Archive for January, 2006

Scientists discover new method to grow synthetic collagen

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Scientists at Rice University have discovered a new method to produce synthetic collagen. This new discovery represents new opportunities for reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. The synthetic collagen is a helpful tool in developing organs from stem cells and for regenerating new tissues.

The lead author of an article that commented on the new discovery in Nature Chemistry, Jeffrey Hartgerink says that the new synthetic collagen presents two main advantages. One of them is that the end product, the synthetic collagen surpasses any man made collagen because it resembles very well with our natural collage. The other great advantage is that the process through which it is obtained is a self-assembly process that resembles very well with other processes found in nature.

Our bodies are made of many elements and of them are proteins. Collagen as it happens is the most common protein. It lies at the foundation for building many types of tissues such as skin, tendons, blood vessels, ligaments and cartilage. Researchers who try to obtain tissues grown in the laboratory often use a combination of collagen-like materials and stem cells because it carries almost no risk for the patient’s body to reject it.

Today, plastic surgeons often use animal-derived collagen in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery even though it bares many immunological risks. The animal-derived collagen is also used in various cosmetics.

Our bodies are full of collagen and yet researchers have not been able to find a way to duplicate this material not to mention deciphering it. An illustrative example of how collagen works would be the rope. A rope is made of countless interwoven threads much like collagen fibers which are made of millions of proteins, also known as peptides. These collagen fibers can from various structures called hydrogels that can contain water. Hartgerink says that their new synthetic collagen forms in the same manner except that they use shorter peptides.

The synthetic collagen is in its early stages and cannot yet become a substitute for medical use on humans as many tests are yet to be done. But the good news is that this new type of synthetic collagen has overcome a big problem which is the enzyme which our body uses to break down native collagen. Tests have shown that both natural collagen as well as the synthetic one is broken down by the enzyme at similar speeds.

New ultrasonic tool for cosmetic surgery

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Conventional tools used in rhinoplasty have limits and inconveniences. There are many tools available for cosmetic surgeons ranging from bone saws; carbide rasps to power-assisted rasps and many more but there are certain situations in which conventional tools are not good enough to get the best results. These conventional tools are subject to wear and tear, they might be difficult to handle or obstruct the visual pathway of the surgeon therefore a new generation of tools is needed.

Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals has released a report which states that a new tool called ultrasonic bone aspirator may replace the conventional tools cosmetic surgeons use today. The tool provides many advantages but the most important one is that it doesn’t damage the surrounding tissue as it uses sound waves to remove bone fragments. It is more refined and leaves almost no scars.

Earlier forms of this tool have been around since the 1960 when it was used in dental and ophthalmological procedures. It was introduced in 1970 to neurosurgery and it has become ever since the most preferred tool for the resection of all types of brain tumors.

The device was tested on 103 patients who underwent cosmetic rhinoplasty. The development of the operation and the state of the patients afterwards was reviewed by Jewel D. Greywoode, M.D., and Edmund A. Pribitkin, M.D., from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia who said that even though there are no long term results to be analyzed the tool could find applications in many fields because it offers a high level of safety.
The study revealed that no patient had suffered from skin and soft tissue injuries but 6.8 percent of the patients developed minor complications. The patients were closely followed after their operation for various time intervals. The device was used most for smoothing of the nose’s bony edges as it was done for all the patients.

The characteristics of this new tool make it ideal for small fine operations such as rhinoplasty but other cosmetic operations could benefit from it as well.

New cosmetic surgery trend: labial reduction

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

Women have looked to enhance their looks since thousand of year ago. As the technology developed and man’s knowledge grew deeper so did the women’s desire to enhance their appearance. The latest cosmetic trend in women is labial reduction. A recent study released in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology states that women seek for labial reduction even though they have normal sized labia. The reason for this depends on the patient, some feel unsecure about their looks while others seek this operation to enhance their sexual lives. The National Health Service has registered a five time increase of this specific type of surgery in the last 10 years.

This kind of study was never done before and this one is the first of its kind. Researchers studied 33 women who wanted to go under labial reduction surgery. The patient’s labia were measure and then compared with the normal values. The average age of the patients was 23. After all measurements were done, the results indicated that all members of the group had normal sized labia with an average width of 26.9 mm (right), and 24.8 mm (left).

After all 33 members of the group were interviewed, three where offered surgery due to significant asymmetry, and 12 women were not allowed to carry on with the surgery.11 were sent to psychological consultations and 1 was sent to mental health services.

All members 33 members where asked what they want to achieve with this surgery. The answers varied from improving appearance or reducing discomfort to improvement of their sexual lives.

Another important aspect of the study is to determine when the women realized they were unhappy with their labia. Out of all members 27 women were able to give clear answers. The results indicate that the majority realized they were unhappy with their labia at early ages until 15 years old.

The main concern with this current trend is that people who are willing to have labia reduction surgery are very young; the youngest solicitant for this surgery was 11 years old. The problem with young patients is that their external genitalia develop during adolescence and if the patient decides to go under surgery at 11 years old she might be doing it in vain.

Erectile dysfunction condition caused by lack of sex drive

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

A study performed by UK researchers revealed that two-thirds of men who participated at an email advice services on matters of sexual erection problems were facing erectile dysfunction problems due to lack of sex drive. The participants were all from the Middle East and India, where arranged marriage is a common practice. In this way, attraction for the opposite sex is limited. In this way, it seems that the self-confidence and self-esteem for men is severely affected, which in time leads to erectile dysfunction problems.

The medical team that was involved in this test included: a cardiologist, urologist, gynaecologist, a sexual health care practitioner, a psychiatrist and other assistants interested in this study. The sample willingly contacted the UK Sexual Advice Association by email or telephone and described the situation they are facing.

In order to reach this conclusion, there was a sample of 5351 telephones and approximately 2150 emails received during the period 2009-2010 and in 2011 the analysis started. Out of this range, there were 673 cases which required additional reply and investigation from a doctor in the case of erectile dysfunction.

Besides facing ED problems, it also seems that men refuse to look for help or advice when it comes to premature ejaculation problems and ED. The results of the study based on the 673 cases showed that:

• 71% of sample were originated from UK

• Most common problems faced: lack of sex drive (20%), erectile dysfunction (55%), premature ejaculation (5%) and other problems (20%)

• Lack of sex drive was the primary cause in the case of men aged between 25-40 years old
This study revealed erection problems that UK men may be facing outside their homeland, and also the retention when it comes to contacting a doctor and talking about these problems. Sexual problems have an indirect yet strong impact on men’s quality of life as well as psychological effects. After this campaign, the Sexual Advice Association is planning to start other such projects in the near future in order to help men get the right treatment and advice they need.

3D avatars help Alzheimer and plastic surgery patients

Friday, January 27th, 2006

A couple of years ago people thought of avatars as the picture people see in chat rooms or in social networks. Avatars are images or graphical representations that usually represent a human. 3D avatars are very new and they differ from normal avatars because in 3D avatars you can rotate the image on all directions so that you can get a 360 degree view of the image. Due to this possibility of viewing the image from any imaginable angle has led researchers to discover many new applications for this technology.

Until recent years 3D avatars were designed for kids and learning applications but the Media Unit at TCNALIA have set the goal to produce a “Personalized 3D avatars” technology with low costs so that more people can benefit from it.

3D avatars are obtained with the help of high-quality 3D laser scanners and 2D photographs. Researchers hope that this new technology will help users interact in a new way with computers. Researchers have found that this new technology could be very helpful in Alzheimer’s disease and plastic surgery so they developed two systems specially designed for this two fields, one is called MODELVIR and it is used for cosmetic surgery while the other one is called ALZHERAPY.

MODELVIR or Virtual Modeling has many applications in many fields of cosmetic surgery such as plastic surgery, repair surgery. Doctors can achieve high quality 3D avatar of the patient. They then use this avatar to show patients how they would look after their desired operation, they can manipulate the avatar in any manner they want offering their clients the end results of the surgery even before it begins. This tool can save patients from bitter disappointment if the end results do not match their expectations.

The second application of this new technology is designed to provide doctors with a fast diagnosis for this disease. Apart from this benefit, 3D avatars can monitor the patient in a friendly manner. The patient can choose the appearance of the avatar to his or hers preferences. It can also pin point the exact the location of the patient at any time in case the patient decides to go out.