What is Cleft Palate Surgery?

A cleft lip  (cheiloschisis) and cleft palate (palatoschisis) are among the most common birth defects affecting children in North America.

The incomplete formation of the upper lip (cleft lip) or roof of the mouth (cleft palate) can occur individually, though occasionally both defects may occur together.

The conditions can vary in severity and may involve one or both sides of the face.

A cleft, or separation of the upper lip and/or the roof of the mouth, occurs during fetal development when certain components of the upper lip and roof of the mouth fail to form normally.

This can be corrected through cleft lip and cleft palate surgery, which restores function and a more normal appearance. It can also improve a child’s ability to eat, speak, hear and breathe.

An early intervention by a team of specialists who can evaluate and define a course of treatment is essential in proper cleft lip and/or cleft palate repair. Treatment may include: surgical repair of the cleft, speech rehabilitation and dental restoration.


What is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel removes the outer layers of your skin to create a smooth texture using a chemical solution. It is one of the least invasive ways to improve the appearance of a patient’s skin, and can resolve many skin issues which can be caused by sun exposure, acne, and aging.

Though they are used mostly on the face, the can also be used to improve the skin on patients’ necks or hands.

A chemical peel can help improve:

  • Acne or acne scars
  • Age and liver spots
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Freckles
  • Irregular skin pigmentation
  • Rough skin and scaly patches
  • Scars
  • Sun-damaged skin

However, a chemical peel can’t do the following:

  • Treat deep facial lines
  • Tighten loose or sagging skin
  • Remove broken capillaries
  • Change pore size
  • Remove deep scars

What is a Body Lift?

A body lift improves the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat and skin.

The procedure removes excess sagging fat and skin, and can improve an irregular, dimpled skin surface commonly known as cellulite.

A body lift may include these areas:

  • Abdominal area – locally or extending around the sides and into the lower back area
  • Buttocks which may be low, flat or shaped unevenly
  • Groin that may sag into inner thigh
  • Thigh – the inner, outer, or posterior thigh, or the thigh’s circumference

Some factors which may contribute to poor tissue elasticity are aging, sun damage, pregnancy, significant fluctuations in weight, and genetic factors.

However, a body lift is not intended strictly for the removal of excess fat. In cases where where the skin has good elasticity, liposuction is generally used to remove excess fat deposits.

In cases where skin elasticity is poor, a combination of liposuction and body lift techniques may be recommended.


Study Finds that Plastic Surgery Can Make People Perceive You as More Likeable

A recent study published in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery found that women who underwent facial rejuvenation surgery were perceived not only to be more attractive than before,  but also more likeable than before the surgery.

The findings illustrate what is known as “facial profiling,” or how our brains collect information based on other people’s visual cues, including their facial expressions.

Dr. Michael Reilly a plastic surgeon at the Georgetown University Medical Center and the study’s lead author, stated that “our judgements of people’s resting facial expressions are an overgeneralization of the dynamic facial expression that they most closely resemble — meaning that if the corners of someone’s mouth are turned down at rest, they are not going to be judged as likeable or as socially skilled since it appears that they are sad or angry. If the cheeks are full and high, they are going to be judged they opposite, since they appear to be happy.”

The new study shows that these perceptions can be manipulated through plastic surgery because it changes the appearance of a person’s resting facial expression.

To perform the study researchers took before-and-after photos of 30 caucasian women who had recently undergone various facial plastic surgery procedures, including face-lift, eyebrow lift, neck lift, eyelid surgery and/or chin implant surgery. They then had the photos rated by study participants for traits such as aggressiveness, extroversion, likeability, trustworthiness, risk-seeking and social skills.

Their findings indicate that the women’s post-operative photos were rated as being more likeable, more feminine, higher in social skills, and more attractive overall. However, there we no significant change in levels of perceived trustworthiness, risk-seeking, extroversion or aggressiveness.

This is likely why the face-lift and lower eyelid procedures resulted in the greatest changes in perceived personality: because these surgeries turn the corners of the mouth up and lessen the look of tiredness around the eyes, making the women’s faces appear more social.

However, some women’s personalities were actually rated more negatively after their surgeries. Dr. Reilly explains that “patients need to be aware of the greater changes that are happening to a patient’s aura when they undergo facial-altering surgery… our theory is that if there is any detectable unnaturalness to the patient’s look after surgery, this can negatively impact their overall aura.”

Link Between Migraines and Carpal Tunnel, Study Finds

A new report in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery-Global Open has found that patients with carpal tunnel syndrome are more than twice as likely to have migraine headaches.

These findings are the result of research by by Dr. Huay-Zong Law and colleagues of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, who also state that migraine patients also have higher odds of carpal tunnel syndrome  – indicating a correlation between the two.

Dr. Law and colleagues analyzed data from nearly 26,000 American participants who responded to a national health survey, which asked participants if  they had had carpal tunnel syndrome during the past year or “severe headache or migraine” during the past three months.

The research showed that 3.7 percent of respondents carpal tunnel syndrome and 16.3 percent had migraine headache, and associations between the two conditions were analyzed with
adjustment for patient- and health-related risk factors.

Migraine was present in 34 percent of respondents with CTS, compared to 16 percent of those without CTS, indicating a link between the two.

After adjustment for other factors, the odds of having migraine were 2.6 times higher for those with CTS.

Among shared risk factors were female sex, obesity, diabetes, and smoking. Carpal tunnel syndrome was associated with older age and migraine with younger age, and while both appeared to be less present in Asians, Hispanics showed a lower rate of CTS.

Because of the poorly misunderstood nature of these two conditions they can often lead to high costs and disability. CTS is the most common of a group of related conditions called compression neuropathies, with symptoms related to pressure on nerves.

According to Dr. Law, these findings go against the historical interpretation of a migraine as a compression neuropathy, stating: “there is some evidence that migraine headache may be triggered by nerve compression in the head and neck, with some patients responding to nerve decompression by surgical release.”

The new study is the first to show an association between CTS and migraine in that they share some “common systemic or neurologic risk factor,” the researchers write., though the connection remains unclear.

Fat Grafting Technique Improves on Results of Breast Augmentation

A technique using a transplantation of a small amount of the patient’s own fat cells can produce better cosmetic outcomes, according to a study in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Dr. Francisco G. Bravo of Clinica Gomez Bravo, Madrid reports that the technique can achieve a more natural-appearing cleavage, which avoids the “separated breasts” appearance that can occur after breast augmentation.

This conclusion comes as the result of analyses performed by Dr. Bravo of the outcomes of breast augmentation surgery in 59 women. 38 underwent conventional surgery using breast implants only, while the other 21 received combination technique using breast implants plus “selective para-sternal fat grafting.”

This approach involved a small amount of the patient’s own fat being harvested from elsewhere in the body-such as the thighs or abdomen. The fat is processed and carefully placed along the inner (medial) borders of the breasts, with the goal being a more natural shape and to soften the “medial transition zone” between the sternum (breastbone) and the implant edges.

Following surgery Dr Bravo compared the results by measuring the distance between the medial border of the breasts, or “vertical aesthetic line” (VAL), and by rating the “attractiveness” of paired breasts of photographs shown to 20 observers, which were digitally altered to show a narrower or wider VAL.

Though both groups of women reported higher satisfaction rates, the technique resulted in a more natural cleavage  in patients undergoing the fat grafting technique.

There were no complications related to fat grafting-likely reflecting the small amounts of fat transplanted and the gentle “micro-grafting” technique used.

Fat grafting between the sternum and implant on both sides appears to provide a significant cosmetic advantage, as it produces a smoother transition between the breasts and avoids the artificial “separated breasts” appearance. The results of Dr Bravo’s findings also support the concept that the VAL is a useful concept for plastic surgeons to consider in achieving a more attractive, natural appearance after breast augmentation.