Articles Posted in Cosmetic Treatments

tats-300x192Could pediatricians accomplish what many parents cannot? Can they talk to rebellious youths about the body adornments that are  all the rage now, and get kids to consider the health risks and long-term issues surrounding trendy tattoos, piercings, and body scarring?

In case you’ve fallen like Rip Van Winkle into a long doze or you’re senior enough to even understand the Washington Irving reference, tats and body jewelry worn in created openings and roughing up the skin to make interesting patterns all have become so common among the young that those who go without such au trendy beauty measures may now even be the outliers among their peers.

There isn’t good data on body scarring but the public opinion experts at the Pew Research Center found in 2010 that 38 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds had at least one tattoo, and 23 percent had “piercings in locations other than an earlobe.”

eyeliner-300x238The quest for beauty—whether skin deep or in the eye of the beholder—not only carries high costs. It also can be health risky.

Jane Brody reminds us in the New York Times that due “to a lack of federal regulations, the watchword for consumers of cosmetics and personal care products should be caveat emptor: Let the buyer beware.”

Citing a recent editorial in the Internal Medicine publication of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Brody reports that, despite a $26.3 million lawsuit settlement involving 200 women, a hair care maker continues to tout the benefits and safety of its products, about which federal regulators have received more than 20,000 complaints of hair loss or scalp damage.

goop-248x300Mocking the vanity, self-absorption, and stupidity of the rich and celebrities may be too feckless a sport. But the tragic spin-offs of the sweeping misinformation their hype mechanisms can generate sometimes just cannot be ignored.

If you can take it, New York magazine has put out a detailed story on “The Wellness Epidemic,” a deep dive into the cult-like affectations of affluent Americans who spend way too much time worrying they might be sick—and dabbling with remedies that might make most readers with an inkling of common sense spit up a little.

Why pay a second’s attention to this hypochondria and Goop, the fantasy empire of wealthy and beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow? Because she’s the actress who’s not only selling millions of dollars in beauty supplies and vitamins and supplements of suspect health value, she’s also sharing with a sadly rapt global audience her nonsensical views on the benefits and necessities of fecal transplants and putting a $66 jade egg into one’s private parts.

Blausen_0601_LaparoscopicGastricBanding-300x300They once got a ton of hype with radio, TV, and print ads, as well as billboard campaigns by proponents who later proved to be nothing less than sketchy. But the much-touted lap-band weight surgeries have fallen out of favor. The number of the procedures performed annually has nose-dived.

Researchers, based on a longer view, are finding that, among bariatric weight-loss options, lap-band surgeries offer some of the poorest results and result in frequent added procedures—at big costs, both economic and to disappointed, suffering patients.

Vox, the online news site, deserves credit for pulling together a painful review of what once was the most common way for overweight Americans, mostly women, to tackle one of the nation’s epidemic conditions: obesity.

The adolescent misery of acne and the irritation of any itchy rash might not rank high as maladies requiring major medical interventions. Still, patients seeking dermatological care for a range of issues may be feeling a new pain — in their pocketbooks — as specialists nationwide report that they and those in their care are getting swept up in what’s looking more and more like pharmaceutical avarice.

Skin care drugs since 2009 have on average quadrupled in price, according to a new published study. As the Washington Post reports, “Of the 19 brand-name drugs included in the study, certain outliers showed massive price surges — a 60-gram tube of a gel for a type of skin cancer increased from $1,686.78 for a tube to over $30,000.”

All drugs, of course, have been creeping up in cost, and not necessarily with great cause and explanation. Dermatologists express special chagrin that their commonly prescribed drugs — old and new, biologic or manufactured — all have zoomed up in price. They also don’t get on pharmacy plans so they get covered by insurance plans, meaning patients are howling because they are bearing a greater share of costs.

When a celebrity “has work done” and the job goes wrong, it’s splashed all over the tabloids. When it happens to you, it doesn’t make the news, but the results are equally devastating.

Dr. Patrick Hsu, a plastic surgeon, recently wrote on that the number of people having plastic surgery is increasing, and that the number of bad outcomes is increasing right along with them. Hsu wants potential patients for plastic surgery, whether the procedure is elective or medical, to know how to find the right surgeon.

As always, it’s best to get more than one opinion about a nonemergency medical procedure, and plastic surgery is no different. To enhance your chances of getting the best outcome, Hsu advises all patients to ask prospective plastic surgeons these questions:

The patients arrived at the weight-loss clinics for liposuction, and left with an unwelcome add-on: streptococcus infection. The cause, a study showed, was probably a staff unaware of or unwilling to perform proper infection control.

The strain of streptococcus that the 13 people contracted is a bacterium that can cause relatively mild illnesses, such as “strep” throat, or impetigo, a skin infection characterized by spreading pustules that most often occurs in children, and is contagious. And streptococcus can cause other severe and even life-threatening problems, such as pneumonia or toxic shock syndrome.

Reuters wrote about the outbreak in Maryland and Delaware that occurred in 2012 and was investigated by state officials. Last month, JAMA Internal Medicine published a study about the incident titled “Invasive Group A Streptococcus Infections Associated With Liposuction Surgery at Outpatient Facilities Not Subject to State or Federal Regulation,” which pretty well sums up a key problem with the whole affair.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 1.1 million laser hair-removal procedures and 509,000 laser skin resurfacing procedures were performed in the U.S. last year. In light of these popular treatments, a new report published in JAMA Dermatology reinforces the “buyer beware” warning, especially when considering a cosmetic laser procedure.

A lot of people other than medical doctors, including nurses, medical assistants, technicians and interns, perform these surgeries, and although the number of lawsuits filed because of complications isn’t significant, the larger number of people doing the procedures increases the risk.

Lasers are intense, pulsed light beams used in the treatment of various ailments. They can cause serious injury if too much light energy is focused onto the skin. Complications can include scarring, burns and cell damage.

“Everyone’s a critic,” the saying goes. Applied to the practice of medicine, that sentiment might become “Everyone’s a cosmetic surgeon.”

And unless someone is board-certified in plastic/cosmetic surgery, that’s a far more threatening reality than the mere annoyance of opinionated people who can’t refrain from spouting off.

As reported in USA Today, only 21 states require that offices where doctors perform cosmetic surgery be accredited or licensed. Such practices must have certain life-saving emergency equipment and drugs, must adhere to strict safety procedures including record-keeping, anesthesia and cleanliness and must be subject to inspection.

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