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Archive for September, 2011

STEM CELLS AND PLASTIC SURGERY

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Numerous web and television media and marketing campaigns regarding “stem cells” in facial rejuvenation procedures have raised the public’s awareness of the potential benefits of using these cells in our efforts to reverse the visible signs of aging.

In order to address concerns emerging from claims relating to stem cell therapies in aesthetic plastic surgery, a joint task force of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) was created. The task force was charged with examining the scope of treatments offered to patients and the available scientific evidence that supports the use of stem cells in aesthetic plastic surgery procedures and for the enhancement of fat grafting.

STEM CELLS

The scientific rationale for the use of adult stem cells in aesthetic procedures is based upon the ability of these cells to assist in the process of healing and regenerating tissues by the release of growth factors. However, clinical potential does not necessarily result in improved outcomes. The public fascination with stem cells and a growing internet presence has produced increasing concerns regarding advertising claims that have not been substantiated by scientific evidence including:

  • The implication that a better outcome will be achieved when stem cells are used in aesthetic surgery procedures.
  • Claims that stem cells can improve skin quality and fat grafting results.
  • Widespread marketing and promises of improved results using search terms that lack a defined meaning. For example, a Google search for “stem cell facelift” yields 197,000 results.
  • A lack of consistency in technique on how “stem cells” are incorporated into aesthetic procedures.
  • Claims of activating stem cells through methods that have not been verified for safety or using technology that is not FDA approved.

Currently, unconfirmed claims are being made and, unfortunately, patients and physicians are being bombarded with false and misleading “scientific evidence” that a device or procedure is “medically proven”. While the scientific interest for the potential impact of stem cells seems justified, the great hope currently placed on stem cell therapies makes the public vulnerable to deceptive marketing.

Because of these claims, the task force has made the following recommendations to members of ASAPS and ASPS and their patients:

  • The marketing and promotion of stem cell procedures in aesthetic surgery is not adequately supported by clinical evidence at this time.
  • Until further evidence is available, stem cell therapies in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery should be conducted within well-controlled clinical studies that comply with current guidelines for human medical studies.
  • Extreme caution should be exercised when a physician is promising results from any treatment that sounds too good to be true.

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MAINTAINING YOUR BODY CONTOURING RESULTS: PART 4-STRESS

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the ever-increasing demands of life. Juggling multiple responsibilities such as work, home life, care giving, and relationships can lead to excess stress. Stress can manifest itself in a variety of emotional, behavioral, and even physical symptoms that vary enormously among different individuals. The impact of stress on your efforts to maintain your results after body contouring surgery can be significant and needs to be understood so that it can be managed.

BODY CONTOURING:  STRESS

A variety of hormones are released by our body as it responds in a defensive manner to the external trigger of stress. Cortisol is a primary hormone associated with weight gain that gets released due to stress. An excessive amount of cortisol in your system with chronic stress can slow your metabolism. Weight gain will occur even with the same caloric intake and activity level that you had prior to the stressful period in your life. A slowed metabolism that is then paired with stress-induced cravings for less healthy food choices is a set-up for weight gain. There is also evidence that stress induced cortisol secretion increases the deposition of central, deep, stored fat within the abdomen that can be very difficult to reduce.

Common physical symptoms include sleep disturbances, muscle tension, muscle aches, headache, gastrointestinal disturbances, and fatigue. Mood changes, like irritability and depression, can be associated with stress due to alterations in your blood sugar levels. It is also known that people under stress have a greater tendency to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as excessive use or abuse of alcohol and drugs, cigarette smoking, and poor exercise and nutritional choices. The symptoms of stress and changes in behavior need to be identified to help you implement successful stress reduction.

An important step in stress management is exercise. Since it evolved from a primitive “fight or flight” instinct, stress primes our bodies for action. Exercise on a regular basis helps to turn down the production of stress hormones and associated neurochemicals. Thus, exercise can help avoid the damage to our health that prolonged stress can cause. In fact, studies have found that exercise is a potent antidepressant that combats anxiety and aides many people in sleeping well. “Mindful” activities like yoga and Tai Chi can help you avoid the chronic, uninterrupted stress that is so harmful to your well being as well as your efforts to achieve a long lasting result from your body contouring procedure.

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