Health Female Adda
1 year ago
Rebuild Your Body

It's official: They can rebuild you. While you were busy puzzling out the sci-fi mysteries of Bionic Woman the show, bionic woman the reality has been brewing in science labs and doctors' offices across the country. These days, researchers are boldly going where no one has gone before when it comes to the art of human reconstruction. ACL surgery? Who needs it! Botox? For rubes. That's all baby steps compared with the stuff we found when we checked in with leading experts to uncover which of your body parts can be fine-tuned through technology.

Spine

Old-school spinal surgery is invasive and painful -- and puts a serious dent in your ability to perform downward dog. But now docs can replace a damaged disc -- the cartilage pad between vertebrae -- with a stainless-steel version that allows the spine to retain its natural range of motion. It's designed as a metal socket with a steel ball that pivots as you move. And because you don't have to wait for bones to heal, recovery time is only about a week. Docs expect insurance providers to cover the surgery fully within the next year.

Rather not have a spine that sets off metal detectors? In the next five to 10 years you may be able to get replacement discs created in the lab from your own tissue. Scientists are working on a procedure that would remove cells from faulty discs, inject them with healthy new DNA, and then place the cells back into your spine, where the DNA would help heal the disc from the inside out, says Gerald E. Rodts Jr., M.D., professor of neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery at Emory University in Atlanta. Bonus: There's no incision, so you can walk out with just a Band-Aid.

Feet

A new surgical wand called the Topaz can slash the time you spend off your feet after common sports injuries. The device emits sound waves that target damaged tissue inside the foot. Just a small incision allows the radio-frequency waves to penetrate the trouble spot and boost blood flow, which speeds healing. "Patients only need to wear a walking boot for only about a month, versus the two to three months on crutches after traditional surgery," says Jane Andersen, D.P.M., a podiatrist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Teeth

Fixing broken teeth or getting a Hollywood smile with a crown or veneer requires multiple visits to the dentist. But the Cerec 3D, a technology that's been gaining popularity among dentists, streamlines the process. A dentist uses a 3-D camera to take photos of the damaged tooth, and then a computer with a built-in grinding machine assembles a multidimensional image and grinds a perfect match while you wait. (Dental insurance should cover the procedure, but if you aren't insured, it can run you from $400 to $1,500.) Total time in the chair: two hours.

And in the next 10 years, tooth repair could become an all-natural process. "Scientists are working on growing tooth enamel in the lab using human stem cells, which could then be used to replace fillings and broken teeth," says Alan Zweig, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills, California.

Skin

For anyone who has ever forgotten sunscreen: Remergent's DNA Repair Formula ($125, remergentskin.com) has been clinically proven to reverse the effects of sun damage, including wrinkles, according to Ronald Moy, M.D., director of dermatology and cosmetic surgery at the California Health and Longevity Institute in Westlake Village, California. The science: It contains enzymes that help repair cell DNA while channeling the power of antioxidants to prevent future damage.

A new alternative may keep you wrinkle-free for at least twice as long as Botox injections. Scientists have created a needle that emits energy waves to destroy or paralyze the nerves controlling the facial muscles that cause frown lines. The effects last up to eight months.

Fat

Dimples are cute on Mario Lopez, but not on your backside. Lipotherapy involves a series of small injections of phosphatidylcholine, a chemical that breaks down fat cells, eventually flushing them from the body. "There's no anesthesia or incisions, as there is with liposuction," says Ruthie Harper, M.D., of the Laser and Skincare Clinic in Austin, Texas. (And at $800 for four treatments, it's much less costly.)

Within the next year, a painless ultrasound could instantly dissolve fat anywhere on your body so it's reabsorbed into the bloodstream. "The technology may be used to target fat cells and liquefy them without incisions or injections," says Neil Sadick, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. Early studies show that it can safely reduce the waistline by one to two inches.

Eyes

For the more than 110 million Americans with less-than-crystal distance vision, Lasik was a breakthrough, but the surgery still can't guarantee 20/20 because it reshapes only the front surface of the cornea. Now a new tool called the Pentacam (available in corneal and laser specialists' offices) creates a 3-D map of both the front and back of your lens in seconds, so docs can further customize treatment.

Because people with extreme nearsightedness or thin corneas are poor candidates for Lasik, they haven't had options to correct their vision permanently. "But a corneal implant may soon provide them freedom from contacts and glasses," says Brian Bonanni, M.D., of Gotham Lasik in New York. "A tiny, clear plastic disc is inserted into the eye, and it reshapes the cornea from inside."

Bones

If you break your arm snowboarding this winter, a new laser treatment can help that pesky cast come off sooner. "It uses cold lasers, which emit low-level energy that stimulates cell growth," says Gregory Roche, D.O., a reconstructive surgeon based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. "Fractures heal about 30 percent faster with the laser than without it." The treatment requires several 10-minute sessions over two to four weeks, depending on the severity of the injury. It's typically used on bones that can't be cast, like ribs and toes, but it also speeds recovery on bigger limbs.

Knees

Women are almost twice as likely as men to need a knee replacement. But until recently, total knee replacements were one-size-fits-all. Today, woman-specific implants are "designed to mimic a woman's smaller, narrower knees, and they sit at a proper angle in relation to the hips," says Robert Bucholz, M.D., chairman of orthopedic surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

In the next decade, you may see a faster fix for ACL tears, which affect up to eight times as many women as men. A study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found that injections of hyaluronic acid, a lubricating fluid found naturally in the joints, boosted patients' walking speed and muscle strength and slashed recovery time.
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