16. Increased emphasis on safety There was shift to outpatient facilities in the 1990’s for many types of surgery but especially cosmetic surgery. Because these facilities were often connected to individual practices rather than a hospital, this created a situation where there was little oversight. This was paralleled by a bonanza of practitioners from a variety of specialties wanting in on the cosmetic surgery business, and sometimes limits of safety were pushed too far. Complications started to become more common. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery ASAPS), representing surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, responded by making safety a priority, mandating that members work only in facilities with independent accreditation. Although we can’t control what others do, we can say with confidence that patients seeing board-certified plastic surgeons will be taken care of with the highest standards of safety.
17. Prospective patients turn to social media “Selfie dysmorphia” didn’t exist 20 years ago, because selfies didn’t. Social media itself was in its awkward pre-adolescence, and many plastic surgeons didn’t even have a website! Now patients are increasingly likely to use SM in their research on plastic surgery and aesthetic treatments. Some plastic surgeons report seeing patients who want to look in real life like their Snapchat profile picture, or at least to look better in their social media postings.
18. 3-D and augmented reality How will you look after your plastic surgery? You can page through galleries of before & after pictures, stand in front of the mirror and give a little tug on what you want lifted, or just put faith in your plastic surgeon. Computer-generated simulations have been around since the 1990’s but they don’t hold a candle to what we can do with 3D now. With VECTRA 3-D imaging,
patients are better able to visualize their results, and plastic surgeons better able to understand the patient’s goals. Some programs are looking at Virtual Reality, which is cool but I’m not sure just yet whether it will help patients make more informed decisions.
19. Tissue engineering/regenerative medicine Plastic surgery is all about restoration of form and/or function, whether reconstructing a breast or tucking a sagging tummy. Until recently, this required clever re-use of existing parts, such as harvesting a bit of rib cartilage to make a framework for a new ear. Tissue engineering techniques are now being used to grow replacement organs in a lab, sometimes with 3-D printing techniques using biological materials. Regenerative medicine takes the same idea to nonsurgical procedures and areas such as wound healing. I can envision almost scar-free wound healing in the not-so-far off future (and of course, we were involved in clinical trials on some of these products.)
20. What do you think? Let us know what you believe are the biggest innovations and advances in plastic surgery and aesthetic medicine, and what you would like to see! We will be doing a Facebook live event Friday Oct 20 at noon.