Many of you may not know the role that ultrasound plays in making cosmetic surgery safer and more effective than ever before. An experienced surgeon has the research, education, and know-how, to safely perform all of the common plastic surgery procedures. While today’s procedures have become common place, ultrasound technology allows for surgeons to see behind the skin, and plan for performing their work to effectively shape and construct the patient’s desired look.
Ultrasound in Facial Aesthetics
In the case of Facial Aesthetics, ultrasound can be used to understand and see the vascularity in instances when injecting filler in areas such as the temples, the nose, the chin, and the glabella area, all areas that carry additional risk of vascular injuries or blindness or occlusions. Being able to see where the nerves and vessels are prior to injection allows the surgeon to plan and alter their technique to avoid them. Previously without ultrasound, the surgeon would have to make an educated guess or use commonalities found in studies to plan the surgery and technique to be employed. Vascularity is highly variable within each person and it’s nice to know where it is in the patient sitting in front of you.
Ultrasound is also being employed in face tightening procedures, for patients with loose and sagging skin. This is a relatively new procedure, and uses high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), which is non-invasive and painless. It relies on ultrasound energy to promote the creation of collagen, which is essential for firmer skin. HIFU is also effective in performing brow lifts, and refining wrinkles. Through the ultrasound procedure, the dermis is stimulated to produce new collagen. The result is a younger and tighter-looking skin as the tissue provides more support to the skin. Results of this procedure can be seen within a few months, without the possible complications or side effects of surgery.
Ultrasound in Breast Implant Evaluations
In the area of breast evaluation, the FDA has historically guidance for periodic MRI screenings to determine if implants have any tears, ruptures, or leakage. These periodic screening were recommended at intervals of 3, 5 and 7 years. While MRI has typically been the gold standard for performing periodic implant screenings, high resolution ultrasound imaging allows for annual examinations to find broken implants, as well as see fluid around a breast implant, a seroma, which could indicate the development of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare lymphoma associated with heavily textured breast implants. Rather than sending the patient out to a radiologist the plastic surgeon can perform the examination in their office and send any samples out to a pathology lab for further examination to determine if the patient needs a capsulectomy.
Patients with concerns about their breast implants are happy to undergo a quick, 5-minute exam with ultrasound to get a definitive answer about the status of their implants and whether or not they need to be replaced.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided guidance on High Resolution Ultrasound as an alternative to MRI for screening asymptomatic patients. The ability of ultrasound to provide imaging which often is able to determine that what is seen in an MRI as an implant rupture is in reality an implant fold. These types of results mean that a patient does not have to undergo unnecessary surgery to check the implant for replacement.
Ultrasound in BBL Procedures
The BBL or Brazilian Butt Lift, is currently a very popular cosmetic surgery. The extremely popular gluteal fat grafting procedure is performed by removal of fat from one area of the body (thighs, hips, or abdomen), and then re-injecting it into the buttocks.
The purpose of the procedure is to create a shapelier, sculpted and lifted look, while slimming down other areas of the body resulting in a beautiful proportional silhouette as the final result.
Recent research and advancements within the plastic surgery industry, offer patients an even better more precise result and make the surgery extremely safe, and this has been made possible with ultrasound guided BBL.
Ultrasound provides the surgeon with a view of the area that they’re targeting. Basically this means that the surgeon now has eyes on the area and can therefore ensure that they are depositing the harvested fat in the right plane over the muscle. Not only does the ultrasound guided BBL make the procedure super safe it also ensures the best most accurate result as well.
Previously before the introduction of ultrasound into the BBL procedure, surgeons couldn’t see where the instruments were, sometimes by accident they would place the instrument inside the muscle and if they injected fat into the muscle, that fat could travel to the heart and lungs. Surgeons would also commonly inject as much fat as possible during a BBL and get inconsistent results.
Today’s ultrasound guided BBL procedures mean that the surgeon will begin by using ultrasound to measure the space and inform the patient how much volume they have room for. If the patient is hoping for a dramatic change, the information gained by ultrasound can help plan ahead of time that there will be multiple fat grafting procedures to achieve the desired result.
During the BBL procedure, the surgeon will place the ultrasound probe on the patient’s skin to see where the cannula is at all times. This allows for the surgeon to know for certain and see that they are placing fat above the muscle safely and precisely.
After the surgery, ultrasound is used again to measure exactly how much fat has melted away and how much has stayed. The surgeon can, with millimeter accuracy, pinpoint where every drop of fat is going to go to maximize the amount that will survive. The use of ultrasound makes a previously blind procedure accurate, reproducible, and safe.
How Ultrasound Solutions meets the needs of the Plastic Surgery Community
Ultrasound Solutions has a portfolio of High Resolution imaging ultrasound equipment, that is used in Cosmetic Surgery Clinics across America. Console, Portable and Hand Held ultrasound devices are all available, to support the needs of any clinic and their preferred operating platform. We are proud to provide these products in our continuing efforts to provide end patients with safer and more effective medical outcomes.