ThermiRF is now FDA Cleared

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Thermi RF is now FDA Cleared!

ThermiRF is now FDA cleared for “thermistor‐regulated energy delivery for both micro-surgical and non-invasive aesthetic applications  for dermatological and general surgical applications in soft tissue and nerves” (see press release attached). This is a huge accomplishment for ThermiAesthetics and is actually a more comprehensive clearance than the original SmartLipo approval.

Click here for the official press release.

Finally, a Real Remedy for Stretch Marks

Finally, a Real Remedy for Stretch Marks: Dermatology Specialist Joshua Fox, MD, Offers Tips for Understanding the New Laser Treatments for Stretch Marks

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stretch-markThey’re hardly a serious disease, but those ugly little ridges that dermatologists call striae distensae (and the rest of us call stretch marks) are a serious concern for many women, especially when summer fashions leave more skin exposed. According to Joshua A. Fox, MD, founder and medical director of NY and NJ-based Advanced Dermatology PC., and a leader in treating stretch marks with lasers “previously, they were all but incurable. Almost 20 years ago we were the first to innovate a laser treatment for stretch marks which generated attention from all the major TV channels including CBS, WABC and CNN. Now, with the arrival of today’s new laser treatments, we have even better solutions for treating stretch marks to offer to our patients.”

Explaining Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are scar-like bands that are formed when the skin is stretched beyond its limits in order to accommodate a sudden increase in body size—because of pregnancy, body building, or weight gain, for example—which creates small tears in the skin. Stretch marks can also occur because of hormonal changes (the kind that come with pregnancy and puberty as well as from external agents like hormone replacement therapy and steroidal drugs). Although they can pop up almost anywhere, stretch marks are most likely to occur in areas where the body stores its extra fat, such as the belly, breasts, hips, and thighs (an exception to this rule would be in body builders, who typically get stretch marks in the skin around the bigger muscles, like the biceps). When they’re newly formed, stretch marks look red and shiny, but after a few months will turn a whitish color and often become slightly indented or depressed. While they do become less noticeable over time, once they’re formed, stretch marks are almost always here to stay.

“Even though stretch marks are visible on the skin’s surface, they’re actually formed in the dermis, which is the skin’s middle layer,” says Dr. Fox. That little detail makes them notoriously tough to treat, as topical agents simply can’t penetrate past the epidermis, or outer layer of the skin. “Up until recently, people didn’t have many options,” Dr. Fox says. Prescription medicines like tretinoin (Retin-A) might help a little with the newer marks, but older marks were essentially impervious to creams. “You could waste your money on creams and lotions, have an operation like a tummy tuck, or just live with them.”

But not anymore. Today, doctors can treat stretch marks—even the old ones—with lasers, and achieve very real major improvements after only a few treatments.

Tips for Understanding Pulsed Dye Laser for Treating Stretch Marks

Dr. Fox was the first to report use of a pulsed dye laser to treat stretch marks, and recently demonstrated success in his own research on more than 300 patients. “Our research, along with other published studies, has shown that the pulsed dye laser can be really effective against stretch marks,” he says. “We found that the laser could improve the discoloration and reduce the size and depth of stretch marks and improve the skin’s elasticity by about 50-65 percent, which is a big improvement.” Other research has confirmed these findings, he adds. For example, one study found that treatments combining the laser with a device that administers radiofrequency waves produced measureable improvements in roughly 90 percent of patients tested.

Other lasers are also helpful in treating stretch marks without downtime. One recent study found significant improvement in the light color of stretch marks with the Excimer Laser. We have also found the Fractionated 1550 Fraxel to be quite helpful in lightening up the scar tissue and making stretch marks appear less. All these lasers require no downtime.

The pulsed dye laser administers short bursts (or pulses) of light that specifically target reddish areas in the skin and/or the collagen, and therefore has been used for many years to treat things like enlarged blood vessels, rosacea, and red birthmarks. Moreover, in addition to its ability to treat these conditions, the pulsed dye laser also works to increase both collagen and elastin, two key proteins in the skin responsible for its structure and elasticity.

Dr. Fox notes that new stretch marks can often be significantly or dramatically improved in just one visit, while older marks typically require at least two or three treatments, spaced several weeks apart. Today’s lasers are much easier to handle than earlier models, as they produce much less bruising and almost no pain, just a mild snapping sensation. In addition, pulsed dye laser treatments involve no downtime: Patients can resume all regular activities right away—and get back into those shorts and swimsuits before the summer is out.

What you need to know if you’re thinking about plastic surgery

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What you need to know if you’re thinking about plastic surgery

NOW THAT THE holidays have been packed away, have your thoughts returned to pursuing that cosmetic procedure you hope will make for a new life in the new year? (more…)

Cosmetic considerations: What you need to know if you’re thinking about plastic surgery

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Cosmetic considerations

What you need to know if you’re thinking about plastic surgery

NOW THAT THE holidays have been packed away, have your thoughts returned to pursuing that cosmetic procedure you hope will make for a new life in the new year?

Here are 12 tips to ponder as you think over your makeover:
1. If you’re a smoker, you need to stop. Many cosmetic and plastic surgeons refuse to operate on smokers and will tell you that outright. This is because smoking significantly hinders the healing process. Studies suggest the risk of wound complications is about the same as in the nonsmoking population after four weeks of smoking cessation. Expect your doctor to instruct you to stop smoking at least four weeks before your procedure. In addition, you won’t be able to smoke for several days or weeks after your surgery.
2. Be realistic in your expectations. If you’re an 8 in the looks department on a scale of 1 to 10, you can hope to look like a 10 when all is said and done. If you’re a 1, expect the best you can be is a 3, according to New Jersey plastic surgeon David Watts. The way to develop realistic expectations is to ask for photographic examples of your potential surgeon’s work, Watts adds. “You want to make sure you get a chance to see their before and after photos and not just one. You need to see a whole range, what they consider to be their best, good and average work. If they only show you one or two and they’re all great, you can be fooled.” You also should look at photos of someone who is similar to you in appearance. For example, if you want to correct that small degree of sag in your breasts, you’ll want to view photos of the work your potential surgeon did on someone with a similar amount of sagging.
3. Understand there will be scars. A skilled surgeon will try to leave shorter scars and also will work to camouflage or hide them, say, behind the ears, in the armpit or within natural creases, but there will be scarring. All mammals heal by scarring. In addition, scars vary depending on skin type and genetics.
4. You need to check your physician’s credentials. More and more, doctors in various specialties aside from plastic surgery, such as dermatologists, gynecologists, ophthalmologists and dentists, are performing cosmetic surgical procedures. Find out if your chosen surgeon is board-certified. For example, plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery have had at least five years of approved surgical training after medical school, including at least two years of a plastic surgery residency. Certification by the American Board of Facial, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery requires completion of a yearlong fellowship training program, written and oral exams and prior certification in either plastic surgery or otolaryngology (ears, nose and throat). This board certification, which is deemed a “meaningful credential” by Wendy Lewis, author of “America’s Cosmetic Doctors & Dentists” (Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., $29.95), is mainly pursued by otolaryngologists interested in cosmetic procedures.
A word of caution: Just because your surgeon has board certification doesn’t mean she has experience performing the procedure you want. Ask physicians how often they’ve done the surgery. If they’ve performed it only a few times or not at all, that’s a big red flag you shouldn’t ignore.
5. Your doctor should be affiliated with a hospital. If not, don’t use that physician. More than 60 percent of cosmetic procedures are done on an outpatient basis, such as in a doctor’s office, an accredited surgical center or a hospital that includes outpatient services. You want your doctor to be able to move you to a hospital immediately if your procedure goes awry.
6. Make sure your physician knows your medical history. According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, providing your doctor with thorough and accurate information about your medical background is just as important as choosing the right doctor to perform your procedure. “Everyone reacts differently to medical procedures, and physicians need to take into account if a patient has special health needs or restrictions,” according to a statement by the society.
7. Find out about post-procedure care. Make sure your doctor has a competent staff in place to help get you through the healing process. “Your time with the doctor is limited. Surgeons do their thing and then get out of there. The surgeon will not take out your stitches and see you multiple times after” your procedure, says Lewis, a cosmetic surgery consultant in New York City. You want to be able to call your surgeon’s office and have ready access to a nurse on staff who will answer your questions and tell you what to do in the event of a complication.
8. Seek more than one opinion — within reason. Try to consult with at least two physicians. Consultation with three is good, but more than that can leave you confused. If you go beyond four consultations, you’re either going to the wrong doctors or plastic surgery may not really be an option for you, says Lewis. Also, beware the hard sell. “If they say, ‘We’re usually booked for three months, but we just so happen to have an opening for next Thursday and if you make a decision right now, we’ll take $500 off our surgical fee,’ keep walking,” says Lewis.
9. You should know the limits of a “mini” lift. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that people think they’re going to get the equivalent of surgery with a minimally invasive treatment. People think they’re going to get a face-lift in a syringe, and that’s not possible,” says Richard D’Amico, national president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and chief of the department of plastic surgery at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.
“Aging is three things,” says Vito Quatela, a facial plastic surgeon and president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. “The sagging and gravitational changes, the changing in the pattern of the skin, where you get etching and lines and wrinkles, and loss of volume. (Dermal) fillers fill the face out. A fuller face looks more youthful, but fillers can’t lift sagging skin. That’s beyond the capacity of that modality.” That’s where surgery needs to be considered.
10. Know that plastic surgery won’t stop the aging process. Plastic surgery is designed to “make you look better for a time,” says Eleanor Barone, a plastic surgeon at Advanced Dermatology and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery in New York. A face-lift done on someone with good skin who takes care of her skin can last 10 to 15 years.
11. Make sure the work you want done fits in with your life and schedule. Most people can’t afford to take six weeks to recover from plastic surgery. That’s why there’s so much interest these days in less invasive ways to enhance physical appearance. In addition, board-certified plastic surgeons are moving away from performing multiple major surgeries for safety reasons. As a result, people who are thinking of having several procedures done at once may want to think about parceling out the procedures.
12. You need to have a handle on your budget and understand what different procedures cost because they can get pretty pricey. In the New York metropolitan area, for example, upper and lower eyelid surgery can run $5,000 to $8,000, while breast augmentation can cost $7,000 to $8,000. An average face-lift can be $7,000 to $12,000, while what Lewis calls a “Park Avenue face-lift” can carry a tab of as much as $30,000.
Meg Nugent may be reached at mnugent@starledger.com or (973) 392-7955.

HEALTH: SILICONE BREAST IMPLANTS. ELEANOR BARONE, M.D., an aesthetic plastic surgeon at ADVANCED DERMATOLOGY and THE CENTER FOR LASER AND COSMETICSURGERY in New York and Long Island

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HEALTH: SILICONE BREAST IMPLANTS. ELEANOR BARONE, M.D., an aesthetic plastic surgeon at ADVANCED DERMATOLOGY and THE CENTER FOR LASER AND COSMETICSURGERY in New York and Long Island

After a 14-year ban, the Food and Drug Administration once again gave its blessing to silicone breast implants. It didn’t take long for American women to get the news: breast augmentation is now the top surgical procedure for women. The ASAPS reports that there were nearly 384,000 breast augmentation surgeries in 2006. We know now that silicone implants are both safe and effective.” News