Plastic Surgery predictions for 2010

1.  The general public will learn that not all doctors doing plastic surgery are plastic surgeons.

There seems to be a growing number of non-plastic surgeons doing plastic surgery procedures.  I am not talking about botox, laser therapy, etc…  I am talking about major operations such as liposuction, breast augmentation, and facelifts.  This is at a critical mass and I think that the bubble is about ready to burst.  I predict there will be a high profile complication that will receive significant press.  This may even result in state or federal laws prohibiting unqualified physicians doing plastic surgery.

2. “Gummy bear” implants will be released in the U.S. but won’t become as popular as expected.

“Gummy bear” implants are used in Europe currently.  These may be approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. near the end of the year.  They are silicone implants with a more solid type of silicone than currently used.  The benefits are 1) shape control and 2) less risk of silicone leak.  The disadvantages are 1) increased cost, 2) firmer, less natural feel,  3) larger scar length and 4) possibility of an unusual breast shape if the shaped implant rotates out of position while healing.  I believe most physicians and patients will continue to prefer the silicone implants currently used.

3.  Cosmetic surgery will regain the popularity it had before the recession.

In my practice I have already seen a significant increase in demand.  I have heard this from colleagues in other parts of the country as well.  Failure of the “botax” cosmetic surgery tax to pass will help as well.

4.  More and more body contouring for weight loss procedures will be done.

Obesity rates continue to rise.  Similarly, dietary weight loss and weight loss surgery is more and more common.  These patients want to look as great as they feel.  Unfortunately, most have a significant amount of unwanted loose skin on the arms, abdomen, thighs, and breasts.

5.  Fat grafting for breast augmentation will gain popularity.

“Why can’t I just take the fat from my butt and put it in the breast?.  It is possible but is still a little controversial.  This is very time consuming (if done right) and can only give modest size increase.  A few new types of liposuction (most notably water assisted liposuction), allow more efficient ways to harvest large volumes of fat for grafting in the breast.

6.  Fewer autologous and more implant breast reconstructions will be performed

Breast reconstruction after mastectomy for breast cancer can involve implants or the patients own tissue (autologous).  A recent survey of female plastic surgeons reported that female plastic surgeons would prefer implant reconstruction if they needed a mastectomy.  Personally, I feel that I can get a better cosmetic result with significantly less risk to the patient with implant reconstruction.  This has always been a problem in patients requiring radiation as there is a high risk of implant hardening or deformity.  New radiation technology that more specifically radiates the breast tissue without radiating the implant will decrease this risk.

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