Often you will hear of a cool new discovery in plastic surgery and think, “I can’t wait to try this.” Perhaps you see some new fat reduction technique, or a new injectable that lasts longer and works more effectively than the previous options. Cosmetic medicine is an innovative field, with doctors and scientists constantly developing new treatments and drugs.
As these new treatments become popular, getting them into on the market as soon as possible is often a great benefit to people who want these types of treatments. However, not all procedures get FDA approval for all of their uses right away, and that lead to doctors using them “off label.”
Using some type of plastic surgery treatment “off label” means that the surgeon is using the treatment in a way not yet FDA approved. For many the term causes some fear, but it’s a fairly common practice in the medical community provided the medical use of the procedure is considered scientifically sound, the product has been FDA approved for at least one procedure, and the doctor utilizes all available research and care in its use.
Examples of Common Off-Label Plastic Surgery Procedures
CoolSculpting for Arms and Thighs – CoolSculpting, by Zeltiq is new procedure that uses cooling to kill fat cells. It is currently FDA approved for the flanks, the abdominal area and the inner thighs, but many doctors are using the procedure to work on arms and outer thighs on qualified patients.
Restylane and Radiesse – Both Restylane and Radiesse are injectables that are FDA approved for reducing folds, and smoothing wrinkles. Both are most commonly used off-label for improvements along the jawline. But what’s really fascinating about these injectables, is that some surgeons use them for restoring thickness in the back of the hands as well.
BOTOX – Perhaps the most versatile procedure in cosmetic surgery, BOTOX is actually only FDA approved for one cosmetic use: to treat glabellar lines, also known as frown lines. However, BOTOX is used for much more. Originally used to treat cross eyes, it is now used to treat excessive sweating, migraines and is constantly being tried in many new treatments. In cosmetic uses, BOTOX is used to treat all types of wrinkles, crow’s feet, and more.
Important Things to Consider with Off-Label Use
When used in a similar fashion as the approved use, off-label treatments are generally safe. They are not considered experimental either. Many have been thoroughly tested, but simply not yet applied for FDA approval.
The decision to use a drug or procedure is ultimately your doctor’s responsibility. This means that your doctor needs to know everything about you in order to determine the best procedures for you. Every person presents a unique face or body, with unique goals. Off-label procedures give your doctor more options to make sure the newest and best treatments are available, so that you can look the way you have always desired.
In all procedures both FDA approved and off-label, trust in your doctor is essential. Here at Plastic Surgery Newport Beach, Dr. Agha has a reputation as one of the best cosmetic surgeons in Orange County, and has developed a reputation that you can trust. If you’d like to learn more about how to best address your cosmetic surgery desires, call us today at 949-407-5482.