cosmetic surgery plans. More people may choose less invasive procedures such as injectables and fillers instead of major surgeries, to buy time until the economy rebounds. In fact, a recent poll of consumers and plastic surgeons released at the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) in Chicago found that 27 percent of the survey participants were considering less expensive options, compared with 20 percent six months ago.
Will consumers be penny-wise but pound-foolish in 2009? As the recession continues, many doctors may cut prices on surgical procedures as well as injectables to help attract new patients. But buyer beware: The worst thing you can do is put price before professional training, warns the ASPS.
Freezing away fat in 2009. Fat freezing (or cryolipolysis) may give liposuction a run for its money in the coming years. This technology works by freezing fat cells and in turn breaking them down. It’s in clinical trials now, and results look promising. Stay tuned.
The latest dream cream. There is much buzz about a topical version of the wrinkle relaxer Botox. Topical Botox may be potent enough to penetrate the skin and affect the muscles, without the pain of multiple injections. Sound too good to be true? Maybe, but so far the cosmetic surgery community is enthusiastic.
Eyelash lengthening. An FDA advisory panel has recommended approving Latisse, a drug that may promote longer, thicker, darker eyelashes. The drug is a spin-off of the glaucoma drug Lumigan, which has been shown to cause eyelash growth. Latisse will likely be the first eyelash-lengthening drug to gain FDA approval.
A new version of Botox. Reloxin is an injectable form of botulinum toxin Type A. Like Botox Cosmetic, small doses of the toxin are injected into targeted wrinkle-causing muscles, preventing the muscle from contracting and reducing the wrinkle’s appearance. Reloxin has similar properties and lasts about as long as Botox Cosmetic, anywhere from four to six months. It should be available in 2009.
Fat injections for breast augmentation. In 1982, the ASPS condemned using fat injections for breast enhancement, but times are changing. In 2007, the same organization softened their stance a bit and called for studies. In 2008, a task force found that reshaping the breasts by injecting a woman’s own fat works well for “touch-ups” after breast reconstruction, but is not yet proven effective for cosmetic breast enhancement. In 2009 surgeons will be refining this technique.
Cohesive gel breast implants. These so-called “gummy-bear implants” have been making their way down the pike for some time, and we may hear more about them in 2009. Filled with cohesive silicone gel, these leak-resistant implants are used in Europe and Brazil and are being studied in the United States. Gummy bear implants have the positive attributes of the silicone gel, but the gel doesn’t migrate. This is a good thing, because if the shell should fail, the gel won’t go into surrounding tissue.
Lipodissolve study. Lipodissolve, an experimental “fat-melting” technology, is being billed as a non-surgical alternative to liposuction. Also called mesotherapy, lipodissolve involves a series of medicated injections that may melt away unwanted small, localized areas of fat. To test these claims once and for all, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has begun a scientific study of mesotherapy using standardized ingredients, to examine its safety and effectiveness in a controlled setting. In this study, 20 people will have half of their lower abdomen injected with phosphatidylcholine/deoxycholate (PCDC) up to four times, with a minimum of two times. The treatments will be spaced eight weeks apart. Some results may be available in 2009.
Stronger warnings on dermal fillers. An advisory arm of the FDA has called for stronger, more specific warnings on dermal fillers. If the FDA follows the advice of this panel, expect some revisions to labels in 2009, including a timeline for potential side effects, as some adverse events can show up months after the injection.
For more information about these and other current issues in plastic surgery, please visit Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery.