Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Top 10 Most Outrageous Uses for Botox

All the world loves Botox, the ubiquitous wrinkle remover. But like the discovery of electricity or the Internet, people keep finding unusual -- and sometimes, off-the-wall -- uses for it.

Here’s our take on the top 10:

1. Writer’s Cramp

(nazerth photo)

Given the Internet, I don’t know who uses a pen, pencil, or clay tablet and stylus. Anyhow, the researchers managed to find 40 people suffering writer’s cramp (or maybe holding their forks too tightly) and test Botox.

And, yes, Botox can relieve the painful muscle contractions of the fingers, hand, or arm brought on by arduously applied graphomotor representation. (That’s science-speak for handwriting.) Read more.

2. Bladder Control

No, it’s not about drinking all the coffee you want on a long road trip. Some people have injuries that make it hard to recognize a full bladder. Here’s why:

Damaged muscles can send signals to the bladder at the worst of times -- like when you’re in a job interview, giving your Nobel Prize acceptance speech, during a courtroom trial, or whatever. Those errant messages cause the muscles to squeeze without warning. And although you really don’t have to go, the next thing you know, you’ve already gone.

Solution: shots of Botox to the bladder. More. (I’ve got a question for the doctors already: How long is the needle that places the Botox into the bladder muscles? And how does it get there?)

3. Sweaty Armpits

(LilGoldWmn photo)

Now here’s a no-brainer: The surgical procedure to cure overly sweaty armpits -- or, axillary hyperhidrosis, as your doctor might call it -- is no fun. Basically, the doc liposuctions some, or all, of the underarm sweat glands.

Or, you can just opt for some Botox injections every few months to paralyze the same muscles. Although nobody will see you literally sweat, the normal fear factors remain active so your heart races, you’ll have butterflies in your stomach, your eyes dart around and your brain probably goes blank at exactly the wrong time, too. But at least you will not drip with perspiration. Read more about Botox in the armpits.

4. Sweaty Palms

What could be worse than shaking hands with somebody and sensing you are gripping a clammy, warm washcloth? While there are no surgical options for removing sweat glands in the palms, Botox again works nicely to dry things out here as well. (Remember, we make up nothing, here.) More.

5. Sagging Breasts

Being a connoisseur of all things plastic surgery, you have already read everything known to humankind about breast augmentation. But if you or your partner do not want any sharp instruments near milady’s bosom, haul out the Botox.

The technique may not be ready for prime time, but several doctors are offering breast enhancement via Botox. Unfortunately, it wears off after a couple of months, returning those, ah, augmented areas to their pre-Botox state. Read more.

6. Facial Scars

Six-year-old child with four-year-old
dog bite scar on right cheek after three
scar reduction procedures.
(Ben Lee, M.D., photo)

Been to war or in a lot of fist fights? Divorced, maybe? If so, you may be interested in knowing how Botox can lessen facial scars.

Researchers at the Mayo (no, it does not refer to mayonnaise!) Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, tested Botox on 31 patients with facial scars.

Half received the real deal while the other half received injections of salt water as a placebo. Plastic surgeons then rated the wounds’ appearance on a one to 10 scale, where a one would equal Frankenstein and Christian Bale would get a 10. Read more.

Results? The Botox group scored 8.9 compared to the saline group which only scored 7.1. I would personally go with salt water -- it’s almost as effective and a heck of a lot cheaper. But that’s just me.

The researchers actually want the more expensive brand, the Botox, applied to scars when they are first created. Now, that’s okay for surgery but if you go to war, get in fights or slug it out in divorce court, what are you supposed to do? Carry emergency vials of Botox?

7. Lifting Aging Eyebrows

(brbankston photo)

When eyebrows have been around awhile and start to droop, they can make their owner look older and angrier, although the person may be thinking the most gentle of thoughts. Normally, fallen eyebrows require the skills of a cosmetic surgery procedure to look vigorous again.

But Corey Maas, M.D., an associate professor and chief of the division of facial plastic surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, lead a study that revealed drooping eyebrows can be treated with Botox.

Of course, there’s never a free lunch.

“With surgery, eyebrows can be lifted for 10 to 20 years,” says Dr. Maas. “But Botox results in sagging eyebrows that can last three to six months.” Read more.

8. Voice Tremors

Imagine this: you are trying to explain to a judge why you sped through a stop sign. Or your boss wants to know why you took the day off because you thought Halloween was a holiday. Maybe your wife wants an explanation about how your secretary’s lipstick and perfume got on your white shirt.

In all those stressed situations, your voice tends to shake and quiver. And rightfully so! You’ve been busted! How do you talk your way clear of these messes? Well, it helps a lot if whatever you say is in a voice that is clear, steady and without shaking.

You better really need the help because it requires an injection of Botox into the vocal cords. Read more about the testing.

9. Rejuvenate Sagging Necks

Surgical correction of a sagging neck.
(Robert Kotler, M.D. photo)

Usually, a sagging neck needs surgical attention. (Read more about the surgical fix for necks.) But some surgeons are using Botox to reduce the lines, rings and turkey gobbler necks. Read more.

10. Removing Wrinkles from Shar-pei Dogs

A Shar-pei puppy. Massive wrinkles at only 8 weeks! Is life unfair or what?
(beverlytaz photo)

Of course, it’s only done in the most posh regions of the nation, like Beverly Hills, Manhattan, and Miami Beach.

But many owners of Chinese Shar-pei dogs, like the one shown above, take their purebred canines to special Botox canine clinics where the dogs receive sufficient amounts of the wrinkle removers to get a completely smooth, unfurrowed coat.

I mean, it makes sense! Why would a wealthy 70-year-old who looks 40 want a dog with massive wrinkles? And is it fair that a creature under one year of age should suffer severe wrinkling long before his or her time?

(Okay, you’re not buying this; well, we did wing that last one, but the other nine are 100 percent true. Honest!)

NEXT: Plastic Surgery Games You Can Play Online.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Plastic Surgery Poll

Which is NOT the Real Plastic Surgery Procedure?

Of the procedures listed below, five are real and one is bogus. Leave your answers in the comment box below. Test Your Plastic Surgery Knowledge!

(1) “Bird Poop” Facial

A high-end New York City spa has come up with a way to rejuvenate delicate facial skin -- and without painful surgery. You’ve probably heard that sales pitch before, but master aesthetician Shizuka Bernstein is offering the Geisha Facial.

The concoction is made from several Japanese ingredients, held together with heavy doses of Nightingale droppings. (In Japan, it’s an ancient, time-honored ingredient known as “Uguisu no Fun.”) The treatment is being referred to as the “Bird Poop” Facial by the few who have actually had it smeared, er, that is, I mean applied and the thousands who stand by -- at a distance -- and watch in amazement.

(2) Breast Implants for the Lips

For years, surgeons have implanted empty breast implants in the chests of bosom-challenged women and then filled them with saline after the devices were securely nested inside the patient’s chest. Then, the implants were filled to a size that fits the patient’s frame, bone structure and wishes.

So why not do the same thing to make lips larger and more luscious?

Surgeons can now implant a tiny little saline bag in the lips and, then working through equally tiny filler tubes, fill the implants with just enough saline to make those smackers truly kissable.

(3) Water Jet Liposuction

You would have to travel to Thailand, but a new way to remove fat from those stubborn pockets of flab is blasting it away with powerful jets of water. One of the chief benefits is that no heat is produced inside the body, according to the owners of the SP Clinic in Bangkok, Thailand. Just think of the device as an internal Water Pik for liposuction.

(4) ScarArt Hides Surgical Scars

Have a tummy tuck scar that runs across your lower stomach or perhaps a scar left from a C-Section, but still want to look sharp in a bikini? A new temporary tattoo, designed by a woman for other women, allows you to slap on a waterproof, smear-proof, and extremely colorful tat to hide that pesky scar. It lasts three days.

(5) Robotic Breast Augmentation

It doesn’t have anything to do with a clanking, whirring automaton doing surgery on its own. But, it’s possible for a surgeon sitting at a console to perform breast enhancement by giving instructions to extremely slim robotic hands.

The chief benefit is that the robot has the steadiest “hands” known and works through extremely tiny openings in the patient’s skin.

(6) The “Earlobe Job”

While almost every other part of the human body can have its drooping, sagging or shriveling parts rejuvenated, medical science has somehow missed the earlobes.

The problem? After decades of supporting dangling, swaying earrings that usually weigh a little less than a VW, aging earlobes become stretched and can sway and flop around like the ears on a blood hound. What woman wants earlobes sitting on her shoulders? Totally ruins the effect of a spaghetti strap dress!

Solution? Lobe Pumping. Just a syringe full of a facial filler like Restylane does the job for the short haul.

Of course, Restylane wears off in about nine months. For really severe cases, patients should see their plastic surgeon about surgical earlobe reduction.

Which is NOT the Real Plastic Surgery Procedure?

…Check back soon to see if you know which plastic surgery procedure is false!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Docs Study Tattoos - And Who Hates 'em

A Texas researcher surveyed 196 people who went to dermatologic clinics for tattoo removal. Results? People who want their tats removed are more likely to be women than men. They want the skin markings removed because others make nasty cracks about the tattoos, which were jeered in some (READ: high paying) work locations.

The 66 men and 130 women from the survey first got the tattoos at age 20 because:
  • 44 percent wanted to feel unique
  • 33 percent wanted to show independence
  • 28 percent wanted some life experience to stand out
  • 21 percent wanted to mark a special occasion like a birthday, marriage or their newly found independence.

A tattoo with a breast implant. It was later removed.
(photo by Lane Jensen)

The researchers next asked the subjects why they wanted the tattoos taken off between ages 24 and 39.

Here’s what they said:
  • 57 percent were embarrassed
  • 38 percent said it lowered their body image
  • 37 percent cited problems with clothes revealing the tattoo
  • 25 percent felt singled out
(Note: totals do not equal 100 because some study respondents marked multiple reasons.)

Read more about the study.

Top 10 Plastic Surgery Discounts

If you are interested in the costs of plastic surgery but concerned about spending too much, check out an article that has plastic surgeons telling how to wheedle a discount from your plastic surgeon.

Discounts are available on the family and group plan, during slow seasons, if one patient has multiple procedures, if you pay by check or in cash and if you are willing to wait to have surgery on a stand-by basis. More.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s Missing Mole

It’s not as exciting, say, as the “Did Hillary Clinton may have plastic surgery?” debate, but mole removal is a huge topic among devotees of plastic surgery. The Internet is searched thousands of times daily for practitioners who know their way around laser mole removal, along with the other removal techniques.

So when Sarah Jessica Parker, star of “Sex and the City,” had that BB-size mole taken off her chin. The only real question is: why now?

New York Observer writer Rex Reed once observed: “That growth on her face just gets bigger with every close-up, and in the full-length movie version of ‘Sex and the City,’ it’s so distracting you can’t concentrate on anything else. It’s not a beauty mark.” More.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s mole, left, and after its removal.
(Zuma photo)