Endoscopic Technique

Plastic surgery, perhaps more than any other surgical specialty, is dedicated to achieving results that are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. This is true whether a procedure is cosmetic or reconstructive in nature. Over the years this emphasis on aesthetics has led plastic surgeons to adopt increasingly effective techniques and tools that minimize incisions, conspicuous scarring and recovery times.

One such innovation is endoscopic surgery, a technique that allows a surgeon to view the body’s internal structures via a special camera device while operating. For the patient, this can mean fewer and smaller incisions, reduced scarring that is more easily concealed, a shorter and more comfortable recovery and a greater number of options when it comes to making decisions about their medical care.

What Is endoscopy?

Endoscopy is a broad term that refers to procedures that use an endoscope to visualize the inside of a patient’s body. An endoscope is a narrow, tubular instrument with a bright light and a tiny camera at the tip. This part of the instrument is inserted through small incisions while a second part of the instrument, a viewing screen, displays images of the body’s internal structures as the camera transmits them. A doctor can move the camera to visualize a treatment area and use the enhanced view on the screen to perform precise tasks with other instruments.

Endoscopic procedures are not new to the world of medicine. They are a time-tested method for diagnosing and treating conditions in areas that are difficult to see, such as the joints, abdomen, colon and throat. Endoscopic instruments are also used to assist in surgery in a number of disciplines, including orthopedic surgery and gynecologic surgery. Endoscopic techniques are a more recent addition to the plastic surgeon’s repertoire, but they show great promise for improving the results of both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures.

How are endoscopic instruments used in cosmetic plastic surgery?

Cosmetic surgery encompasses procedures designed to improve a patient’s appearance. Some of the cosmetic procedures that can benefit from the use of an endoscope include:

Facelift: For individuals in the earlier stages of the aging process, an endoscopically assisted facelift can achieve excellent results while eliminating the need for longer incisions and possibly decreasing downtime. This is especially advantageous for a procedure that is performed on the face, the most prominent and visible part of the body.

Breast Augmentation: An endoscope can be inserted through a small incision in the navel or underarm to assist the surgeon in positioning the implant. This can not only help with more precise placement but also locates the scars away from the breasts themselves, where they are less intrusive.

Abdominoplasty: An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, may be performed with an endoscope when there is abdominal wall laxity but relatively little excess skin. The endoscope allows the surgeon to view the treatment area and tighten the abdominal muscles in a similar manner to a standard tummy tuck, but with significantly smaller incisions.

Brow Lift: Brow lift surgery smoothes the forehead and raises a drooping brow to rejuvenate the upper region of the face. The endoscopic brow lift technique is less invasive, leaves behind minimal scarring that is hidden in the hair and often results in a faster, more comfortable recovery.

How are endoscopic instruments used in reconstructive plastic surgery?

Reconstructive surgery is focused on procedures that improve the functionality of the body, though they may also improve a patient’s appearance. Some of the cosmetic procedures that are enhanced by the use of an endoscope include:

Carpal-tunnel Release. Carpal-tunnel release relieves the painful and debilitating symptoms of carpal-tunnel syndrome. In the traditional method, the surgeon opens the wrist to perform the surgery. With the endoscopic technique, only small incisions are needed and patients are often able to resume work sooner.

Flap Surgery. Flap surgery is a technique that lifts healthy tissue with an intact blood supply from a donor site and moves it to a recipient site where it assists in wound healing. An endoscope can be used to remove tissue from the donor site with minimal incisions and scarring.

Tissue Expander Placement. Tissue expanders are temporary devices used to stretch areas of healthy skin in order to repair lost or damaged skin. Endoscopic placement of tissue expanders can ensure more precise positioning and reduce operative time, length of hospital stay, complication rate and time to full expansion.

Sinus Surgery. Sinus surgery addresses chronic issues including infections, impaired breathing and disrupted sense of smell. An endoscope can assist a surgeon in locating and correcting the source of these problems to restore the function and health of the nasal pathways.

What are the advantages of endoscopic techniques?

Endoscopic instruments offer distinct advantages in plastic surgery. Any procedure that requires an incision can leave a scar. With endoscopic surgery, however, the incisions are significantly smaller and fewer may be required. The resulting scars are less noticeable and easier to conceal. Use of an endoscope can also reduce the discomfort associated with recovery, the length of the recovery period and the risk of certain complications developing after surgery. Patients who receive treatment with an endoscope often recover more quickly and return to work earlier than those who undergo open surgery.

Is endoscopic surgery right for me?

When performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive education and experience, endoscopic procedures can match the results of open-method procedures while reducing recovery time and scarring. The best candidates for these procedures are good candidates for surgery in general, are seeking enhanced aesthetic outcomes and, in some cases, have less advanced concerns. Depending on the type and extent of surgery required to address a patient’s concerns, a combination of classic and endoscopic techniques — or classic techniques alone — may be more beneficial. To find out whether endoscopic plastic surgery can achieve your desired results, schedule a consultation with Dr. Bazzi by calling 734-844-5700 today.