Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
This is from my latest article from CNN.com that went viral. A lot of comments on this one, mainly from people who disagree with some of the things I wrote!
A young man in his 20s — let’s call him George — sits across from me in the exam room.
“Dr. Youn,” he says, “I have man boobs.”
I notice a not-so-unfamiliar smell wafting from his body. It’s the same odor that floated my way during a rock concert I recently attended.
“How long have you had a problem with this, George?”
“Hard to say. But it seems to have gotten worse over the past year or so.”
“George, the first thing you need to do is stop smoking pot. Marijuana could be causing your man boobs.”
Gynecomastia, otherwise known as man boobs (or moobs for short), is a condition that affects approximately 33% to 41% of men between the ages of 25 and 45. It’s even more common during puberty, affecting 60% of 14-year-old boys. Interestingly, it also affects 55% to 60% of men aged 50 and older.
Although most cases of gynecomastia resolve spontaneously within a few months to a few years, in 2012 nearly 23,000 people underwent surgery to correct the condition. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), it was the fifth-most common cosmetic surgery in men.
Gynecomastia is caused by a hormone imbalance between testosterone and estrogen. When the ratio between testosterone and estrogen tips in favor of estrogen, the body responds by creating excessive breast tissue. Hence, man boobs.
Animal studies have shown that exposure to the active ingredient in marijuana can result in a decrease in testosterone levels, a reduction of testicular size, and abnormalities in the form and function of sperm.
In humans, the effects of marijuana on testosterone and estrogen levels aren’t as clear. Lower testosterone levels have been reported in chronic marijuana users compared to nonusers, but not all studies support this.
To read the rest of the article, visit the page on CNN.com HERE!
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
Horns. Forked tongues. Elf ears. Whiskers.
No, these aren’t features from the latest fantasy film. Today, thousands of people are getting their bodies modified in all sorts of bizarre and unusual ways. Tattoos are just the tip of the iceberg for people interested in body modification, referred to as “body mutilation” by detractors.
People called “body modification artists” perform these unconventional surgical procedures, typically on young clients. These treatments range from the simple, such as implanting metal bolts on a person’s neck, to the extreme, such as creating ridges under a person’s skin in order to make him look like a human lizard.
Hard to believe? The website Body Modification Ezine has more than 3 million photos of people who’ve undergone these various types of body modification.
And it’s not just in the United States. Other industrialized countries are seeing the body modification trend expand with new, and increasingly bizarre, treatments. In Japan, young people are plumping up their forehead by injecting large amounts of saline, then pressing their thumb into the middle to create an indentation. This leaves a temporary doughnut-like appearance, dubbed the “Bagel Head.”
To read the rest of the article, visit CNN.com HERE.
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
Here is my latest article on CNN.com. It’s inspired by a recent local story about a hematologist who allegedly misdiagnosed patients with cancer so he could charge for their chemotherapy.
Most of us assume that our doctors are trustworthy. They undergo a minimum of seven years of postgraduate schooling, pass rigorous tests and are responsible for our health and the health of our families.
But are they as trustworthy as we think?
A Michigan oncologist was arrested recently for allegedly running a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud Medicare. He’s accused of administering chemotherapy to patients with no real chance of survival and misdiagnosing patients in order to charge for their expensive treatments.
And earlier this month an Ohio spine surgeon was indicted on charges that he persuaded patients to undergo millions of dollars worth of treatments that they didn’t need. Among the things he allegedly told patients was that their heads would fall off without his operation.
While these egregious stories are truly shocking and uncommon, there are unfortunately many less dramatic examples of untrustworthy doctors that don’t make big news. My field of cosmetic plastic surgery has its share of doctors who don’t necessarily place their patients’ best interests first. I encounter these patients’ subsequent problems nearly every week.
Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
My latest article on CNN.com has generated a lot of discussion. I’d like to hear what you think!
“Dr. Youn, my daughter is so ugly.”
A Korean mother in her fifties sits before me in the exam room, her teenage daughter next to her. “You need to fix her ugly nose, open up her eyes and give her a double fold of her eyelids.”
“Okay,” I look at her daughter. “Jane, what do you think? Is this something you want?”
Jane stares at the floor, unmoving. Then she speaks, eyes still looking downwards.
“I guess. Whatever my mom says.”
Plastic surgery is hot in Asia. According to the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), one in five Korean women between the ages of 19-49 have undergone cosmetic surgery. This is compared to one in twenty in the United States. Although the United States and Brazil are the top two countries in sheer number of plastic surgeries performed, China and
Japan are currently ranked number three and four. Tiny South Korea is ranked number seven.
Asian culture has embraced cosmetic surgery. Unlike in the United States, it’s no longer considered taboo to admit to having been nipped and tucked, even among celebrities. Miss South Korea 2012 confessed to having gone under the knife, revealing, “I never said I was born beautiful.”
Interestingly, I find that the older generation often pushes younger people to have work done. Like Jane’s mom, I’ve met several Korean parents in their fifties and older who have no qualms about encouraging their children to undergo plastic surgery. They even poke and prod at their kids’ faces to suggest how a surgeon should improve their looks.
To read the rest of the article, please click HERE. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this controversial topic!
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
This is from an article I wrote for CNN.com that just posted today. Hope you enjoy it:
“Dr. Youn, I want the works.”
Carol, an attractive Caucasian woman in her mid-forties, sat across from me in the consultation room. Her eyes stared into mine, unwavering.
“What do you mean by ‘the works?’”
“I want to enlarge my breasts, flatten my tummy, lift my neck, and skinny my thighs. Oh, and I want my eyes to tilt like Megan Fox’s, and I want you to plump my lips like Angelina Jolie’s.” She puckered and smacked her lips.
“Carol, that’s a lot of plastic surgery. Are you sure you need all this? Why do you want to have so much done?”
She paused. Her face flushed a bright shade of crimson red.
“Because,” she seethed, “My husband left me for a younger woman.
“And I want revenge.”
Revenge plastic surgery is becoming more and more common. A survey by the Transform Plastic Surgery Group in the United Kingdom found that over a quarter (26%) of their patients were recently divorced women. Eleven percent of their patients were newly single men.
Even Hollywood is getting involved in revenge surgery. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Brandi Glanville recently revealed in her book, Drinking and Tweeting and Other Brandi Blunders, that she spent $12,000 to undergo rejuvenation of her private parts after breaking up with her then-husband Eddie Cibrian. She even paid for it with his credit card.
To read the rest of my article, click HERE to go to CNN.com
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
I recently wrote an article for CNN.com about tattoos that has gotten a lot of views and comments (over 2000 of them!) If you haven’t read it yet, here is the first part:
A few years ago I interviewed a handyman to do some work on my house. I noticed a teardrop tattoo at the top of his left cheek. Prior to hiring him, I searched online for what this design signified. My mouth dropped when I found out.
A teardrop tattoo can mean he murdered someone.
So I hired someone else.
Plastic surgeons and dermatologists are seeing more and more people who want their tattoos removed, often because they worry that the
tattoos could cause problems with employment. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the number of people undergoing laser tattoo removal increased 43% from 2011 to 2012. This is consistent with a recent survey from the United Kingdom which found that nearly one-third of people suffer from tattoo regret.
Several years ago elaborate designs on the lower back became all the tattoo rage, until someone began calling them “tramp stamps.” Now I suspect that thousands of women (and maybe even a few unfortunate men) regret getting them. Other tattoo fads which have come and gone
include the barbed wire around men’s arms and the Chinese letters which may, or may not, mean what you think they do.
And it’s not just the common folk who regret their tattoos. Several celebrities have taken steps to have their tattoos removed. Johnny Depp committed the most common tattoo faux paux: he inked then-girlfriend Winona Ryder’s name on his shoulder. A short time later they broke up, prompting Depp to morph “Winona Forever” into “Wino Forever.” Megan Fox recently underwent laser treatments to remove the massive Marilyn Monroe tattoo on her arm. And some celebs have even embarrassingly misspelled their tattoos. Actress Hayden Panettiere misspelled the Italian phrase “Vivere senza rimpianti,” adding an extra “i” where it didn’t belong.
To read the rest of the article, click HERE to go to CNN.com
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
From my latest article on CNN.com:
(CNN) — For the first time in six years, the number of people enhancing their breasts and plumping their buttocks is declining. The number of people lifting, injecting and lasering their faces is growing.
So who’s powering this sudden growth in facial plastic surgery? Baby boomers.
Every year, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons releases its statistics about the number of plastic surgeries performed the year before. It’s an accurate snapshot of the state of plastic surgery in the United States.
2012 saw a record number of people undergoing cosmetic procedures, with more than 14.6 million procedures performed in total, an increase of 5% over the year before. The number of actual surgeries performed dropped 2%, but this was more than offset by a 6% rise in minimally invasive cosmetic treatments.
Breast augmentation remained the number one cosmetic surgery, a position it’s held since the FDA ended the silicone gel implant moratorium in 2006. However, in 2012, the number of women undergoing this procedure declined 7% from the year before, with just over 286,000 breast enhancements performed.
Buttocks augmentation was one of the fastest-growing procedures of the past decade, due in no small part to public fascination with the ample derrieres of celebs Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian. The number of people undergoing buttock enhancement also declined in 2012, down 36% from the year before, to just under 3,800 procedures.
Our nation appears to be shifting its emphasis from the inflated busts and rounded behinds of Generation X and Y to the plumped cheeks and lifted necks of baby boomers. In other words, the Real Housewives are not only keeping up with the Kardashians, they’re surpassing them.
To read the rest of the article, click HERE to go to CNN.com.
Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
My latest CNN.com article:
I listen to Lady Gaga in the operating room.
Except when I do a facelift.
Contrary to popular belief, the operating room is not a quiet, intense place where all you hear is the beeping of the anesthesia machine and an occasional grunt from the surgeon. Most ORs are filled with music – classical, country, pop, rock, heavy metal, even hard-core gangster rap.