The field of medicine advances largely through clinical research performed by doctors and scientists around the world. Within an individual practice like mine, participating in research projects not only benefits my particular specialty, plastic surgery, it also brings opportunities to my patients.
I’ll give you a couple of examples. Several years ago, as silicone breast implants were poised to be reapproved by the FDA, I was chosen by two manufacturers to conduct clinical trials of the next generation of silicone gel implants—those that came to be known as gummy bear breast implants. I gained early expertise with these new models and noted their advantages—namely the ability to deliver a natural look and feel. At the same time, my Los Angeles breast augmentation patients were some of the first women in the country to get the new cohesive gel implants.
Another area of research I’ve enjoyed immensely is examining the safety of combination plastic surgery. In a thorough review of hundreds of cases over a period of a few years, my colleagues and I found that well-designed combination surgeries are as safe for patients as single procedures. This data has benefitted surgeons and patients worldwide as well as here in Southern California. The findings have been especially helpful to women considering mommy makeover cosmetic surgery—most of which involves two or three procedures in one operation.
Currently I’m working with scientists at UCLA on some promising stem cell research. We’re using fat cells I harvest gently and as I perform liposuction. Our studies have shown that 90% of the fat cells are still viable three days following surgery, allowing lab scientists to use the stem cells for research into curing diseases. Stay tuned for more on this exciting project.