Dr. Murad Alam of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and a surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital said plastic surgery is a surging $10 billion industry in the United States, but there are a dearth of comparable research trials.
The review, published in the journal Dermatologic Clinics, found the cosmetic dermatology surgical procedures that are well-known to be safe and effective when done by a trained, board-certified physician include: injected neurotoxins to smooth wrinkles; liposuction to remove fat; and lasers to treat broken blood vessels, port wine stains and rosacea, and for removing brown spots and hair.
Other procedures that may be effective but have less evidence behind them include devices that use infrared light or ultrasound to purportedly shrink and tighten the skin, low-level laser light for fat removal and fat "melting" by super cooling the fat cells, Alam noted.
These procedures are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and data show they work and are safe short-term, but these procedures are newer and therefore less is known about their long-term safety and effectiveness, Alam said.
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