While we in the cosmetic industry are getting better and better at delivering the results that patients expect, I still hold fast that 60 to 70% of modern high-tech materials and devices in plastic surgery over promise and under deliver !
Considering that the future of plastic surgery will be less about actual surgery as more more and more technological advances are made in the lab (think genetic engineering, better fillers, better lasers, etc.), this 60-70% statistic is rather disappointing. What makes this all the more egregious is the fact that doctors are forced to pay an arm and a leg for such underperforming technologies (Ulthera ® Thermage®, etc.). In light of the fact you can get a state-of-the-art Tesla with all the bells and whistles for around $100,000, paying $150,000 or more for a machine that just delivers fuddy-duddy ultrasound technology through a wand to aid in liposuction is frankly outrageous. However, the medical tech companies can’t be solely blamed for this-they are basically governed by the FDA’s policies which, in turn, are a response to precedents extrapolated to an absurd degree by lawyers.
Unfortunately, I have seen it all too many times – a new plastic surgery technology coming out amidst a flurry of media only to fade into relatively rapid obscurity. This is similar to a Billboard chart topper only to turn out to be a one-hit wonder!
In my opinion the latest overhyped snakeoil is Kybella® from the big pharma conglomerate Allergan®, proud makers of Latisse®, Botox®, Voluma®, Juvéderm®, etc.
I was glad to hear from some of my esteemed colleagues at the recent American Society of Plastic Surgery meeting in Los Angeles that their thoughts on Kybella ® echoed mine.
Taking into account Kybella’s negative points, which include:
1. relative risk of damaging important facial nerves,
2. cost (though one treatment is less expensive than liposuction, more often than not multiple treatments are necessary and these, of course, add up),
3. associated pain,
4. longer recovery (which, ironically, is worse than surgical liposuction since remarkable swelling can occur after every injection session)
5. inferior results to those obtained with aesthetically and skillfully performed liposuction
…there is little to no advantage in utilizing Kybella® for my patients except perhaps for its superior multi-million dollar marketing campaign! Indeed, micro liposuction can provide unprecedented control in removing fat to treat a double chin while refining the jawline and addressing the jowls as well-all with less downtime and more economically so in the end.
Case in point: