This article discusses three of the most popular endoscopic procedures in plastic surgery. Brow lift, transaxillary breast augmentation, and abdominoplasty are all cosmetic procedures with a high demand on inconspicuous scars; however, many investigators are working on reconstructive endoscopically assisted procedures. The treatment of many facial fractures involving the upper third of the facial skeleton usually requires long bicoronal incisions similar to the incisions used in the traditional brow lift. Attempts are under way to use endoscopically assisted minimal-access techniques to reduce and fixate these fractures. Many flaps used in plastic surgery require long scars for harvest, as in the case of the latissimus dorsi muscle flap. A relatively long incision on the back is needed to gain access to the muscle so that it can be elevated from structures superficial and deep to it. Although it is unpopular, investigators have reported harvesting latissimus dorsi muscle flaps through fairly small incisions with the assistance of balloon dissectors and endoscopes. In the field of hand surgery, carpal tunnel release surgery has had more than one method proposed to transect the carpal ligament using endoscopes and special instrumentation. Although some reported series claim excellent results, many hand surgeons are reluctant to use endoscopes because of associated complications and a high recurrence rate of carpal tunnel syndrome. Plastic surgery has special demands that emphasize aesthetics in cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. Although the lack of natural optical cavities has slowed the incorporation of endoscopic surgery in the specialty, surgically created cavities are used to allow for minimal access incisions. The future of plastic surgery will include an ever-increasing number of endoscopically assisted procedures. Cosmetic and reconstructive procedures will benefit from this new technology.
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