"After 10, 12 and even 14 weeks, the difference is almost imperceptible," he said. His only satisfied patients were those who had very loose breasts after breast-feeding or losing a lot of weight, or those who wore it "month after month," sometimes up to 50 weeks. Thin, athletic women with minimal body fat got no response, he said.
Other physicians defended the device. Dr. Thomas J. Baker, a Florida plastic surgeon who had announced promising results at the group's meeting two years ago, announced that further study of 125 women, 95 of whom completed a total of 10 to 26 weeks in the device, showed that those who stuck with it got the best results.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday May 23, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 8 inches; 286 words Type of Material: Correction
Physician's title--In the May 6 Health section, the title of a physician and the name of his institution were incorrect in a story about a plastic surgery meeting. Dr. Stephen A. Goldstein is a clinical instructor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
Some products had more favorable reports, such as the Ultrasoft lip implant, which may be the first one to pass the "kiss test." In most people, the soft tubular material under the lip tissue can't be felt by a partner, even during a passionate kiss. Unlike injectable fat or collagen, which the body eventually absorbs, the Ultrasoft implant lasts indefinitely, yet can be removed.
The lip plumper is a polymer tube about the diameter of a coffee stirrer. It is inserted into the lip through a tiny incision at the corner of the mouth, which is undetectable after it heals. Two or three months after insertion, the person doesn't notice it, reports William Adams, a researcher studying the implant at the University of Texas Southwestern. And the inert material poses no risk of rejection.
While some doctors prefer the customization that injectable fat and collagen allow, Stephen A. Goldstein, a clinical associate in plastic surgery at the University of Colorado Health Care Sciences in Denver, says, "I think there is a place for both. Some patients like a trial run with one of the injectables before having something more permanent put in.... But the Ultrasoft is easy to remove if the patient decides they don't like it."
The meeting also included sessions in which doctors discussed why they no longer use certain techniques. Many said they now do far more limited face-lifts, making shorter incisions and repositioning fat pads to avoid a tight look.
Dianne Partie Lange contributed to this report.