News & Features

Plastic Surgery News: World Roundup

world news round up

Italy: A Facelift for the Town Council

Town councils and other lawmakers from time immemorial have voted themselves more benefits and pay raises.

But tapping the town coffers for cosmetic surgery?

world news round up Perhaps influenced by Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, who has confessed to a recent facelift and hair implants, the entire town council of Mulazzo in Tuscany has earmarked about $4000 to cover ‘beauty treatments” for local politicians. Town mayor Sandro Donati is said to have come up with the idea after one of his councilors asked for a city contribution toward the purchase of blue contact lenses. Soon afterwards, another council member asked the town to pay for a tanning session and still others chimed in with requests for full surgeries to “look beautiful and more charming,” according to Donati who, last January, drafted a resolution “to support choices that council members may make by paying a subsidy, to be decided upon after a precise verification of available funds, to be counted toward the partial compensation of the expenses for cosmetic surgery aimed at the optimization of the image factor.”

That sounds like bureaucratese for “good-looking council members make for a better town image.”

U.S.: Good Work If You Can Get it

In Erie County, New York, a generous amount of plastic surgery is also a perk in the health plan for employees and retirees. According to the Buffalo News, the three-year total cost for improving the looks of the county’s past and present workers under an agreement hammered out with the county’s two largest unions was $3.2 million. A 2002 county report listed the most costly items as hair transplants, electrolysis, liposuction, facelifts, dermabrasion, breast implants, penile implants, birthmark removal and nose jobs.

Israel: Fat Removal without the Operating Room

world news round up For the last five years, scientists in Tel Aviv, Israel, have been studying and working on Ultrashape, a device that removes fat from the body without breaking the skin.

You won’t find it soon at the office of your cosmetic or plastic surgeon because it is still being studied. But, when and if approved, it promises to revolutionize plastic surgery because a consumer will be able to go to the doctor’s office on his or her lunch hour, undress, skip the anesthetic and have a mouse-sized instrument passed over the fatty areas in the stomach or hips. The doctor or technician who watches a video screen would know where to place the Ultrashape so it targets only fat and not surrounding organs, nerves, blood vessels or other tissues.

The device then fires high frequency ultrasound waves to specific areas, breaking down fat cells which are absorbed into the patient’s system and then burned by the body, similar to the way the body naturally clears damaged tissue in a bruise. During a half hour treatment, about a pint of flab can be removed; the patient can then return a month later for additional treatments.

So far, the device has been used on pigs – which have fat that resembles human flab – and on human cadavers.

The next step is studying the device on groups of live patients in clinical trials in England, Israel and the U.S.

U.K.: Plastic Surgery, Live at Five Back with Melissa Rivers

Regular readers of News already know about “Cosmetic Surgery Live,” the English television show that takes reality television one step farther by showing on Britain’s channel Five live plastic surgery, uncut and unedited, as it happens – and on English celebrities, no less.

The last programs was such a hit on the telly, viewers demanded more and now are getting it. “All New Plastic Surgery Live” is enjoying another two-week run and has added Melissa Rivers – live from Hollywood -- as correspondent for color commentary. Melissa learned at an early age about the worlds of plastic and cosmetic surgery, thanks to being the daughter of Joan Rivers, who is described, in typical British understatement, as “a plastic surgery enthusiast.”

Adds the show’s host, British celebrity Vanessa Feltz: “I couldn’t be more pleased to be back presenting ‘CosmeticSurgery Live’ because it seems that everyone from your grandma to the bus diver to the Sunday school teacher fancies as bit of nip and tuck to improve their looks and this series should give them all the pointers they need.” Vanessa herself had to go under the cosmetic surgeon’s knife herself to get the hosting gig.

Producers made no mention of a U.S. version being developed for North American viewers.

U.S.: Out of the closet, doctor!

Did you hear the one about the Florida church lady in her 60s who underwent plastic surgery and then returned to the choir after she recovered? After healing, she was approached by men in the choir who did not realize they had been singing with her for the past 12 years.

That heart-warming anecdote and more are reported in the book, “Plastic Surgery Tales: A Look Behind the Face of the Specialty,” by Florida plastic surgeon Robert Cooper, M.D. who writes: “The true-life experiences of plastic surgeons offer far better tales than the fictional accounts related on shows like ‘Nip & Tuck’ or the quasi-reality of ‘Extreme Makeovers.’ The human side of the specialty has nothing to do with $4,500 suits or Ferraris. Every plastic surgeon that has practiced for several years has had contact with enough people to generate some interesting -- if not wholly believable -- real-life tales of the human condition.”

The book additionally tells some behind-the-scenes tales from the world of medicine like the one about a young surgeon who had been so rattled after a lengthy oral exam that he gets out of the hot seat to leave the room but walks into the examiner’s closet instead of the hallway. Nothing like a memorable exit.

In yet another case, a very experienced New York surgeon was showing a much younger resident the surgical ropes. The resident had been married about two years and was in every respect an excellent surgeon. After assisting the older surgeon with a breast augmentation, the resident was told to help the patient get into a compression bra, a garment which hooks together in the front and holds swelling to a minimum.

The following day, the patient called the older surgeon complaining of severe pain. When the physician examined her in his office, he was “dumbfounded” to see the cups of the bra resting on her back while the bra strap was painfully positioned across her new – and very tender – enhancements.

The surgeon merely reversed the garment so the cups supported the breasts like they were designed to do and the woman’s pain immediately went away.

As soon as the more experienced surgeon saw the resident he asked how he could put the bra on backwards.

His reply was simple. He aid: “Well, my wife’s bras all hook in the back and it never occurred to me that bras were made any other way.”

Royalties from the book will benefit the Plastic Surgeon’s Education Foundation, according to Dr. Cooper.

Ancient Egypt: Facelifts and Nose Jobs?

Around 1500 B.C., the Egyptians were as concerned with personal appearances as are people today. Because they found lice so unattractive, most ancient Egyptian men and women shaved their heads and wore wigs. The blue eye shadow, also worn by men, served a dual purpose: it reduced some of the reflections shining into their eyes bright from the bright desert sun and made for prettier peepers.

But when it came to Queen Nefertiti, supposedly the most beautiful women in history, getting rid of the ever-present bugs was not enough. She was probably the first woman in history to have a facelift, according to an Egyptologist.

“Her hair was tied back so tightly that it pulled the skin taunt on her face to reduce fine lines and wrinkles,” says Lisa Schwappach of California’s Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, a facility that boasts having the second largest collection on the U.S. West Coast.

“Other hierographic texts report that Nefertiti used pieces of linen covered in resin or some other adhesive near her hair line to pull back her eyes and even out the crow’s feet,” says Schwappach, the museum’s curator. “It’s known as a ‘Croydon facelift.’”

That wasn’t the only thought of plastic surgery in antiquity. Nose jobs in ancient Egypt were few and far between and mostly done on the dead to preserve their earthly looks for all eternity. Because the entire economy of ancient Egypt revolved around preparing people for the afterlife, morticians also learned quite a bit about surgery and human anatomy in the process. For instance, the mummy of the great pharaoh Rameses II, now in a Cairo Museum, was surgically altered by having a small bone and quantity of seeds inserted into his nose – his most prominent feature in life. Egyptian surgeons ensured that, in death, his schnooz remained just as prominent as when he walked the earth.

Scientists today know how ancient Egyptians practiced medicine because they have a hieroglyphics document dating from 1700 BC that spells out surgical treatments and tools required to treat wounds, accidents, illness and other medical woes. Experts say any surgeon today would immediately recognize the instruments and what they are used for.

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