ASAPS 2011: Best of Hot Topics

Here are my choices for the “Hot Topics” presented at the Boston ASAPS meeting:
1. “Stem Cell Facelift” – Dr. Peter Rubin reviewed the literature on the so-called Stem Cell facelift. It turns out that there really is no consistent technique for this method. Many advertised “stem cell facelifts” are simply regular facelifts with regular fat grafting and don’t involve any extra stem-cell work at all. Furthermore, to date, there is NO DATA that this technique is superior to facelift with standard fat grafting. Summary: as of today, the stem cell facelift can either be considered unproven and under development, or if you are a little more cynical, it might just be “marketing hype”.

2. Biofilms & breast implant contracture – as we’ve discussed here before, evidence continues to accumulate that there is a link between bacteria, which go on to form a slimy biofilm, and later development of a hard, contracted breast implant. Australian surgeon Dr. Anand Diva presented data from an animal study, showing that in their experimental model, once a biofilm was formed, that 80% of the animals went on to form a capsule around their implant. Furthermore, when an antibiotic-impregnated mesh was placed in the pocket with the implant, there were zero contractures, despite purposely contaminating the pocket with a dose of bacteria. The mesh, made by a company called TyRx, is currently in studies as a method to prevent infections around cardiac pacemakers. So far, no human studies have been done with breast implants and this mesh – but it’s clearly very interesting and exciting.

3. High Intensity Frequency Ultrasound (HIFU) – Dr. Mark Jewell presented his data on the Liposonix machine, which is claimed to reduce abdominal fat without invasive surgery or injections, but just an external treatment which focuses ultrasonic energy on the fat. It turns out that it works….but there are some limitations. In their study of 180 patients, an average reduction of 2.5 cm (1″) in abdominal circumference was seen after only one treatment. Some patients (good responders) had more than a 3 cm reduction in circumference. Treatment pain was rated as “none or mild” in 67%. Again, this machine is not FDA approved yet…but it’s available in Europe. Hopefully, we’ll get it one of these days!

Lots of cool stuff….more to come. It’s also been nice to catch up with friends from Boston and from Ann Arbor.

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