Monday, October 30, 2006

Magic of youth woven in gold

KUALA LUMPUR: Angelina Lum is a lady with a "golden" secret.
Two months ago, the 43-year-old businesswoman had pure gold threads surgically inserted under the top layer of skin on her neck.

Now it is smooth, with none of the saggy skin or wrinkles associated with aging. Lum is one of hundreds of people who have had the procedure.

Over 400 such surgeries have been performed in South Korea in the past three years.

And in the past 18 months, about 30 people in Singapore have undergone gold thread implantation.

The concept is similar to the Malay practice of susuk in that it involves inserting a precious metal under the skin to look young.

But unlike susuk, the procedure is backed by science.

The Singaporean heard of the non-invasive procedure from her plastic surgeon.

The gold encourages the growth of collagen which firms up the skin.

Once the procedure is completed, a gradual rejuvenation process begins, according to Lum’s surgeon Dr Tan Kok Leong.

Results can be seen within two months, and the rejuvenation continues over the first two years.

The final effects will last eight to 12 years, after which the procedure can be repeated.

Lum is happy with the results and considers the S$2,000 (about RM4,600) well-spent.

Here in Malaysia, a full face job costs about RM20,000 and the side effects are minimal.

The gold thread technique was introduced to Malaysia by South Korean plastic surgeon Dr Kim Won Seok, who conducted a workshop here earlier this year.

"No surgery is without side effects," said Dr Kim in an email interview, "but most are transient and easily corrected."

Ivy Ng, a manager of a company involved in surgical gold threads in Malaysia, said: "Given its gradual rejuvenating process and the minimal recovery time, this procedure is expected to be popular in Malaysia."

But, says Dr Yap Chung Mui, the first local plastic surgeon to learn the technique, it may take a while for Malaysians to accept gold thread implantation because of its similarity to susuk.

Procedure restores elasticity

KUALA LUMPUR: The gold thread implantation technique was developed in France about 30 years ago.

The procedure involves the insertion of thin 24-carat gold threads, less than 0.1mm thick, into the dermis layer of the skin in a grid-like pattern over a specified area, said Dr Tan Kok Leong.

Dr Tan has performed over 30 surgeries in Singapore in the last one-and-a-half years.

According to Malaysian consultant plastic surgeon Dr Yap Chung Mui, the skin accepts pure gold as it is a biologically inert matter and there is less risk of infection compared to other metals.

Each gold thread is 25cm long and is attached to a needle which is used to puncture the skin to the dermis layer where the stitching is done.

"It is important that the procedure is carried out on the right layer," said Dr Yap.

Since the dermis layer has very small blood vessels, the bruising is minimal.

The insertion of gold threads helps to restore the lost of tension and elasticity of the skin.

It also eliminates drooping of the skin and it smoothes out wrinkles.


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