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According to the Los Angeles Times a simple surgical procedure destroying certain nerves in the kidney can sharply reduce blood pressure in patients whose hypertension cannot be controlled with conventional medications, researchers said Wednesday.

The study was conducted on 52 patients whose blood pressure averaged 178/96, despite the fact that they were taking five hypertension medications. On average, their blood pressure dropped by 32/12, while a control group of 54 patients receiving only drugs showed no change.

“Those blood pressure reductions are pretty remarkable,” said Dr. Douglas Weaver, division head of cardiovascular medicine at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, who was not involved in the study. “Those patients had been given everything and had not responded…. Did they prove that this [should go into the clinic]? No, the study is far too small. But they have shown that here is a way we could potentially lower blood pressure.”

Dr. Suzanne Oparil, a hypertension specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who also was not involved in the research, noted that “this is an extremely important study. We did work in the 1980s that showed that this prevents hypertension in animals, but had no way of translating it into humans. There is an enormous clinical need for this kind of approach.”

As the US population continues to report large numbers of patients with hypertension is inevitable that patients may present themselves as prospective plastic surgery patients. Dr. O’Toole advises patients during the consultation that if they suffer from high blood pressure, it will be necessary to have it treated and under control. In most cases, he will also request an additional medical clearance from the patient’s primary care physician prior to surgery. Post massive weight loss patients considering procedures such as abdominoplasty, or breast reduction, are commonly part of the population  who has suffered from high blood pressure. Often times, with the loss of  weight they no longer suffer from high blood pressure. Patients fortunate enough to have lost the weight, and subsequently have plastic surgery to improve their shape and tone, are generally thrilled with the results.

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