Airport Scanners Show Breast Implants

The full-body scanners at airports all over the U.S. show all kinds of
implanted medical devices including pacemakers and artificial joints. If you
have breast implants, those can be seen as well. However, it is important to
remember that security officers at airports don’t intend to embarrass you.
They are looking for devices that could potentially harm you and other
passengers. You do not have to tell security personnel that you have
implants and the person at the security checkpoint cannot see the images, so
just relax.

New Jersey Women Receive Bathtub Caulk Injections from Unlicensed Provider

You have probably heard or read recent news stories about six New Jersey women who received buttocks enhancement injections from “unlicensed providers”. It seems the providers, who have not been identified, injected a substance into the women that is believed by authorities to be diluted silicone bathtub caulk. The women were subsequently hospitalized, had surgery to remove the silicone and were given antibiotics.

This story points out the importance of knowing who is providing any plastic surgery procedure and their qualifications. Unfortunately there are disreputable people who try to prey upon patients all over the country. Being an informed consumer can help guard you against falling victim to them. Beware of prices that seem to be too good to be true. Do your homework. Is the provider a board-certified plastic surgeon or a licensed medical provider? Is he or she well established in your geographic area? If a physician, does he or she have privileges at one or more local hospitals?  Ask questions and check out the provider. If you don’t receive answers you are comfortable with consider scheduling a consultation with a surgeon whose credentials and reputation you can verify. 

Stem Cells and Breast Augmentation

You may have read or heard recently about the use of adult stem cells for breast augmentation. This is a new technique undergoing clinical trials in the U.S., although it has been undergoing testing for some time in Great Britain and Japan. In this procedure, fat cells are taken by liposuction from other areas of the patient’s body, such as the hips, thighs and stomach, processed with a special machine to extract regenerative cells and then inserted into the breasts as a graft.  The fat volume retention is estimated to be 80% or more. Results are not immediate; it takes several months to see the final result. It is predicted that most patients can expect an increase of about one cup size. It was reported that in Japan, women paid $25,000 for this procedure. One clear disadvantage to this procedure is that the breasts will not be firm, if they were soft or sagging before the procedure, they will remain that way.

It will be a number of years before this procedure is FDA-approve in the U.S. Extensive clinical trials need to be performed, especially to overcome safety concerns. We are not sure how the fat grafts might affect the results of mammograms. Even more concerning, we do not yet know if these cells can somehow go awry and become tumor cells. We currently participate with Indiana University in stem cell research by providing fat specimens from patients that have specifically consented for their fat to be removed in surgery to be used to further this area of investigation.  No tissues are submitted for this purpose without the patient’s written consent. This is a very exciting area of research and promises to be helpful in several areas of medicine. – Dr. Jan Turkle

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