The January issue of Annals of Plastic Surgery commemorates major developments that have transformed the science and practice of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

“In its new format as a special issue in the Annals of Plastic Surgery, the Advances in Plastic Surgery series joins Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, the major publishing house for plastic surgery,” says Mutaz B. Habal, Editor-in-Chief of the Advances in Plastic Surgery series. “It also appears for the first time in an electronic format, which will allow these important articles to be viewed by every practicing plastic surgeon.”

The 25th anniversary edition of Advances in Plastic Surgery presents 14 papers covering what is new and upcoming in the field. The lead article draws attention to an important but often-neglected aspect of breast-reduction surgery (reduction mammaplasty): preserving normal sensation of the nipple. Until recently, plastic surgeons focused on aesthetic issues such as breast shape at the expense of the unique sensitivity of the nipple and areola. The authors review some simple modifications of surgical technique that can preserve the “sexually important erogenous sensation of the breast . . . while improving body image and, with it, sensuality.”

Several articles in the issue describe new refinements to improve on the results of common plastic surgery procedures. One study describes a new technique using computed tomography (CT) scans to "map" the blood supply to skin flaps used for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Other reports highlight the importance of identifying "perforator" blood vessels, helping to ensure a healthy blood supply for skin and muscle flaps used in reconstructive procedures. Another study presents a new approach to dealing with the difficult surgical problem of treating nonhealing wounds of the lower leg.

The special issue also reports on the development of a "center of excellence" in one of the fastest-growing areas of plastic surgery: body contouring after massive weight loss in patients who have undergone weight-loss surgery (bariatric surgery). The authors advocate an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to these complex cases, combining plastic surgery expertise with nutritional and psychological counseling and other services.

Other new developments reported in the 2007 Advances in Plastic Surgery include:

• The use of automated facial image analysis technique to evaluating the effects of botulinum toxin Type A  treatment in patients with facial nerve disorders;

• A "partial mastectomy" approach to breast cancer surgery, which may offer special advantages for women with larger breasts;

• A new spray technique for applying cultured skin graft cells in patients with facial burns of the face; and

• A new approach to the difficult problem of reconstruction after surgery for skin cancers on the nose.

[newswise.com, January 16, 2007]