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Aesthetic Surgery through Science


In former days aesthetic surgery was mainly based on personal experience and personal opinion about how a certain aesthetic improvement could be achieved that should last as long as possible. Nowadays, aesthetic surgery is more and more based on basic research and scientific clinical evaluations; evidence based aesthetic surgery is the leading term in our Department. Aesthetic Surgery Research is therefore an integral part of our job at the Department of Plastic Surgery and especially in our University Private Clinic, the first Academic Private Clinic in the Netherlands.

Upper blepharoplasties

Although many people choose for an upper blepharoplasty ("eye lift") in the Western World, no (proper) studies have been done to evaluate various aspects of the surgical procedure. In 2012, Shariselle Pool started her PhD to clarify many of these uncertainties. She demonstrated that skin cooling and arnica ointment have no effect on pain levels, swelling and hematoma. Furthermore, she investigated the effect of an alternative anesthetic on the level of pain during administration, and the effect of an alternative suture technique in preventing inflammation and suture abscesses. Other aspects she addressed were related to outcome, such as sensibility and asymmetry of the upper eyelid.

The PhD thesis of Shariselle Pool can be downloaded from this link


Lipofilling is the transplantation of fat cells by injecting it into another part of the body. It is used in reconstructive surgery to repair soft tissue defects that can occur after trauma or surgical resection of tissue. It can also be used in aesthetic surgery, as it has a skin rejuvenating effect. Although lipofilling uses autologous fat cells, loss of the transplanted fat is common. Therefore, only small amounts of fat are transplanted nowadays. PhD candidate Joep Willemsen determines whether the addition of platelet-rich plasma results in a better survival of the fat graft, by conducting a double blind randomized controlled trial. This might prevent fat necrosis and sarcomas. PhD candidate Joris van Dongen continues this research project, by determining the effect of adding stromal vascular fraction to the injected fat cells. In a double blind randomized controlled trial, he investigates whether this addition of stromal vascular fracture results in a better survival of the fat graft. Additionally, he also investigates whether this prevents scar formation. This knowledge can be used in reconstructive surgery for treatment of scars and burns.

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