Blog — Notes of a Plastic Surgeon

Welcome to my blog. I am a plastic surgeon in Seattle and have been in private practice since 1991. I've seen more than a few interesting faces and cases through my years spent in the exam room, the operating room and the emergency room. And I have an opinion on just about everything relating to plastic surgery (and a lot of unrelated stuff). If you like my blog, let me know. Thanks for reading! Lisa

Category: Hand Surgery


4th of July Buzzkill

July 3rd, 2018 — 4:00pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon and mother of two young adult men is a total buzzkill on the 4th of July.

Shall we limit the fireworks to glow worms this year?

For most people, the 4th of July is a nice holiday filled with family, friends, good food and maybe some good fireworks.  But……..for the plastic surgeon on call for the emergency room, the 4th of July can be a very, very busy day which continues into a very, very busy night.

I’m not on call this 4th of July and I feel kinda sorry for the plastic surgeon who is.  I know he or she will be waiting for that call to come in and treat the kid with the facial burns or a 25 year old computer programmer with a blown off finger.  The plastic surgeon won’t even be able to enjoy a brewski with his/her hamburger and potato salad because more likely than not, he/she will be working.

I love fireworks when supervised by a responsible adult and when lit by individuals who wear eye protection, long sleeves and pants and gloves.  I hate fireworks when lit by teenage boys who are by definition immortal, at least in their minds.  And if the numbers are true, the danger doesn’t end when junior turns 20 or 30 or even 40.  The most injuries occur in men over 36!  Hummmm- something to do with a Y chromosome?

Most people read about these injuries in the newspaper or hear about them on the news but this plastic surgeon and mother sees these injuries and how one lousy M-80 can ruin your musical career if it blows up in your hand or worse if it blows up in your face.

Take a look at theses stats from the Washington State Patrol and keep your eye on those teenage boys of yours.  Oh, and keep an eye on those older dudes too.  I can assure you that the plastic surgeon on call would rather not be seeing them this 4th of July.

Thanks for reading and have a happy and safe 4th of July.  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Children, Emergency Room, Hand Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Trauma

“Hand Lift” – What a BAD Idea

December 13th, 2011 — 10:33pm

Top shows the back of the hand before fat transfer. Bottom shows the back of the hand after fat transfer.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon just can’t keep her opinion about this poorly thought out procedure to herself. 

I read several plastic surgery journals every month and more often than not I think, “Now there is a good idea”.  But this month I read an article about using a “hand lift” for hand rejuvenation and I thought, “Now there is a really, really bad idea”.

 A “hand lift” involves excising some of the loose skin at the level of the wrist and pulling the skin on the back of the hand tighter.  Yikes!  This not only leaves a significant scar on a very visible area of the wrist but also makes the skin too tight when making a fist.  And it doesn’t help the quality of the skin itself. 

The problem with the idea of a “hand lift” is that it does not address the real problems with aging of the hands.

So what was this plastic surgeon thinking when he thought up this operation?????   My guess is that he did not know how to perform fat transfer to the hand which is a procedure that I think is really, really great.  Fat transfer addresses some of the real problems with aging of the hands: deflation because of loss of fat and deterioration in skin quality. 

With fat transfer to the hand, fat is harvested from the patient where there is a relative excess (usually the belly or the hips).  The fat is purified and then injected into the back of the hand in teeny, tiny parcels.  The fat does a couple of things.  First of all, it plumps up the hand that has lost fat over the years and second, it really improves the quality of the skin.  Just take a look at these close up photos.  Not only are the veins less prominent after fat transfer, the fine lines are much, much smoother and the color of the skin is better.  These changes are likely due to the stem cells that are in the fat.  This change in skin quality is seen in other areas when fat is transferred to the layer just under the skin.   This stem cell effect is a very, very hot topic and is being investigated by several large plastic surgery institutions.

Soooo, if you don’t like the way your aging hands look, don’t get a “hand lift” but consider fat transfer instead.  There are no long scars and recovery is usually quite rapid and almost painless and the improvment is long lasting.

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

 

Aging Issues, Fat Injection, Hand Surgery, New Technology, Now That's a Little Weird, Now That's Cool, Plastic Surgery

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