Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The term addiction has become applicable to numerous habits and vices these days. Sex addiction, Internet addiction, plastic surgery addiction. But how can you define addiction when applied to a behavior that in moderation is acceptable, even encouraged? As Marcel Daniels, MD, a Long Beach, Calif-based board-certified plastic surgeon, says, “Calling any repetitive behavior an ‘addiction’ has become fashionable. Notice how we suddenly have all these sexual addicts when previously it was merely felt to be an expression of Darwinian behavior.” Sex, as opposed to, say, heroin, is a normal, healthy practice—in fact, if you’re not having sex, people tend to think there’s something amok. So, when is someone addicted to sex? The same goes for the Internet. The only people not spending many, many hours on the Internet in our society are considered backwards. How much is too much?

This question is particularly apropos when considering plastic surgery. Daniels says, “The subject of addiction in and of itself and with regards to plastic surgery is controversial.”
With celebrities like Heidi Montag, Joan Rivers, Cher, and Jocelyn Wildenstein making headlines by eliminating fine lines and wrinkles (and maybe getting a breast augmentation, some lipo…and some other nips and tucks), it’s easy to believe that Botox and boob jobs have some seriously addictive properties. After all, why else would an already attractive person like Montag go through so much to change herself into some kind of distorted Barbie? Then again, what if Heidi were totally happy with her new self? Would the media and her family be so quick to condemn her surgical alterations if she herself weren’t so clearly dissatisfied? Can you classify a habit as an addiction if it genuinely results in self-improvement? Take, for instance, someone like Cher. She’s had some plastic surgery, which nobody can deny. But, she still looks pretty darn good for her age, and nobody’s really calling her an addict. Maybe part of what makes Montag "an addict" is that she’s young and she had so many procedures in such a short time. But why does age have an impact on addiction? And for that matter, why does someone who crams all their doses into one day have any more of a problem that somebody who has the same amount of surgery over a span of years? Shervin Naderi, MD, a Washington, DC-area facial plastic surgeon, suggests, “There is no ‘number’ that signifies a threshold for becoming addicted to plastic surgery. A person who has never had a single procedure but constantly obsesses about his or her face and is constantly on chat rooms and spends an excessive amount of daily time thinking about his or her face is more concerning than the person who has had four successful cosmetic surgeries with nice and natural results.”

With this in mind, it would seem that the psychological concerns associated with plastic surgery are not so much its potential addictiveness, but rather insecurities with body image that go far below the surface. Excessive amounts of plastic surgery might just be a manifestation of a mental disease such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder. In this case, it seems that the procedures themselves have no addictive quality. (by Chelsea Mize).

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Forget "Bridalplasty." The real money is in "surgical vengeance."

The reality show in which women compete for pre-wedding cosmetic surgery may be getting all the attention, but doctors who ply their trade sculpting bodies and faces know that just as many - if not more - of the patients walking through their doors are motivated not by a new union but a marital breakup.

"There are a lot of women who come in either pre- or post-divorce who are looking to make themselves feel a little bit better," says Michael D. Cohen, medical director of the Cosmetic Surgery Center of Maryland. The whole story might not come out at the beginning, he says, but once he gets to know a patient, he often starts to hear details of a split.

Two weeks ago he did a tummy tuck and eyelid lift on a woman just out of an 37-year marriage, followed by breast augmentation for a woman in her 20s who found out her husband had cheated on her. "She suggested to the people preparing her for surgery that it was sort of payback," he said.

Hence the nickname the procedures have gained: "vengeance plastic surgery." And it's not just women; it is estimated that 30 percent of the patients are men.  
(Washington Post; 12-12-10)

Saturday, December 4, 2010


■Teenagers seek plastic surgery to fit in, experts say

Teenagers between 13 and 19 years old underwent some 210,000 cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures in 2009, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Many received rhinoplasty to reshape their noses, while others sought breast enlargement or other procedures in an effort to improve low self-esteem and help them fit in more with their peers, experts said. ABC News/Nightline (11/24


■Stem cell-based spray holds promise for healing wounds

Physicians at the University of Utah have combined thrombin and calcium with platelets and progenitor cells derived from patients to develop a topical spray designed to heal wounds and burns. The treatment, which takes about 15 minutes to apply, is being tested by university researchers in patients with burns and chronic wounds. The Deseret News (Salt Lake City) (11/26)


■Poll: Emergency departments lack enough on-call specialists

More than 75% of emergency departments do not have enough specialists on call for plastic surgery, hand surgery and neurosurgery, a poll found. "Without adequate on-call surgical coverage, our health care system cannot provide for emergency and trauma patients," the study's lead author said. HealthDay News (11/29)

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Beliefs & Attitudes Influence Cancer Outcomes

Cancer is a very threatening disease. The outcome can be a cure, a temporary remission or death. Neither one is really predictable. We see disseminated cancers go into prolonged remissions and apparently more benign ones taking a disappointing course. What has puzzled doctors for a long time is this: why do we often see two similar patients with the same degree of disease and receiving the same treatment, experience totally different outcomes? One will die within a short time while the other will live for years or decades.

This question troubled a radiation oncologist in the early 1970's. His mane was Dr. Carl Simonton, MD. He did his research at the University of Texas and came to realize a few things. Patients who had a strong will and a strong motivation to live usually outlived the ones who were discouraged and hopeless. I recommend you read his book: "Getting Well Again" for the whole story.

Based on this observation, Dr. Simonton designed an intervention program focused on changing the emotional attitudes of patients from hopelessness and depression to hopefulness and a heightened passion for living. The patients who did this work and modified their beliefs and attitudes lived twice as long as those who did not. This was the beginning of a revolution in cancer treatment.