Tag Archive | plastic surgery



Dr. Joseph Rucker recently posted an interesting article about causes and cures for dark undereye circles,  explaining the multiple factors that can be responsible, including  heredity, hormone levels, sun exposure, stress, aging, a lack of sleep, and allergies. However, contrary to what you may think, dark circles cannot be remedied by  skin lighteners because the darkness is not caused by skin discoloration, but rather a shadowing of the skin.

To minimize the appearance of darkness around the eyes, he suggest the following methods:

  1. Using powerful peptides such as Enza Essential’s Eyebright Eye Gelee will cool and sooth the appearance of puffy bags while increasing cell turnover, leaving you with a more youthful, brighter appearance.
  2. Dermal fillers can be used in order to plump the area around and under your eyes which reduces the intensity of shadowing.
  3. Wearing sunscreen, particularly an SPF 30 or greater, will help to minimize unprotected sun exposure and the effects of aging from the sun.
  4. Applying ice or cucumbers directly on the dark circles at nighttime will soothe and minimize the dark circles caused by puffiness.
  5. Lastly, Dr. Rucker suggests certain energy driven radiofrequency treatments to the dermal tissue  to help tighten and brighten your face while also increasing collagen production that will work against the skin’s natural aging process.

His advice: “Although there is no way to completely prevent dark circles from appearing, there are multiple ways to reduce the shadowing.”

Read his full article.

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As obsessions go, this one has to be one of the most spine chilling known to man – someone who would voluntarily file their teeth, split their lip and undergo extensive facial surgery – to turn himself into a ‘human tiger’.

And so goes the story of Native American, Dennis Avner, age 50, whose totem was a tiger and went by the name, “Stalking Cat“. His face, altered to such an extreme that it no longer bore much resemblance to a human being, was as startling to the eyes as the most grotesque Halloween mask. With slanted cat eyes, bulging cheeks, teeth sawed and carved to feline perfection, he even had piercings inserted around his mouth to anchor his whisker in place. But he didn’t stop there. He had his body heavily tattooed with tiger stripes.

After a discussion with a Native chief who inspired him to ‘follow the ways of the tiger’, Avner began his face modifications in an effort to do just as his chief suggested.  And apparently in Native American tradition, it’s not that unusual to try to look like your spiritual inspiration. But I would guess that even Native Americans would say that Avner carried his spiritual quest too far, undergoing modification operations to include bifurcation (splitting) of his upper lip, surgical pointing of the ears, silicone cheek and forehead implants, tooth filing, body tattoos, and facial piercings.

There has been much speculation about the amount of money Dennis must have spent to transform his appearance to that of a wild feline. But here is one thing I haven’t read a word about: Who performed these various procedures – professionals, pseudo professionals or quacks? If the former, here is the question I pose to you: Should a surgeon use his skills to meet his patient’s desires, no matter how bizarre? Or do medical ethics call for this same surgeon to deny his patient access to his surgical skills for the very procedures this patient is requesting?

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Lois W. Stern


I have read some scary stuff about BOTOX in the past. I know enough about headlines to understand that those written to shock, alarm or titillate grab the most attention. Not usually so with headlines written to calm, soothe or reassure. They seem to draw little notice. Latest case in point: Botox Causes Brain Damage. Scary, right? True? Read on.

I discussed these BOTOX(R) headlines with Dr. Vic Navurkur, past president of the Americn Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery (ASCDAS), with an active aesthetic dermatologic practice in the Bay Area of San Francisco.

The media has taken this completely out of context! he exclaimed with some amusement. As a treatment for medical conditions, Botox is often administered in very high strengths and yes, some complications have been noted there. But these dosages are not comparable to those used in aesthetic treatments.

Scare tactics aside, if you are thinking about BOTOX treatments, here are three important questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is there anything in my health history that could recommend against it. (If you have any neurological disorder, first discuss possible complications  with your internist.)
  2. Am I bothered by facial wrinkles in areas that BOTOX could soften? (i.e. forehead, crows feet, neck cords, etc.)
  3. Can I afford this expense on an ongoing basis (every 3-5 months)

Tune in for Part 2 on Botox next week.

Beauty Within

                Beauty Without . . .

                               What’s Your Passion?

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Lois W. Stern


What would you think of a woman who tells you she has fallen in love with her plastic surgeon? A bit unbalanced, you’d say? Sexually promiscuous? Frustrated, with no love life of her own? Wrong on all three counts. I can tell you that first hand because I was that woman! Yes, that’s right, me, happily married to the same man I fell in love with at age 19. Me, a solid-as-a-rock, both-feet-on-the-ground type, refined, and loyal to a fault, forever honoring those marriage vows. But there I was, a few weeks post-surgery, feeling like a hopelessly-in-love teenager. Why was this happening to me? My research led me to some answers that began to clear the air. My interviews with other women (over 100 of them), made me aware of the fact that this was not such an unusual phenomenon.

So what did I do? With the knowledge that I was not alone, I wrote about it in a book about women and cosmetic surgery – one chapter about my experience and a second chapter filled with other women’s stories. Was I embarrassed? Of course! The title of my personal story chapter, “Utter Humiliation”, answers that question rather nicely. Then why would I share this with the world? I suppose that being a veteran teacher is a partial answer to that second question. I like to help others learn. And here was a issue that people didn’t speak about, didn’t understand. And that includes surgeons as well as patients. So I enlisted my research and interview skills to explore the topic more deeply. Then I gathered all my courage to write about the very topics that had been hushed into darkness for much too long. Did I make the right decision? First listen to my interview on The AuthorsShow with host, Don McCauley, which created quite a stir.

Read on.

Since the publication of Sex. Lies and Cosmetic Surgery, I have received e-mail messages from a number of women with similar experiences. It even became the subject of a blog that received comments from over fifty-eight women, many confirming my experience by detailing similar ones of their own.

    Fascinating reading!

 You can read some of them here.

Then a Southern Belle named Georgia sent me a private e-mail which she gave me permission to reprint here. Her message confirmed for me that I had made the right decision for exactly the right reasons.

Here is her e-mail:

I arrived home from being out of town yesterday & found your book that I’d ordered from Amazon.com. Couldn’t wait to read it, & found it quite interesting & informative, especially the above-mentioned chapters (Chapters 5 and 6)!  I had an eye-lift over ten years ago and recently had a face lift. Both times I too experienced post-surgical amorous feelings for my plastic surgeon.  When I talked to him about it in follow-up visits, all he said was Don’t worry, you’ll get over it.  I don’t think that any of them have a clue about how to handle what I now find from your book is not so uncommon. You’d think that it would be covered in a surgeon’s training at some point, & it certainly needs to be so that it can be included in the packet of information they give us before surgery.

If you were Georgia, what words would you have liked to have heard from your plastic surgeon? (and I don’t mean I love you!)

I will appreciate hearing your thoughts on this “Don’t ask, don’ tell” topic.

Beauty Within

                Beauty Without . . .

                               What’s Your Passion?

Click to Explore the Many Dimensions of Beauty 

PLASTIC SURGERY and TISSU GLU – A Winning Combination?

After a plastic surgery procedure, drainage tubes have long been one of medicine’s necessary evils. Why? Surgery disturbs tissues that need to be securely reattached before the surgical site is stapled or sewn shut. Without strong adhesion, fluid will accumulate in wound spaces. Additionally, surgery produces swelling, which in turn produces fluid in the tissue vacuum. Drainage tubes have routinely been used to remove unwanted fluid.

Getting rid of those post surgery drainage tubes could be a big deal for the patient. Although they serve a useful purpose, tubes are uncomfortable and inconvenient. At times they become infected, clog or leak. Many days post surgery, after the drainage tubes are finally removed, additional fluid build-up (known as a seroma) can cause more swelling to occur.

Enter TissuGlu Surgical Adhesive

TissuGlu is an adhesive developed for plastic surgery procedures that holds the layers of tissue in place, preventing fluid accumulation and reducing swelling. Composed of biocompatible materials that perform ideally in a moist environment, the material gradually breaks down and is assimilated back into the body. Although other commercially available products have been used in soft-tissue surgical procedures, TissuGlu’s magic lies in the unrivaled strength of its adhesive bond.

Are there down sides to this surgical adhesive? Additional costs? Ease or difficulty of application? Other complications? I would like plastic surgeons experienced with its use to weigh in on this topic.

Beauty Within

                Beauty Without . . .

                               What’s Your Passion?

Click to Explore the Many Dimensions of Beauty 


I recently received this question from a Facebook Fan:  What can I do for my puffy eyes?

She explained that there was a recent death in her family. She had been crying nonstop and it had reeked havoc on her eyes.  I knew all about cold water compresses and cucumbers slices, but turned to that wonderful Duchess of Dermis for some professional advice. Here is what this miracle gal, Michelle Martel, had to say on the topic:

Cold Compresses (This is one of the best ways, it will create vasoconstriction of the vessels)

Applying something cold to the eye area can help constrict the vessels and reduce the swelling. It also is a good way to inhibit inflammation and take care of the redness. Splashing cold water onto your face probably is the easiest way to cool down the eye area, but you also could apply cold compresses. Cucumber slices, cold teabags, or a tea towel wrapped around a bag of frozen peas could do the trick. You also could place a face cloth in ice water, wring out the excess water, and apply the cloth to your eyes (This is one of my favorite ways and I use cloth diapers.) The trick is to replace whatever you’re using once it gets too warm, so be sure to keep enough cucumber slices, teabags, or a bowl of ice water handy.

Sleep It Off

This is one of the best ways to ensure you get rid of puffy eyes after crying. It’s best to sleep with your head elevated so that fluid can’t accumulate around the eyes. A good night’s rest will not only leave you refreshed but also help give the sensitive eye area time to rest and rejuvenate.

So to recap the 3 most important things to do:

1. Cold compress (not too cold) and to replace them before it gets to warm.

2. Get sleep and sleep with your head elevated (very important to sleep with your head elevated so the fluids don’t drain

    around them and in them)

3. Try not to rub them to much so you do not stretch the skin, blot the tears, do not rub them.

The above  solutions are great for temporary puffiness, but will do little to improve your appearance if you  have  excess eyelid skin or  fat. In extreme cases, puffy or drooping eyelids can even partially obscure your vision. Cosmetic eyelid surgery — known as blepharoplasty — can correct these issues and give your whole face a refreshed appearance.

I’ll explore surgical options in a future posting, so stay tuned.

Beauty Within

                Beauty Without . . .

                               What’s Your Passion?

Click to Explore the Many Dimensions of Beauty 


Give your Hands a Lift

The dead give away – A person with a young face, but veiny, wrinkled or spotted hands. 

 As we age, the fatty layer of our hands gradually diminishes. As a result, the skin becomes more translucent and wrinkled, and underlying structures as bones and veins become more apparent. As if this weren’t enough punishment, since hands are constantly exposed to the sun, brown spots often appear.

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An aging appearance is no longer measured just by crow’s feet and saggy jowls, but also by the appearance of the upper surface of one’s hands. Whereas a myriad of both surgical and non-surgical treatments are available and commonplace today to rejuvenate aging facial and body features, what solution does science offer us for aging hands?

Have you noticed how Madonna tends to camouflage her hands, by wearing fingerless gloves during many of her performances?

But what about hand lifts? Is science working on a solution for aging hands? One viable solution is dermal fillers – a 5-to-10-minute procedure where the surgeon injects synthetic fillers like Radiesse, Juvederm or Perlane or the patient’s own fat under the first layer of skin to plump it up. (Costs about $1,200). A second solution, is energy driven devices as intense pulsed light, Fraxel or CO2 laser resurfacing treatments (about $1,500) to remove sun spots and tighten the skin , or a combination of fillers and lasers. The effects of these treatments typically last about a year.

Is the surgical removal of excess skin a viable option? Probably not because it’s likely to causes obvious scarring. Furthermore there’s also a greater risk of complications as hands do not heal well. It would be quite a trick on nature to be left with beautiful, young looking hands that don’t function well. But since advances in cosmetic surgery are driven by demand, who knows what the future might bring! I’ve learned to never say “Never”!Beauty Within

               Beauty Within,

                                   Beauty Without . . .

                                            What’s Your Passion?

Click to Explore the Many Dimensions of Beauty