Coastal Empire Plastic Surgery Blog

Doctors, Aestheticians Expand Hours to Accommodate Working Patients

November 23rd, 2010

plastic-surgery-schedulingA new article in the New York Times documents the expanding work hours of dermatologists, plastic surgeons and other professionals who offer aesthetic treatments.

Their columnist writes, “In most major cities, if you want pad Thai or a sweater dry-cleaned when most people are sleeping, there’s someone who will take care of it (for a price). These days, the same is true of beauty treatments.”

Many physicians, as the article explains, are offering expanded hours on certain days to accommodate working patients. Dr. Neil Sadick says his busy patients have been requesting early morning and late evening appointments; “Patients used to be able to get out of work when they wanted to, but things have changed,” so he has also changed, adjusting his office hours to be more convenient. Dr. Sadick mentions another reason to stay open longer: intense competition among doctors in the area. In New York, being more available will set a doctor apart from the regular 9-5 crowd.

Extended hours may be expected in the city that never sleeps, but can the same be said for the plastic surgeons here in Savannah, Georgia? It depends on the plastic surgeon you choose. At Coastal Empire, we have extended our hours. We now stay open Monday – Wednesday until 7 p.m. and Friday until 7 p.m. We also have many convenient locations for patients in Savannah, Hardeeville, Bluffton, Statesboro, Brunswick, Jesup and Rincon. Please contact us for more information on appointment scheduling.

Read the column: “Urban Beauty Services Offer House Calls in the Wee Hours

Measuring First Impressions After Hyaluronic Acid Filler Injection

November 12th, 2010

restylane-savannah-gaDoes wrinkle correction change the image you project to others? Surgeons at the Chicago Center for Facial Plastic Surgery sought to answer that question in a recent paper published in Dermatologic Surgery.

Many studies have evaluated the physical results achieved with HA fillers like Restylane and Juvederm, but very few have documented the way other people perceive these cosmetic changes.

Using injections of hyaluronic acid filler, doctors fully corrected the nasolabial folds on 22 patients. To determine how treatment affected first impressions, they showed pictures of the patients to 304 people as blinded evaluators. They asked the evaluators about categories such as attractiveness, athletic ability, financial success, relationships and overall first impression.

“Significance was observed in all categories measured,” the authors conclude; “full correction of the NLFs with HA filler significantly and positively influences the first impression an individual projects.”

Funding and materials for the study were provided by Medicis, maker of Restylane. You can read the abstract or purchase access to this study on PubMed

Latest Data on Dysport Show Quick Correction of Glabellar Lines

October 27th, 2010

Compared to Botox, Dysport may provide faster correction of glabellar lines, say doctors at the 2010 Meeting of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

According to Medscape news, during a session of the meeting, Dr. Joel Schlessinger of Omaha presented results of a phase 3 clinical trial evaluating the effectiveness of Dysport.

Based on his findings, the doctor concluded that results of Dysport take effect about 2 days faster than Botox®. “That can be very helpful for a person who is looking for a faster onset,” he reportedly said.

Get the whole story from

Study Looks at Patient Satisfaction After Facelift

October 27th, 2010

Women and men who undergo facial rejuvenation surgery can experience a significant reduction in apparent age, as well as an improvement in self-esteem and quality of life, according to a study appearing in the next Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal.

“Patient satisfaction and the effects of surgery on quality of life are the most important determinants of surgical success,” writes plastic surgeon Eric Swanson M.D.  To evaluate these outcomes, the doctor interviewed 93 patients during a follow-up appointment one month after facial rejuvenation.

All patients had a deep plane facelift, but part of the group had also undergone brow lift, endoscopic brow lift and blepharoplasty during the same operation. The group ranged in age from 35 – 52 years.

After patient interviews, the doctor evaluated the results and published the following positive statistics:

  • 96.7 percent said they looked younger after surgery (average 11.9 years younger) and the results met their expectations (40 percent said it exceeded expectations).
  • 93.5 percent said they would recommend facial rejuvenation to others
  • 82.8 percent reported improved self-esteem and 69.6 percent reported improved quality of life.

An abstract of this study is available on Pubmed or through the ASPS journal.

FDA Gives Clearance for Botox Headache Treatment

October 16th, 2010

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that Botox, the popular anti wrinkle treatment, is now approved for the treatment of chronic migraine headaches. With this new application, therapeutic treatments with Botox may begin to surpass the number of cosmetic treatments performed.

People suffering from chronic migraines regularly experience an intense throbbing pain in one area of the head, a condition that’s often very debilitating. To help prevent migraines, Botox injections are administered every 12 weeks around the head and neck. The injections are only intended for treating severe headaches that occur more than 14 days in one month. Neurologists believe Botox migraine treatments may work by disrupting the transmission of pain signals to the nerve endings.

Some analysts believe that Botox sales will dramatically increase, while others remain unconvinced. According to an article in the New York Times, some argue that “minimal” effectiveness and high cost will prevent Botox from being embraced by most doctors and patients.

Read the FDA press release

LA Times Explores Marketing of “Stem Cell Facelifts”

October 12th, 2010

Last month, the Los Angeles Times published an article about “stem cell facelifts,” procedures that reportedly lack clinical evidence supporting recent claims made about their success.

The stem cell facelift basically involves facial injections of stem cell-enriched fat, according to the article.

Since then, major plastic surgery societies, bloggers and doctors on took notice and echoed the same skeptical question: Exactly how do stem cells improve the results of a facelift?

“Stem cells have incredible potential. But nobody knows exactly what they do. So they’re marketed to do everything,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Michael McGuire to the Times.

Both the Aesthetic Society and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons praised the article and advised any patients considering facial rejuvenation to avoid stem cell facelifts as well as other “fad procedures” that lack clinical evidence demonstrating their effectiveness.

There are several additional reasons to avoid the stem cell facelift marketing pitch. First, fat injections (facial fat grafting) can achieve a good cosmetic outcome without the use (or cost) of stem cells. Second, the long-term results of stem cell procedures are not known.  Last but not least, as a biologic product, stem cell enriched fat may require FDA approval, which it does not currently have.

Some incredible developments may be on the horizon for stem cells in cosmetic medicine, but according to industry experts, we have not yet reached that point.

Read the article via LA Times

Plastic Surgeons Will Meet This Weekend for Annual ASPS Conference

September 27th, 2010

October 1st will kick off the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  Held in Toronto, Ontario, the October 1-5 conference will be attended by plastic surgeons and physicians from all around the world.

Presentations will focus on the hottest plastic surgery topics, technologies and current research.  Attendance could surpass 5,000 plastic surgeons, along with other doctors, nurses, exhibitors and professionals involved in the plastic surgery field.

“Plastic Surgery 2010 is the complete plastic surgery experience featuring the latest information on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery techniques,” said ASPS President Michael McGuire, MD.

The meeting will serve as a first ‘congress of plastic surgery’ whereby international and U.S. physicians can easily come together to investigate and refine new techniques, review the safety and effectiveness of devices and procedures, and explore emerging trends in plastic surgery, ” adds Dr. McGuire.

A roundtable event will feature plastic surgeons sharing their experiences in Haiti, as they volunteered during relief efforts after the January 2010 earthquake.  According to the ASPS, many plastic surgeons are still actively engaged in the Haiti relief effort.

Read more about the meeting on

Cosmetic Surgery Market Could Nearly Double By 2017

September 27th, 2010

By 2017, the market for cosmetic surgery, aesthetic services, and laser treatments may exceed 3 billion dollars in revenue, according to medical research firm iData Research.

Fueled by new botulinum toxin drugs, facial fillers, laser treatments and light based aesthetic treatments, the market could nearly double in size within a few years. Competition between pharmaceutical companies will intensify and drive growth further as new companies enter the market, say researchers.

Allergan, maker of Botox®, Juvederm and Latisse, will no longer have a monopoly on botulinum toxin, as Dysport® and the new PurTox® claim a greater share of the U.S. aesthetics market.

You can read more about the report, “Markets for Cosmetic Surgery, Facial Aesthetics and Medical Laser Devices 2011″ from or in the official press release.

Raffles and Contests Present Ethical Dilemmas for Plastic Surgeons

September 21st, 2010

A new reality series on E! is said to offer plastic surgery procedures  as prizes for soon-to-be brides prior to their wedding day.  The show, “Bridalplasty” is the latest television program to feature plastic surgery, and some say it presents the “most shocking” premise yet.

via ABC news:

Each week, a group of women competes head-to-head in such challenges as writing wedding vows and planning honeymoons.  The winner receives the chance to choose a plastic surgery procedure from her “wish list.” She’s given the procedure immediately, and results are shown at the start of the following week’s episode.

Is it ethical to give away plastic surgery as a prize?  Professional organizations such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons say it is not and prohibit their members from participating in a raffle or contest in which the prize is a plastic surgery procedure (a treatment requiring an incision).  The ethical objections stem primarily from the possibility that a winner of the contest would not be a suitable or safe candidate for surgery.

Some medical practitioners are not governed by such ethical principles, especially outside the United States.  It’s becoming more and more common to see contests and raffles for procedures that have a broad public appeal, such as breast augmentation for example.

According to Reuters, a Venezuelan political candidate running for office in the National Assembly is raffling off a breast augmentation procedure in an attempt to raise funds for his campaign.  The candidate reportedly went on record saying that the raffle was nothing more than a “financing mechanism.”

Although the winner of such a contest could achieve good results from surgery, raffles and contests are not acceptable replacements for proper patient selection.  If you’re considering breast augmentation, seek out a board certified plastic surgeon who is practicing in accordance with a specific and reputable code of ethics.

New Law is Intended to Ensure Breast Reconstruction Patients are Informed

August 23rd, 2010

Breast reconstruction patients will now receive more information about the treatments that are available and how these treatments can be financed, thanks to a new law signed by NY Gov. David Paterson.

The law is intended to ensure that poor or disadvantaged women are informed about their various options in breast reconstruction.  Such options include health insurance coverage and a wide variety of surgical techniques that can reconstruct the breasts to restore a normal appearance.

An unfortunate reality is that many patients don’t undergo breast reconstruction because they’re not aware that the procedure has universal health insurance.  Doctors pushed for the new law so that a discussion of breast reconstruction options would be required, thus increasing the number of patients undergoing the surgery.

There seems to be a stark contrast in resources between breast reconstruction patients of different backgrounds.  Evidently, some are making decisions about treatment with a relative lack of information, while others are independently seeking out advanced microsurgical procedures.   According to a recent study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, a growing number of breast cancer patients are using the Internet to find a reconstructive surgeon on their own, and many are choosing advanced microsurgical breast reconstruction procedures.

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