HOUSTON (AP) – A lunchtime facelift. Using a patient’s own plasma to promote hair growth.
Innovation in plastic surgery has usually resulted in satisfying patients’ needs for quicker, better, as well as safer results, according to doctors attending the
International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery’s 17th biennial conference. For Woffles Wu, a Singapore-based plastic surgeon, the challenge his patients gave him was creating a procedure that was like a facelift but didn’t involve surgery or take as long.
“They would always say, ‘Don’t you have a procedure that can be done in under an hour and I can go out in the evening?'” he said Tuesday.
Wu came up with a non surgical procedure that uses sutures inserted via a needle that suspend sagging facial tissues to the scalp.
Done under local anesthesia, the procedure takes between 20 and 45 minutes, Wu told many of the hundreds of surgeons attending the conference, which was set to end Tuesday.
“Does it last? I tell patients it probably won’t last more than a year or two,” he said. “But I ask them, ‘Does it really matter? You’re on Botox. You know what it’s like to come back every six months and you want something that is very quick and allows you to get back to your social activity.'” Carlos Uebel, a plastic surgeon from Porto Alegre, Brazil, has been working to reinvigorate the hair replacement techniques he has been doing for more than 20 years.
Hair transplantation usually involves taking small pieces of hair-bearing scalp grafts from a donor site and relocating them to a bald or thinning area. To improve the number of hairs such grafts can yield, Uebel has taken the hair grafts from patients’ scalps and coated them in platelet rich plasma.
The plasma, made from a patient’s own blood, has concentrated platelets with large amounts of proteins called growth factors. These growth factors usually help the body repair itself by stimulating other cells to regenerate new tissue.
In Uebel’s procedure, the hair grafts are coated with the plasma, which improves their ability to regrow when they are transplanted.
Some patients who’ve gone through this procedure have experienced regrowth sooner and have had 30 to 40 percent more hair.
“It’s a very simple, safe and inexpensive procedure,” he said.
Some surveys have shown that about 50 percent of men and women reported feeling unhappy about the way they looked overall and parallel to this is the vast increase in the number of people turning to plastic surgery, said Dr. Lois Friedman, an associate professor with Baylor College of Medicine’s Menninger Department of Psychiatry
In 2003, Americans spent just under $9.4 billion on cosmetic procedures.
“Studies suggest that people are pleased with the outcome of plastic surgery and feel better about themselves,” said Friedman, who is not connected to the conference. “But there have been some problems with these studies, such as small samples (of patients) and not well controlled research.”
The reaction people will have to plastic surgery will depend on the type of procedure they undergo, with more extensive surgeries having more psychological implications, she said.
“But if someone expects their life will change because of it, that may be a problem,” Friedman said.