4 Plastic Surgery Procedures You Need to Avoid

A. Foley on 29 Jul 2010 at 12:00am

Guest Post
by Marcel Daniels, MD
Marcel Daniels, MD
Dr. Daniels is a board-certified Plastic Surgeon practicing in Long Beach, CA

Even in this age of medical advances and breakthroughs, there continues to be a number of plastic surgery procedures making big promises, yet failing to make the cut. In continuation of my “Plastic Surgery: Behind the Hype” campaign, I want to share my list of the most dubious plastic surgery procedures of the new decade, and urge buyers to beware!

1. Gummi Bear Implants- Are not new. These have been around since the mid 1990's and have gained a reputation recently for not leaking, even if the implant ruptures. While it is true that the gel doesn't go anywhere even if the implant is cut open, there are tradeoffs! The implants can't be squeezed through a small incision due to the thickness of the gel, so a significantly larger incision has to be made, and it is almost always has to be in the crease of the breast. Also, the actual lifespan of the implant isn't really known yet as it hasn't been in use long enough. So. the speculation that it is a lifetime implant is merely that...speculation. In reality, they may fail to live up to a patient’s expectations. Gummi Bear implants are also significantly more expensive than other types of implants.

2. "Cankle" Liposuction- The shape of a woman's ankle is only partially dependent on fat in the area. The rest is due to bone structure, which can't be "fixed". Removing fat from the ankle area may result in a modest degree of improvement, it cannot alter bone structure. Also, since the liposuction is done so far away from the heart, swelling in the feet may take several weeks or even months to resolve.

3. Abdominal Etching- 19 years of private practice has taught me that there are very few shortcuts in life, and abdominal etching isn't one of them! To create the "illusion" of musculature, lines of scar are created on the underside of the skin with the intervening fat now looking like bulging muscles. Sounds good so far! However, if the patient gains any weight (and most of us do as we get older) the bulges can stop looking like "muscle" and look just plain bizarre!

4. Non-Invasive Body Contouring- Non-invasive body contouring procedures, such as Thermage and Zerona make many claims, particularly how they can help you lose inches and tighten skin with no downtime. However, they cannot change the genetic makeup of fat cells, so the results are often modest, temporary, and expensive!

While these procedures do sound unique and ground-breaking on paper, in reality they yield little long term, beneficial results. It is patient satisfaction, not the “cool factor” that I care about.

These procedures are not only smoke in mirrors, but they are often ineffective. When patients do not understand the potential tradeoffs and risks of these procedures, they are often left financially hurt and without satisfactory results. The ultimate goal of my ‘Plastic Surgery: Behind the Hype’ campaign is to urge consumers to be safe and discerning when considering plastic surgery. Remember- there are no shortcuts in life, and certainly not in plastic surgery!

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