Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
Startling story from the New York Daily News:
A cosmetic surgeon was charged Thursday with causing a former model’s death by liposuction.
Oleg Davie, 51, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges for operating on Isel Pineda in May of last year — even though she’d previously had a heart transplant and was on anti-rejection medication.
Pineda, 51, who was described by ex-husband Jeffrey Mayer as a “beautiful, stunning” person, suffered from heart disease and underwent heart transplant surgery in 2004. The procedure was performed by TV’S famed Dr. Mehmet Oz.
But before heading off on a planned vacation last year, Pineda felt unhappy with her appearance and decided she wanted to have liposuction done on her thighs. Davie agreed to perform the procedure, even though her cardiologist noted she had “no discernible body fat” when he examined her earlier that year, said Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.
Pineda collapsed in Davies’ office after the outpatient procedure, and was rushed to Coney Island Hospital, where she was pronounced dead from a heart attack just hours after the procedure.
“Doctors are well aware of the fact that they are discouraged from performing liposuction and similar procedures on patients with heart disease,” said Hynes, noting that Davie didn’t even bother to reach out to Pineda’s cardiologist. “It is shameful that a medical professional would disregard his patient’s safety, putting her in serious danger.”
Davie, who faces up to 34 years in prison if convicted, was released on a $175,000 bail. He declined comment after his arraignment. He surrendered his medical license after the incident last year.
Until the government enacts laws prohibiting doctors from performing procedures outside of their formal residency and fellowship training, these types of stories will continue to occur and people will continue to suffer at the hands of docs who’re masquerading as real plastic surgeons. This doctor hasn’t been convicted yet, so the charges are still alleged, but horror stories are happening everywhere. If you are thinking about plastic surgery, do your homework!
For my article on How To Choose A Plastic Surgeon, click here.
Thursday, February 7th, 2013
The “Katie” show recently aired an episode that focused on black market and botched plastic surgery. She interviewed a woman who lost both arms and both butt cheeks after illegal silicone injections into her buttocks, a son and daughter whose mother died at the hands of a family doc performing liposuction, and a woman who was permanently scarred by permanent filler injections under her eyes. Here are the two segments that featured yours truly. I discuss what happened to my patient and give pointers on how to avoid becoming a victim of doctors masquerading as plastic surgeons.
To view the rest of the episode, click HERE to go to the “Katie” site.
Thursday, July 26th, 2012
Recently, a young woman named Martha decided to undergo a breast augmentation. She researched
doctors and found one whom she felt was well-qualified. Ads in magazines touted him as board-certified and a top plastic surgeon in the area. Martha met him in consultation and underwent the procedure in his office several weeks later. At home that night she discovered a shocking sight.
Her breast implants were lodged in her armpits.
The next morning she rushed back to her doctor’s office. He inspected her chest and, with a quizzical look on his face declared, “I have never seen this before.”
Martha decided to seek another opinion. Several days later she consulted with a different surgeon. He examined her and explained that the previous physician had botched the procedure. She would need extensive surgery to correct it. As if this wasn’t bad enough, he also informed her that her doctor wasn’t what he claimed to be.
Sure, he was board-certified. But not in plastic surgery.
Her “plastic surgeon” was actually an eye doctor.
Stories like Martha’s are becoming more and more common across the United States. Plastic surgery has become the Wild West of
medicine, with an increasing number of doctors performing invasive cosmetic procedures without proper training or credentials.
In my Metro Detroit practice alone, I’ve been horrified by dozens of plastic surgery nightmares and botched jobs. One of my patients, a beautiful 25 year old woman, was left with massive dents and shark bite-sized divots all over her
thighs and stomach after undergoing laser liposuction by a family medicine doctor. A local ENT (Ear Nose Throat)
physician took $12,000 from a young hairdresser for two unnecessary operations: insertion of watermelon-sized breast implants and liposuction to her abdomen. The implants were eventually removed, and the liposuction left her tummy a rippled, lumpy mess.
Why does this happen?
For the rest of the article, click HERE.
Thursday, March 8th, 2012
I recently wrote an Op-Ed piece for the Business Insider that has gotten a good amount of attention. Here it is:
If you need heart surgery, you call a cardiologist. If you need an eye exam, you visit an ophthalmologist.
Simple enough. But would you go to an ER doc for liposuction? How about letting your gynecologist perform your breast augmentation?
Today, patients have more options than ever when choosing a doctor to perform both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, since a growing number of non-specialists are looking for ways to cash in on one of the few areas of medicine that continues to see steady growth.
According to new numbers from the International Master Course on Aging Skin (IMCAS), the worldwide cosmetic industry grew 10.1 percent from 2010 to 2011 to between $4.1 to $4.9 billion. Experts expect this number to grow another 11.12 percent in 2012. This growth is especially important at a time when health care spending declined at a near record rate in 2010, as Americans continue to struggle with unemployment, higher insurance bills and lack of disposable income.
So what exactly does it take for an ER doc to expand his business to include liposuction? Or for a gynecologist to offer breast augmentation to patients? If you guessed years of classes, training, and certifications, you’d be wrong. Despite the complexities and complications associated with these procedures, it is shockingly easy to break into the field. Today, there are very few rules. This has led to a lot of doctors offering services they simply aren’t qualified to perform.
Untrained doctors are only part of the problem. It has become common practice in our society to treat cosmetic surgery in a dangerously casual manner. When liposuction is offered on a daily deals site alongside a haircut and a manicure, it’s easy to see why so many take plastic surgery too casually. These misconceptions can increase the risk of serious complications.
Plastic surgery has taken a beating in the media in recent months, from the European breast implant scandal to the scary number of ‘plastic surgery gone bad’ stories. You don’t have to look too hard to see a connection between untrained professionals performing cosmetic surgery to the number of botched procedures. Surveys reveal that reputable plastic surgeons across the United States are seeing an increase in “redos” for dissatisfied patients.
We must remember that these are real surgeries that carry real risks. A Miami woman died last year after suffering complications following a routine outpatient liposuction treatment, and another went into cardiac arrest as a result of the procedure. And how can we forget the woman who died in November after having cement, super glue and tire sealant injected into her buttocks?
The sad reality is that the current plastic surgery climate is quickly becoming the ‘Wild West’ of medicine. And patients beware: there is no sheriff in town to prevent doctors from doing what they shouldn’t. Because, believe it or not, there are no laws that prohibit doctors from practicing outside their field of training.
So how do you choose a plastic surgeon?
Ask around to determine your doctor’s word-of-mouth. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your consultation and closely examine the surgeon’s before and after photos. The time a doctor spends with you in a consultation is often directly proportional to the time he or she will take to do your surgery. If the doctor is rushed, overly eager, or pressures you to have procedures you don’t want, consider another doctor.
Proper board certification is the final and most important key. Make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Just being “board-certified” isn’t enough. Your doctor could be board-certified in a completely unrelated area of medicine.
You wouldn’t visit my office if you had a toothache, or a stomachache, and if you did, I’d refer you to someone who was properly trained to address your problem. The same discretion should be used when seeking a plastic surgeon.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-perils-of-budget-plastic-surgery-2012-3#ixzz1o1BvkRq8
Friday, September 30th, 2011
Here is Part Two of last week’s USA Today expose on the current state of plastic surgery. It focuses on the recent explosion of bargain-basement cosmetic surgery centers. These centers are like the fast-food chains of plastic surgery. You may get it cheap, but you get what you pay for.
You can read the article here.
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
USA Today recently printed a fantastic series of articles on the current epidemic of phony plastic surgeons performing botched procedures on patients. It’s like the Wild West out there, folks. There are dentists performing facelifts, ENT’s performing breast augmentation, and ER docs performing tummy tucks. The USA Today articles are a breath of fresh air for real plastic surgeons, a call-to-action for legislators, and a must-read for anyone considering having plastic surgery. Some main points:
1. Any doctor with a license to practice medicine can perform any procedure a patient wants done. Many non-plastic-surgeons have decided to go into areas in which there’s limited oversight, more money and little, if any, interference from insurers because elective cosmetic surgery typically isn’t covered.
2. “Boards are assembled so you can say you are board-certified,” says Randy Miller, a plastic surgeon who heads the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons. “No one is pretending to be a heart surgeon, no one is pretending to be a pediatrician, but everyone’s pretending to be a plastic surgeon.”
3. Pitches by cosmetic surgeons who aren’t board-certified in the field sometimes tout low prices and say the procedures are safe and easy to bounce back from, a review of advertising and websites shows… Costs are reduced, in part, when patients are put under local anesthesia rather than intravenous (IV) sedation or general anesthesia. Expenses are much lower when there is no anesthesiologist, hospital or accredited surgical facility. It may be presented as a way to save money, but sometimes it’s the doctors’ only option because their lack of training makes them ineligible to practice in accredited facilities.
4. Being certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is NOT the same as being certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. There is a BIG difference. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only plastic surgery board member of the American Board of Medical Specialties, the gold-standard in doctor certifying boards (like the American Board of Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Surgery, etc.).
You can read the article here. More to come!
Saturday, August 29th, 2009
Terrible story coming out of Las Vegas. A woman won a free breast augmentation by the doctor of a medspa, the Skin Body Institute. She had the surgery performed under local anesthesia, but then sufferred horrible complications. Some details from ABC 13:
- She was awake for the whole procedure, and was crying the entire time. The doctor reprimanded her for complaining during the painful procedure.
- Just weeks later the implant became infected and was exposed through the skin.
- She subsequently underwent 10 hours of surgery under local anesthetic to try to fix the problem.
- Two weeks later she presented to the ER with ruptured and exposed implants.
- The doctor had made ten centimeter incisions (mine are typically 3 cm for saline, 4 cm for silicone).
- The doctor’s website had stated he was board-certified.
- He was not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, but by the Family Practice board.
- Still, his website listed him as an associate member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, American Society of Liposuction Surgery, and the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery.
-His license has been suspended.
This is another terrible incident where the patient didn’t do her homework and was the victim of a phony plastic surgeon. This unfortunately happens more often than most people realize. Always choose a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. As you can see above, a doctor in a bunch of other societies isn’t the same.
Thanks for reading.
Michigan-based Plastic Surgeon
Anthony Youn, M.D.
Sunday, May 31st, 2009
The Times Publication has an outstanding article chronicling the story of Dr. Peter Normann, an Arizona-based Internal Medicine and Emergency Room specialist who masqueraded as a plastic surgeon. In a span of seven months three unsuspecting patients died under his care. The article highlights the unfortunate and shocking stores of several of his victims. It’s a fascinating read. From the article:
While the cosmetic horror stories described by the patients of Peter Normann represent some of the most egregious in the state’s history, research shows they are part of a larger and growing danger of ill-equipped and inadequately trained plastic surgeons performing invasive cosmetic procedures.Normann, an emergency room and internal medical physician, was never certified as a plastic surgeon. In other cases, some Valley physicians certified to practice as gynecologists or even ear, nose and throat doctors have been found to be practicing cosmetic surgery, many with little more experience than a weekend training course.
The results are patients being left scarred, disfigured, and in three of Peter Normann’s cases, dead.
In response to the growing number of phony plastic surgeons, the Arizona Medical Board released a Guide to Choosing a Cosmetic Surgeon. You can find it here.
Even here in Metro Detroit there are numerous physicians who are performing plastic surgery with little more than a weekend course’s training. If you are thinking of having plastic surgery, make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. All members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, so this is a good place to find a plastic surgeon for you.
Thanks for reading.
Michigan-based Plastic Surgeon
Anthony Youn, M.D.
Saturday, April 4th, 2009
Recently there have been several articles detailing bad events that have occurred at the hands of people who aren’t board-certified plastic surgeons. Here are a sampling:
1. A family practice physician who considers himself a specialist in cosmetic surgery and advertises as a plastic surgeon was recently reprimanded by the State Board of Medicine for prescription fraud. He wrote prescriptions for patients and family members, using them to obtain drugs “for his own personal and unauthorized use.” Click here for the story.
2. A Bronx mother dies after undergoing silicone injections by a “non-medical, unlicensed person.” Click here for story.
3. A Head and Neck surgeon is accused of performing liposuction without a patient’s consent. She had planned on having a tummy tuck only, but accuses him of performing a facelift and liposuction too. Click here for story.
The American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons holds its members to strict ethical guidelines which many other “cosmetic”-type societies do not. It’s not surprising, then, that most of the crazy plastic surgery-related news comes from physicians who are not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Here are two well-written articles by laypeople who focus on the difference between a “Plastic surgeon” and “Cosmetic surgeon.”
On my website I’ve written “How to Choose a Plastic Surgeon.” Click here for it.
It’s not enough for your “cosmetic surgeon” to have just stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night!
Thanks for reading.
Wednesday, February 28th, 2007
I’ve received numerous emails asking me how a prospective patient should choose a plastic surgeon. Unfortunately, with medical insurance reimbursements declining, many physicians are attempting to become “plastic surgeons” in order to make more money. This can be anyone from your family doctor to your ER physician to even your dentist. There is no law against a person calling themselves a plastic surgeon or even advertising themselves as that in the paper or yellow pages. Heck, I can put an ad out that says I’m the world’s best cardiologist, and if I could convince you to let me perform angioplasty on you then there is no law against it!
My first advice to a patient is to go to the website: http://www.plasticsurgery.org and find surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery in your area. This website lists nearly every board-certified plastic surgeon in the U.S.
Second, make sure that the board-certified plastic surgeon you select is proficient in the surgery you are interested in having. Plastic surgeons are trained in a wide array of plastic surgery, including hand, reconstructive, and cosmetic surgery. Just because I was fully trained in hand surgery doesn’t mean you want me reattaching your thumb!
Third, meet with the surgeon(s) to make sure you are comfortable with him or her. There is no better indication of how your surgical experience will be than the face-to-face consultation with the surgeon. If you don’t meet the surgeon during the consultation or it is very rushed, it is an indication that the surgeon may also rush your surgery and may not take care of you afterwards.
Finally, there is a difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon. The field of plastic surgery is very difficult to enter, as the residency positions are extremely competitive to obtain and consist of at least five years of rigorous training with at least two of those years dedicated to plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgeons, on the other hand, can be trained in one of many fields, including ENT, general surgery, OB-Gyn, and dermatology. Often, these practitioners can abruptly change their medical practice to become a cosmetic surgeon with as little as one year of cosmetic surgery training. I once had the family physician of a patient of mine try to convince her to cancel her facelift with me so that the family doc could perform the facelift herself! Crazy!
Now, there are some outstanding cosmetic surgeons out there, don’t get me wrong. I often send difficult eyelid reconstructions to oculoplastic colleagues of mine, who would do a much better job than I. Just do your homework and make sure that your surgeon has the training to do the surgery you want. Although he or she may perform a fantastic rhinoplasty, it may not be wise to let a facial plastic surgeon (an ENT with additional training in plastic surgery of the face) perform your breast augmentation. This happens more often than you may think (especially here in metro Detroit).
Good luck and feel free to comment.
Thanks for reading.
Michigan-based Plastic Surgeon
Anthony Youn, M.D.