Cosmetic procedures behind ‘skin revolution’
There has been a tremendous change in the scenario of cosmetic dermatology and dermatosurgery during the last one decade.

How aging affects your spine
It is indeed true that aging spares no one. The muscle mass decreases usually after the sixth decade.

Women: Beware of harmonal imbalance
A major cause for multiple health problems in women, the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), is a hormonal imbalance disease.

Health Notes

n Middle-age spread linked to frailty in later life
n Mystery of potentially fatal reaction to smallpox vaccine
n New super cereal can help fight obesity, cancer



Cosmetic procedures behind ‘skin revolution’
Dr Gurinderjit Singh

There has been a tremendous change in the scenario of cosmetic dermatology and dermatosurgery during the last one decade.

Fresh treatment protocols, newer surgical techniques and advanced lasers have all played a significant role in the modernisation of aesthetics.

The recent procedures, the introduction of which has definitely brought about a sort of “skin revolution”, have an edge over the earlier ones. Some of these are:

Vitiligo surgeries

Different types of vitiligo surgeries include punch grafting, suction blister grafting, split thickness grafting and autologous cell suspension transplantation.

The most important factors for the success of the vitiligo surgery are the stability of the disease and the rapidity with which the results can be obtained.

Instant results can be obtained by injecting artificial skin-coloured pigments into the white patches by a technique called tattooing.

Follicular unit hair transplantation

The art and science of hair transplantation have come a long way since its
introduction in 1959.

Follicular transplantation is a one-day procedure which gives permanent replacement of lost hair with new hair roots that grow and can be cut, shampooed and styled.

Restoration of eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, moustache and cleft lip is best done with follicular grafts.

The most rapid method of treatment of baldness is biofibre implantation, when long artificial synthetic fibres are fixed into the skin surgically.

These fibres look like natural hair, but need 20 per cent replacement every year to maintain the crowning glory.

Laser hair removal

Laser assisted hair removal is relatively new, with numerous lasers and light sources currently available for the treatment of unwanted hair.

The patients must realise that multiple treatment sessions are required for hair reduction in the targeted area.

This is because of the fact that not all hairs are actively growing at the same time and actually go through three distinct phases: growth, regression and resting.

Lasers work by disabling the hair that is principally in the active growth phase at the time of treatment.

Since other hairs will enter the active growth phase at different times, additional treatments may be necessary to disable all of the hair follicular in a given area.


It is a non-surgical approach to face-lift. It erases forehead lines, glabellar frown lines, crow’s feet and perinasal lines, giving a youthful and refreshed appearance.

Botox is a toxin derived from a bacteria and, when injected, it works by paralysing muscles. The effect begins to show in three-seven days and lasts four-six months.


Dermal fillers fill in deep creases or furrows and the treatment involves injecting hyaluronic acid using a fine needle inserted at several points.

Superficial lines such as worry lines, periorbital and perioral lines as well as deep folds like nasolabial and glabellar folds can be corrected by this treatment.

Non-surgical face-lift

A current is applied to the facial muscles and it stimulates and contracts them. It
is done every week for about 10 weeks and a radical change is observed in the look
of the face.

This is the best way to get rid of the jowls, which are formed on the face as one gets older. All the procedures need the skill of a specialist.

Never ever submit yourself to any untrained so-called practitioner for any cosmetic procedure (including laser) since the consequences could be disastrous.

No dermatologist will be able to do any good to your face once it gets disfigured at the hands of an untrained person.

The writer is Chief Dermatologist, Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Treatment & Research Foundation, Ludhiana.


How aging affects your spine
Dr Ravinder Chadha

It is indeed true that aging spares no one. The muscle mass decreases usually after the sixth decade.

Bone mass peaks up to the age of 30 years and starts decreasing afterwards. The severity at which the bone loss occurs depends on various factors like physical activity and hormone levels.

Post-menopause hormonal imbalance initiates rapid bone loss. Osteoporosis manifests in the form of back pain, deformity and height loss.

Degeneration of the disc is also a normal aging process. With age, the disc loses water, becomes dried up and brittle like a rubber band when left in the sun.

The disc height decreases, causing vertebral bones coming close to each other and resulting in a reduction of the height of the affected individual.

The disc is rendered less effective as a shock absorber. Spinal narrowing and osteoporosis are two most common effects of aging.

Leg pain occurs from spinal narrowing. Osteoporosis can cause wedging and fracture of the vertebra.


The onset is usually gradual. There is worsening of low back pain. It is difficult for the affected individual to recollect the initiating incident.

Pain may radiate to the buttocks, groin and back of the thigh.

Pain occurs during prolonged periods of sitting/standing/getting up, lifting heavy
items, etc.

There is more pain during walking/standing than on lying down.


Analgesics which alleviate acute pain.

Lumbar support limits the movement around the painful area, binds abdominal contents and cuts down the load on the disc.

Walking is an excellent example of the low impact aerobic exercise followed by stationary cycling and swimming.

Bed rest is recommended for a short period of time in severe agonising pain. However, prolonged periods of rest reduces the bone mass/muscle strength/cardiovascular de-conditioning, making the affected individual depressed and mentally weak.


The general thinking is that the deterioration in the various body tissues is due to
aging alone.

However, the thinking is fast changing and the new belief is that the deterioration is actually due to disuse rather than the aging process. Exercise is of critical importance, especially among people over 40 years of age.

Knee-elbow touches

Starting in an upright, standing position, lift the right knee and touch the left elbow by rotating the trunk.

Return to the standing position. Then lift the left knee and touch the right elbow. Repeat for 8 to10 times.

Lying on back with the knees bent, arms at sides, tighten the stomach muscles and slowly raise alternate legs three to four inches from the floor followed by alternate arm/leg raises.

Lying with the face downwards, raise the arm/opposite leg 5 to 7 times.

Augmenting bone mineral density is difficult in later years. However, appropriate physical activity can reduce the rate of loss.

Aerobic activities (walking, cycling) and yoga exercises are beneficial for improving joint mobility and increasing muscle flexibility. Resistance training with a stretch band helps retain bone mass in the elderly.

The writer runs a pain management clinic in Chandigarh.


Women: Beware of harmonal imbalance
Dr R. Vatsyayan

A major cause for multiple health problems in women, the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), is a hormonal imbalance disease.

It can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, ability to have children, heart and blood vessels and her very appearance by causing acne and hair growth on the face.

Though ancient ayurvedic texts do not directly mention PCOS, but, according to the perceptions of the system, it is a disease caused by the tridoshic discrepancy.

In modern science, the exact cause for PCOS is not known, but researchers consider many factors responsible for this disease.

The intricate process of a woman’s reproductive cycle is regulated by fluctuating levels of various types of hormones.

With a link to the excess of insulin in the body, in PCOS the delicate balance of female hormones and testosterone is impaired, resulting in the irregularity or inability of the ovaries in releasing the egg.

In the absence of ovulation, the menstrual cycle turns to be irregular or becomes absent. Women having the polycystic ovary syndrome complain of many problems which cause them physical as well as psychological discomfort.

The problem is noticed first during adolescence or early adult life with periods becoming either painful, irregular or totally absent.

Raised level of male hormones many times result in growth of acne and hair on face, chest and lower abdomen. In rare cases, this can cause male-pattern baldness.

With increased fat, the skin around the nape of the neck, armpits, inner thighs and under the breasts tend to become dark and coarse in texture.

PCOS affects multiple physiological systems, and nearly 50 per cent of the women suffering from it remain under greater risk of getting diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular problems, obesity and cholesterol aberrations.

Like any other chronic disease PCOS, too, can effect the psychological frame-work of the patient.

It is true that not all PCOS patients share the same symptoms, and treatment goals are determined based on the clinical presentations and include certain preventive aspects also.

Ayurveda believes that in diseases like PCOS the balanced ahaara-vihaar (diet and lifestyle) plays a good palliative role.

A light diet consisting of natural fibre and adequate nutrients but devoid of excessive fat contents, sugar and salt is recommended.

Adopting a regulated and active lifestyle that includes adequate sessions of work-outs, yoga and breathing exercises help to keep the hormonal commotions and insulin metabolism in order.

The famous Kanchnar Guggul and the Kanchnar Qwath help keep the normal ovarian functions, and Chandraprabha Vati, Brihad Manjishthadi Qwath and Trivang Bhasma are known hormone and insulin regulating medicines.

Rajah Prarvartini Vati and Kumaryasava are started a week before the supposed onset of the periods.

Of the vast array of other ayurvedic medicines to treat PCOS, Swarn Vasantmalti Rasa and Sootikabharan Rasa are the two advance classic preparations which can be given according to the need of a particular case.

The writer is a Ludhiana-based senior ayurvedic physician.


Health Notes
Middle-age spread linked to frailty in later life

Washington: A new study, conducted by Finnish researchers, has found people who are overweight or obese in middle age are more likely to be frail in later life.

During the study of more than 1,000 men, lead author Dr Timo Strandberg and colleagues found that those who put on weight in their 40s had the highest risk of death and illness but lost it when they got older.

It is believed that the heart risk associated with middle-aged spread puts men at the risk of ‘frailty’ even if they have no obvious illness. — ANI

Mystery of potentially fatal reaction to smallpox vaccine

Washington: A husband-wife team from La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immuno- logy has identified the cellular defect that makes eczema sufferers more prone to eczema vaccinatum, a severe and potentially fatal reaction to the smallpox vaccine.

Doctors Toshiaki and Yuko Kawakami have found that activity levels of Natural Killer (NK) cells, which are disease fighting cells of the immune system, play a pivotal role in the development of eczema vaccinatum in the mice.

The researchers found that the activity of the NK cells was significantly lower in the mice that developed eczema vaccinatum than in normal mice that also received the smallpox vaccine. — ANI

New super cereal can help fight obesity, cancer

London: A new study has shown that soy cereal, developed by a professor of food and nutrition, not only helps tackle obesity but cut cancer risk also.

Soo-Yeun Lee, a professor of food science and nutrition from the University of Illinois, has come up with a cinnamon-flavoured soy cereal that can reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer.

Unlike other breakfast cereals that can contain high levels of sugar and fat, the soy cereal has 10 grams of protein and five grams of fibre into each bowl.

It can keep hunger at bay until lunchtime. Soy is already used in some cereals but as an ingredient, not a base. — ANI