Wednesday, March 21, 2012


New research published in the online journal PLoS ONE suggests that eating just extra one portion of fruit or vegetables per day can result in healthier and rosier-looking skin. And the more fruits and veggies you eat, the rosier your skin tone.
The study included data from 35 college students at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland who completed questionnaires on how often they ate certain foods. On average, students consumed 3.5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Scientists also measured each person's skin tone at seven body locations at the beginning of the study as well as at 3 and 6 weeks out. All study participants were Caucasian. After 6 weeks, there were noticeable increases in skin redness and yellowness in people who ate more fruit and vegetables, the study showed. Exactly what is responsible for the change is not known, but study authors suspect it is the carotenoids. Researchers don’t know if the finding would hold among people who have other skin types and/or among older individuals.
“Increased fruit and vegetable consumption confers measurable and perceptibly beneficial effects on Caucasian skin appearance within 6 weeks,” the researchers conclude. “This effect could potentially be used as a motivational tool in dietary intervention."


Millions of Americans routinely take herbal products, homeopathic medicines, and dietary supplements, but these so-called “natural” products may increase risk of bleeding during and after surgery.
Risky herbs and supplements include:

■Chinese peony
■Oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate)
■Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens, Salbalserrulata)

These supplements, as well as aspirin containing products, fish oil, anti-inflammatory medications and high dose Vitamin E should be stopped 3 weeks before and 3 weeks after surgery.


A federal court judge in California has ruled that Merz Aesthetics violated the state's Uniform Trade Secrets Act by using proprietary information including marketing plans, sales projections and customer information belonging to Allergan, Inc.The injunction, handed down March 9 by Andrew Guilford, U.S. District Court judge for the Central District of California, bars Merz from selling or soliciting to sell the injectable Xeomin® for 10 months. Guilford wrote that the injunction was partially in response to Merz's improper use of Allergan's plans "to address competition" from Merz.
Merz reportedly was preparing to unveil Xeomin, a toxin similar to Botox, at an upcoming meeting of a national medical society. Merz CEO William Humphries is quick to note the California ruling is about business practices - not pharmaceuticals or any processes within.
The Wall Street Journal reported on March 12 that Merz, which began selling Xeomin for cosmetic use in the United States last November, had gained an 8 percent share of the domestic market for botulinum toxins by December.


Enaltus Chief Operating Officer, Zubin Meshginpoosh, says “BioCorneum HC was developed to provide physicians and their patients another option in scar management for those patients that experience redness and itchiness that can occur with excess inflammation during the healing process.”

New topical steroid cream offers options
“It’s well documented that the use of steroid injections can help with hypertrophic or keloid scars” according to William P Adams Jr MD. Adams says, “While products such as a topical silicone with steroid are a good option for problem scars, they should not be used for first line scar therapy. Generally, topical silicone sheeting or silicone gel, minimizing tension, pressure and sun avoidance are the proven first line therapies. If scars appear not to be progressing, this is where limited topical silicone gel with steroid could be used.”
Most scars will heal with the usual treatment and wound care which includes giving the scar time to heal, keeping the scar out of the sun, and keeping it well hydrated and clean. Other people, mostly due to genetics, can form wide or raised scars.
Genetics play an important role in how your scars heal
Board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Dan Del Vecchio says, “One of the biggest problems with wound healing in cosmetic surgery isn’t the incision and the way the wound is closed,” he says, “the real variability in wound healing is the way the patient heals.”
Dr. Brett Snyder, a board certified plastic surgeon says, “Some people will know in the first 6 to 8 weeks if their scar isn’t doing well.” He says, “If you’re going along in your recovery and something doesn’t seem right about the scar, by all means call your plastic surgeon.”
According to experts, everybody has a different healing time and response when it comes to healing of scars. Board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Lee Thornton says, the science of topical steroid is less proven than injectable, but many patients would rather try a topical cream with a steroid first, before moving forward to injections. Thornton says, “If you began to have problem scarring, you might move to a topical steroid and if that doesn’t take care of it, you might use injectable steroids as well.”
By Carolynn Grimes

Monday, March 12, 2012



Vitamin A Supplements Cut Melanoma Risk

Retinol supplements may help stave off melanoma, according to a new study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
Researchers out of Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif, analyzed melanoma risk among 69,635 study participants with an average age of 62. After about 5 years of follow-up, 566 people developed melanoma. Those participants who took vitamin A via supplements were about 40% less likely to develop melanoma than those who did not. Only supplements lowered melanoma risk, not vitamin A found in foods. This protection was greater in body parts that were exposed to the sun.
Participants benefited when they consumed more vitamin A than would be found in a standard multivitamin. The study authors caution that is way too early to recommend that people take higher doses of vitamin A in the hopes of reducing their melanoma risk.
[Source: Journal of Investigative Dermatology]

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Philadelphia police on Wednesday arrested Padge Victoria Windslowe, aka the ”Black Madam,” who allegedly administered illegal “butt-boosting” injections, which may have caused the death of a 20-year-old British woman last year.Windslowe, 42, a transgender who identifies as a woman, was taken into custody at 7:30 p.m. at a home that was hosting a “pumping party,” a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department told ABC News. Police obtained an arrest warrant for Windslowe after a 23-year-old woman was admitted to a Philadelphia-area hospital after the substance Windslowe allegedly injected into her buttocks got into her bloodstream and into her lungs. The young woman had paid $1,000 for an injection of what she believed to be silicone, the police spokesperson said. Lt. John Walker, of the Philadelphia Police Department, told the Philadelphia Daily News that the woman was treated and released but would need further medical treatment. Police have suspected that Windslowe was the person who gave an injection to Claudia Aderotimi, the 20-year-old who died in February 2011 in a Philadelphia hotel room, but she was not charged because police were awaiting toxicology test results for the cause of Aderotimi’s death. At the time of her arrest Wednesday, Windslowe had needles, Super Glue, cotton balls, paper towels and a pink bag with a 20-ouce water bottle containing what police believe was the substance she would have injected into others at the party. Walker said five other people were in the house at the time, but no injections had been administered. Windslowe was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, deceptive practice and related offenses. Her bail is set for $10 million.

The arrest is the latest in a string of cases in which people have paid for illegal cosmetic injections, some of which have had deadly consequences. “Plastic surgeons in the U.S. are seeing an increasing number of disastrous complications when patients see someone who is not appropriately trained,” Dr. Malcolm Roth, president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, told ABC News at the time of Aderotimi’s death.

In November, Oneal Ron Morris was arrested in Florida for administering a series of “butt-boosting” injections made from a concoction of cement, glue and tire sealant.

In January 2011, Whalesca Castillo, an unlicensed practitioner in New York City, was arrested for running an illegal business out of her home injecting women with liquid silicone in the buttocks and breasts.

And in 2010, a Miami woman, Ana Josefa Sevilla, was charged with a similar crime after one of her clients ended up in the emergency room with complications.

Plastic surgeons continue to warn consumers about the dangers of getting cosmetic procedures in non-approved facilities and from non-certified practitioners. The notion of cutting costs for a typically expensive procedure may be tempting, but the results can be very dangerous.
“There are no shortcuts to safe outcomes,” Roth said.


Instead of going to a licensed medical practitioner for breast augmentation two weeks ago, a woman from Tyler, Texas, decided to go to Queen Divas Hair Salon and Spa instead. There, she was implanted with an unidentified substance by salon owner Carmel Foster, authorities told a local television station. The woman “became very ill — her chest was swollen, and she was complaining of a lot of pain.” She was admitted to a local hospital in critical condition.
Going under the knife is a pricey and painful decision, but thousands choose to undergo the procedures in search of that ideal body. But, the unsafe -— not to mention highly illegal -— choice to cut costs and go with a less reputable doctor or use an unlicensed person can be downright deadly.
“You’re having surgery electively,” explains Dr. Stephan Baker, a licensed plastic surgeon in Coral Gables, Fla., who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. “It makes all the sense in the world to check up on your surgeon.”
“You say to yourself, ‘What were some of these people thinking?’” he added.
The ABPS, the world’s largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons, warns that more patients than ever are getting injured or dying because they are choosing to undergo procedures with unqualified surgeons or people.
The Texas story is just one case in a string of recent horrifying plastic surgery nightmares, which includes one woman who injected rubber cement into her patients to give them butt implants. A Los Angeles woman was left with a “uniboob,” where both her breasts were connected by skin after a botched surgery.
Baker says he understands why people want the cheaper route, but with any discount a potential patient must wonder what they are giving up for the lower cost. “There is a misconception among consumers that as long as a doctor is certified in a medical field that he or she is qualified to practice plastic surgery. This is absolutely wrong and it is dangerous for patients,” said Malcolm Z. Roth, an M.D. and ASPS president.
However, some people will opt to travel to other countries or locations to get their surgery done for cheaper. Baker says while “medical tourism” doesn’t necessarily mean a death sentence, and different markets do have different prices, it is still very important to make sure that whoever is performing your procedure is licensed and the appropriate person to do your procedure. “To stay safe, you have to do your homework,” Baker said.
The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons said that cases of corrective surgery rose 38 percent over 2011, with the majority of the revisions due to medical tourism procedures — especially breast resizing. And 72 percent of surgeons said they had seen tourism surgery cases they couldn’t correct.
“You have to be suspicious, and you have to ask questions,” Baker said. “If it is too good to be true, it is too good to be true. Surgery is something you can’t return.”

How to find a good doctor
Baker says there are some simple checks that any person can do to make sure their surgeon is not only licensed to perform the procedure they want, but will know what to do if a complication arises.

Check what boards the surgeon is certified by and make sure the accreditation comes from a valid organization.

Look into if the person performing the procedure has a valid medical license. In the United States, you can always check with a state’s Board of Medicine to see if the doctor is licensed to practice in that state.

Ask about what kind of anesthesia the doctor gives patients, and who will administer the anesthesia. A licensed anesthesiologist should be on hand.

Read about the doctor’s reputation. If people are happy, chances are the new patent will be happy too. Look at before and after photos.

See if the person performing the procedure has privileges at any local hospitals. Because many plastic surgery operations take place in the doctor’s office, Baker says it is important to make sure that the doctor can have you treated right away just in case something goes wrong. Hospitals that give plastic surgeons privileges are vouching for the doctor.


Published: February 28, 2012 6:11 p.m.
Last modified: February 28, 2012 6:18 p.m.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Commodification of plastic surgery leads some to take risks
Cheap body-enhancing procedures promoted on the Internet have lured some customers to seek cosmetic surgery performed illegally by untrained, unlicensed practitioners at illicit shops. An American Society of Plastic Surgeons public safety campaign warns that just because someone offering cosmetic surgery is wearing a doctor's coat, it does not mean the person is qualified, trained or licensed to perform the procedure. "If anyone is going to stick anything into your body, you should ask a few questions," said plastic surgeon and ASPS spokesman Mark Solomon. "It's not a matter of what it costs. It should be a matter of who you trust." WHYY-TV/WHYY-FM (Philadelphia)/

In one of my previous blog posts, I have discussed advertising in plastic surgery, and give my opinions concerning problems with medical advertising.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved a silicone gel-filled breast implant manufactured by Sientra Inc. to increase breast size (augmentation) in women at least 22 years old and to rebuild breast tissue (reconstruction) in women of any age.
As a condition of approval, Sientra is required to conduct post-approval studies that will assess long-term safety and effectiveness outcomes as well as the risks of rare disease outcomes.
“The ability to offer our patients a wider variety of treatment options is good for everyone,” says ASPS President Malcolm Z. Roth, MD. “Innovation and patient safety drive our specialty, so we welcome the opportunity to provide yet another FDA-approved alternative for both breast augmentation and reconstruction patients.”
With today’s approval, there are now three FDA-approved silicone gel-filled breast implants in the United States; they are manufactured by Allergan, Mentor and Sientra.
“Data on these and other approved silicone gel-filled breast implants continue to demonstrate a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness,” says William Maisel, MD, MPH, deputy director for science in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
“It’s important to remember that breast implants are not lifetime devices,” Dr. Maisel adds. “Women should fully understand [the] risks associated with breast implants before considering augmentation or reconstruction surgery, and recognize that long-term monitoring is essential.”
The FDA based its Sientra approval on three years of clinical data from 1,788 participants. The complications and outcomes reflected those found in previous studies of other breast implants and included capsular contracture, re-operation, implant removal, an uneven appearance (asymmetry) and infection.
In June 2011, the FDA released a report that included preliminary safety data from post-approval studies from earlier breast implant approvals. The experience collecting and analyzing data from these studies informed the design and structure of post-approval studies for Sientra breast implants.
In addition to other post-approval conditions, Sientra will:
Continue to follow the 1,788 clinical trial participants in their pre-market study for an additional seven years;
Conduct a 10-year study of 4,782 women receiving Sientra silicone gel-filled breast implants to collect information on long-term local complications such as capsular contracture, as well as less common disease outcomes, such as rheumatoid arthritis and breast and lung cancer; and
Conduct five case-control studies that will evaluate the association between Sientra’s silicone gel-filled breast implants and five rare diseases: rare connective tissue disease, neurological disease, brain cancer, cervical/vulvar cancer, and lymphoma.
“The design of these post-approval studies will require Sientra to collect valuable safety information with adequate enrollment and follow-up,” says Dr. Maisel. “The FDA is committed to working with breast implant manufacturers to collect useful post-market data on long-term safety and effectiveness."

Saturday, March 3, 2012


When a nerve is injured, it's often hard to get it to regrow fast enough to restore function. But now researchers say they can speed up that process, so that damaged nerves can be healed in days instead of months — at least in rats. The scientists say they've developed a technique that reconnects the severed ends of a nerve, allowing it to begin carrying messages again very quickly. Usually, severed nerves must regrow from the point of injury — a process that can take months, if it ever happens. This might eventually help the more than 50,000 people a year in the U.S. who suffer nerve injuries that leave them unable to use a particular muscle or without feeling in part of their body. "It's exciting," says Wesley Thayer, a plastic surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a co-author of the study.
Thayer says these peripheral nerve injuries are caused by everything from car crashes to gunshot wounds. But he says many of them happen when somebody does something careless in the kitchen.
"Unfortunately, a lot of people with granite countertops will place their hand down hard on a wine glass and actually sever nerves in their hand or forearm just because the glass shatters on these very hard surfaces," he says. A slip while slicing a bagel can also cut a nerve. And nerves don't heal the way other body parts do, Thayer says. "What happens after a nerve is transected is that between the brain and the injury, the nerve mechanism stays alive, but [the tissue] beyond that, it actually dies," he says.
The nerve on the side connected to the brain usually starts to regenerate, but very slowly — only about 1 or 2 millimeters a day. That's bad news if you cut a nerve in your shoulder that controls, say, one of your fingers, Thayer says. "It will take, in an adult, over a year for that nerve to grow out and reach the hand," he says. "And over the course of that year, the muscle really develops a permanent atrophy and is no longer functional, even if the nerve reaches its target." And it may not. So for decades, scientists have been trying to find better ways to repair damaged or severed nerves. George Bittner of the University of Texas, Austin, has been studying the problem since he was a graduate student in the 1960s. He says a damaged nerve is a bit like a bridge with a missing section. "What you'd want to do is put some sort of patch in there and rejoin the two halves," he says. Bittner worked with Thayer and other researchers to come up with a multistep process that appears to do just that. First they expose the severed nerve. Then they use chemical compounds to reverse a process that normally seals the nerve ends shut. At that point, they draw the two nerve ends together with tiny sutures and apply more chemicals that cause the nerve ends to fuse. This work is reported in a study published online in the Journal of Neuroscience Research.
The technique can be done entirely with chemicals that are already approved for use in people, Bittner says. And it produced very good results in a study of rats that had their sciatic nerve cut, he says.
That nerve controls the entire leg, paw and toes, and without it rats are badly disabled. But rats treated with his technique got better as soon as they began to recover from the surgery, Bittner says.
"You'd be hard-pressed to know which rats after several weeks had their entire sciatic nerve cut and which had a sham operation, never had it cut," he says Bittner isn't the only one working on this technique. Researchers at Harvard are also involved. And Thayer at Vanderbilt hopes to try the approach on people within a year.Meanwhile, researchers at Purdue University have reported success fusing nerves a different way — using a substance made from the shells of crustaceans. he new technique may eventually have a broader application in people, Bittner says. "If you could get it to work on peripheral nerves, it might then be applied to spinal nerves," he says. Another person thinking that way is Doug English. He was a defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions back in the 1970s and '80s. "My football career was ended with a neck injury," English says. "I'm very fortunate it wasn't nearly as severe as so many of the neck injuries are." English is president of the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation in Austin, which has helped support Bittner's research. The foundation has just started funding efforts to use Bittner's technique on rats with spinal injuries.


Plastic surgeons are increasingly called on to help patients who have received cosmetic procedures, including breast augmentation, from practitioners who are not board-certified in plastic surgery. "There is a misconception among consumers that as long as a doctor is certified in a medical field that he or she is qualified to practice plastic surgery," said plastic surgeon Malcolm Z. Roth, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. "This is absolutely wrong, and it is dangerous for patients." Metro (New York) (2/28)