Mythbusting: Latisse, breast implants, liposuction, weekend facelift

   It’s interesting to me how certain perceptions regarding plastic surgery and related procedures persist despite ample evidence to the contrary. Take the eyelash growing product Latisse for example. I was discussing it with a patient last week, and her first question was: “Isn’t that the thing that changes your eye color?” Her confusion is understandable in one sense, because the FDA labeling requires a warning about precisely that. But the thing is, it has never occurred. The warning is there because the same active ingredient is in a glaucoma medication that is applied directly into the eye (eyelash growth was a side-effect) and in a very small percentage of patients with naturally hazel-green eyes, there was darkening of the iris. But Latisse is not applied into the eye, and it remains the only product FDA-cleared to grow eyelashes longer, darker, and fuller.
   Another misconception has to do with breast implants, and the advice that they need to be replaced every 10 years; this despite the lifetime warranty offered by manufacturers licensed to sell implants in the U. S. It is true that a significant percentage of implants will be replaced for various reasons, but it is also likely that many will last a lifetime. There is no specific need to replace them on a regularly scheduled basis.
   If you have liposuction, won’t the fat just come back somewhere else? Although this is mostly a myth, the correct answer is: it depends. Fat is distributed unevenly for many people, such that there are problem spots that retain a fat deposit even while overall body fat might be abnormally low; In other words, you can’t “spot reduce” with exercise, and liposuction is not done for weight loss. The key to a successful outcome is to identify the problem spots and treat all of them. If for example you have an “apple body” shape, with extra fat on the abdomen, around the middle, and upper inner thighs – but you only treat two of those areas – the fat will become even more stubborn in the one remaining spot. But treat all three, and body fat will distribute evenly rather than jump to a new, previously normal area.
   And last but not least: the “weekend facelift.” Who wouldn’t want a procedure that takes only an hour, done under local anesthesia, and gives all the results of a “traditional” facelift but has you back in the public after only a few days? It is true that advanced techniques have shortened the recovery time dramatically for surgical facelifts, but there is no secret technique that yields lasting results equivalent to a facelift but without the downtime. Facelifts are customized to each individual, not assembly line productions. So my advice is ignore the infomercials and pressured sales pitches and definitely get more than one opinion if you aren’t sure.