The Prize on the Eyes
Eyelid lifts and other procedures that plump, smooth, or polish the upper and lower lids are hotter today than ever before. Why? Largely because our techniques and technologies rock, and our patients are telling their friends about it. They are so pleased with the natural-looking results that many are talking about it—not in the hushed tones once reserved for discreet matters like plastic surgery, but loudly and proudly and often online.
Women and growing numbers of men appear more rested and bright eyed as a result of today's eye lifts as well a more artistic and skilled use of lasers, fillers, and microfat in the periocular and periorbital areas. When using these modalities alone or together for a personalized approach to eyelid rejuvenation, there's so much we can do from reducing bagginess and puffiness to correcting drooping eyelids and smoothing fine wrinkles. The eyes are often the first thing other people notice about is, and when done right, eyelid rejuvenation can really light up an entire face.
Back-alley Butt Lifts (and Deaths)
The FDA is cracking down on back alley butt lifts, and it's about time. The agency recently issued a warning to consumers and health care providers about the serious injuries, disfigurement, and death that have occurred when injectable silicone or products being falsely marketed as FDA-approved dermal fillers are used for not-quite-above-board body contouring.
Currently, injectable silicone is only approved by the FDA for a specific use inside the eye, but many back alley providers are injecting liquid silicone into the backsides of unsuspecting booty seekers, often in unsavory locales. If the silicone migrates beyond the injection site, it could cause an embolism, stroke, infections, and death. There have been too many cautionary tales in the media in recent years—and thanks to our 24/7 news cycle and social media, these reports have gone viral —that hopefully saved lives.
Fat grafting to the buttocks, aka Brazilian butt lifts, is also risky business. A report published in the July 2017 Aesthetic Surgery Journal showed significantly higher mortality rates with gluteal fat grafting than with any other aesthetic surgical procedure. Six hundred and ninety-two plastic surgeons surgeons responded to the survey. Together, this group has 198,857 cases of gluteal fat grafting under their belts. To minimize risks, most of the fat grafting is done into the subcutaneous tissue. When fat injections are placed into the deep muscle, it should be done with cannulae smaller than 4mm, and pointing the injection cannula downwards should be avoided, the study authors warn.
Injecting fat under pressure into a vein can send a fresh clot of grafted fat to the heart and lungs which may be fatal.
The Bottom line (pun intended)? Cosmetic surgery is safe when performed by an appropriately trained doctor in an appropriate patient in an appropriate (read: safe) setting using appropriate, evidence-based techniques.