Health in 2005: What May Come (cont.)

"This drug will be submitted to the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval in 2005," he says. "I don't know if the company will submit it for smoking [cessation], diabetes, or another condition, but it will be submitted within next few months." Looking further down the road, he says, "Acomplia is way ahead of everything else, but there will be more studies and trials of other drugs including AOD 9614, an experimental drug which seems to cause weight loss without affecting appetite." Aronne says the trend toward weight loss surgery will continue to increase. "It's the most effective treatment available, and I really think another trend is that people will want to go to specialty obesity surgery centers to undergo it."

Nips 'n' Tucks in the New Year

In 2005, several deeper and longer-lasting wrinkle fillers will join the growing list of already approved injectables, predicts plastic surgeon Mark L. Jewell, MD, the president-elect of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. This may include Restylane SubQ to bulk up the cheeks and chin. It requires a larger needle and deeper injections that go below the skin layers and may last longer than currently available fillers. "Botox will remain front and center, although the FDA may crack down on imported substances given the Florida situation." In late November 2004, a Florida doctor allegedly injected himself, along with his girlfriend and two patients, with an unapproved botulism toxin marketed as a less expensive version of Botox. All four people were paralyzed as a result.

2005 may also bring about a new option in breast implants: cohesive gel implants. These are made of cohesive silicone gel, are leak-resistant, and have the consistency of a gummy bear. "By the end of next year, we may have one or two available, which is good news," he says. These implants are made to last longer and maintain a more realistic shape.

There may also be some progress in the development of noninvasive alternatives to liposuction, he says. Two such alternatives are being studied: Ultrashape and LipoSonix, both of which use ultrasound to "melt" localized fat deposits.

But don't start booking your appointments just yet. "I don't think either will be out in a packaged version in 2005," he adds.

In addition, plastic surgeons will make strides in refining the optimal technique for body lifts after weight loss surgery. Many people opt to undergo a series of procedures after weight loss surgery to do away with excess skin. Jewell also thinks that the American public may be moving away from the dramatic alterations they have witnessed on plastic surgery reality television shows as they embrace subtler changes over extreme makeovers, both personally and as viewers.