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Trendy procedures not always the best


May 2014

There are countless cosmetic surgical procedures out there designed to make someone look more appealing from head to toe. Two of the latest surgeries, targeted specifically for the head and toe, are gaining some traction in different parts of the country. According to some local experts, these procedures may not be the best for people who simply desire an enhanced outward appearance.

Vampire Face-lift

The Vampire face-lift involves injecting a platelet-rich gel derived from a patientís own blood into the patientís face in hopes of diminishing wrinkles and other age-related imperfections.

"This really isnít anything new," says Dr. Andrew Campbell owner and founder of Campbell Facial Plastic Surgery in Mequon, who is also the chairman of the emerging trends and technology committee at the American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Surgeries. "They trademarked this Vampire face-lift name and then they get Kim Kardashian to get a treatment and it goes a little crazy."

"I donít offer that procedure. Thereís no science behind the blood part," Campbell says. "We do a lot of H.A. (hyaluronic acid) fillers and they work great. Weíre very results-oriented. Weíre not going to market something that doesnít have science and facts behind it. We can do something a lot simpler and less expensive."

The "next big thing" is business as usual in this business. "Every year or two thereís something thatís promoted and then it kind of falls to the wayside," Campbell says.

The Vampire face-lift contains a proprietary process for dealing with blood. The group marketing the procedure is now seeking to expand into forehead lifts and skin treatments, but there has been no consensus in the medical community about the effectiveness of using platelet-rich plasma.

"One study will show a benefit, the next study doesnít," Campbell says. "Certainly thereís nothing negative about a vampire lift. But is it really going to be doing something good? I would say the juryís out."

Foot Lifts

As they happily greet warmer temperatures by wearing sandals and open-toed shoes, some women are unhappily looking at their feet that will be exposed this summer. And a rising number of those women are considering foot lift operations, basically, face-lifts for the feet.

In this procedure, toes can be shortened or straightened, or by having tissue removed, show less girth. The shortening process involves cutting through the bone, removing a section of the bone and then joining the remaining sections together using a metal fastener and allowing the bone to heal over time.

"Traditionally, podiatrists have done this procedure for cases of misaligned toes and where the toes were causing difficulty with walking or wearing regular shoes," says Dr. Mark Blake, a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Milwaukeeís Clinic of Cosmetic Surgery.

"I know there are a lot of physicians who donít believe this is an ethical procedure," Blake says. "But there are a lot of people who might say that about a face-lift or breast implants."

"This is not a procedure that I perform. Itís not exactly a medical necessity," he says. "I believe this should be left up to a podiatrist or someone who specializes in toes or feet."

"To do those types of surgeries simply for cosmetic purposes is not generally accepted in the orthopedic surgery community," says Dr. Richard Marks, professor of orthopedic surgery and director of the division of foot and ankle surgery at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Marks says that a toe-shortening operation to make the foot more cosmetically pleasing is frowned upon. "We like to see a functional reason for performing the surgery or physical abnormality thatís limiting form and function."

Despite the strong notes of caution from health care professionals, the Vampire face-lift and the foot lift procedures will attract customers.

"There are lots of things in the cosmetic world that shock me," Blake says. "As long as there are people who have some money and have a perception that they want to look better, I think it (these types of procedures) will be done."


This story ran in the May 2014 issue of: