Body Image: Surfside Summer Makeovers (cont.)

"Some of the best breast augmentations that I have seen are done with this method," he says.

Cohesive gel implants may also make a splash this summer, says Barry DiBernardo, MD, director of New Jersey Plastic Surgery in Montclair, N.J., and spokesman for the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

Although they are not fully approved yet for initial breast augmentation, cohesive gel implants are as safe as saline and feel as natural as silicone, he says.

"If you cut one of these implants in half, the gel doesn't spill, so it is much safer and feels so good that you don't want to put it down when it's in your hand," says DiBernardo, also the president of the New Jersey Society of Plastic Surgeons.

As it stands, "women who are exchanging implants or who are having a breast lift at the same time can use these new implants," he says.

Adds Donald W. Kress, MD, a plastic surgeon in Frederick, Md., "It's a phenomenal implant that looks like it grew there and feels like it, too."

Tightening and Tucking in Time for Independence Day

So you want to get rid of some of the extra skin before you don your new bikini? A new type of liposuction may be just what the doctor ordered. Called liposelection, the new technology uses ultrasound energy to break up fat before it is removed via liposuction. It can be used in the abs, arms, back, hips, knees, love handles, neck and chin, saddlebags, and thighs. "It has less potential to burn the skin and is potentially more precise than traditional liposuction and can be used anywhere in the body," Lee says.

Lasers, too, can trim some unwanted flab. "People with loose skin that's not terribly loose on the abdomen, inner thighs, or arms who don't want and don't need major surgery may benefit from the Titan laser," DiBernardo says. "The Titan laser tightens the skin without downtime and can be used in any color skin," he says. "It takes anywhere from one to six treatments that are given at least one month apart." he says. It uses infrared light to cause the collagen in the skin's dermis to contract and tighten. But the Titan tightening treatment is not for everyone, he notes. "If it's there's too much fat or too much skin, we need to jump to something more aggressive" such as a tummy tuck or liposuction.

Thermage, which uses radiofrequency to tighten and lift skin, may also flatten unwanted flab, says Ariel Ostad, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in New York City and a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the New York University Medical Center.

"For people with loose skin on their abdomen from delivery, pregnancy, or childbirth, or creepy skin on their abdomen or under their arms, Thermage can tighten the skin," Ostad says. It's FDA approved for the face, but Thermage can be used on other areas, he says. And "for people very self-conscious about wearing bikinis, Thermage involves no scars and provides minimal lifting and tightening."

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