News & Features

Plastic Surgery News: World Roundup June 2006

Dr. 90210” Quells Trouble via Martial Arts

Dr. Robert Rey
Frequent readers of News already know that Robert Rey, M.D., one of the plastic surgeon stars on the hit T.V. reality program, Dr. 90210 is no stranger to our pages, having already told us about his poverty stricken, petty crime days as a street urchin in Brazil. Along the way, we may have mentioned the otherwise kindly Dr. Rey holds a black belt in the Korean martial arts Tae Kwon Do -- granted after seven years of study -- and can use those highly skilled and trained hands to break bricks and boards as well as gently and skillfully enhancing flesh on bodies and faces.

Aboard a recent American Airlines flight, Dr. Rey was on hand when a passenger left his seat, pushed a flight attendant and appeared to be headed for the cockpit while the plane was on final approach for Los Angeles International. According to news reports, Dr. Rey and another passenger intervened when they heard the man make an aggressive noise. The doctor restrained the unruly passenger without hurting him and then checked the man’s vital signs and determined he was not having a medical emergency.

Dr. Rey in Kata
Added Dr. Rey: “When you get a black belt, at that stage your brain just clicks into action.” The Rey brain also clicked into action about a year ago when he and wife Hayley were on vacation in New Orleans. A bold but unwise street thug came up behind the couple and pinched Hayley on her rear. Sensing a possible threat and seeing a total stranger use a highly inappropriate and humiliating form of contact on his beloved spouse, Dr. Rey’s fists and feet of fury whirled into action and put the punk onto his own rear end. Dazed from the blows and not really sure what he had gotten himself into, the pincher looked up from the sidewalk at the Reys, pleading, “Enough! Enough! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Of course, you may know what is often said about the martial arts in Hollywood. Dedicated and skilled athletes who have had decades of training, using only their hands and feet, make some of the worst movies in the history of the world.

Botox Hushes the Go-Go Bladder

Swiss researchers have found that Botox injected into some of the muscles attached to and surrounding the bladder can calm the overactive organ for almost a year.

Worldwide, researchers have long known that Botox stops muscles cold in their tracks. Thus, many medical woes caused by runaway muscle action can be quelled. One common example is when sweat glands become overactive and flood the sufferer with too much perspiration. Botox halts the deluge in most cases.

But the downside to bladder treatments is that the injections must be repeated every three months or so. And most test subjects say the only sharp thing they will allow anywhere near their bladder areas are fingernails; needles there are verboten.

Nonetheless, Daniel Schmid Jr. M.D., of the University of Zurich, reports a single injection can keep the bladder calm for almost a year. Dr. Schmid says 82 percent of a test group of 150 overactive bladder patients treated with Botox were continent nine months after Botox treatments. At 11 months, 43 percent of the patients required no further treatments while 23 percent had to get one more injection. Thirtyone percent were able to return to prescription drugs for urgency control. One lucky patient was free of overactive bladder syndrome over four years after the first treatment.

Things went so well researchers think they may be onto an actual cure, and not just a treatment, because the Botox seems to retrain the muscles. For instance, voiding diaries and other studies indicate that the need to urinate decreased by 50 percent. Moreover, the actual volumes produced at each voiding increased by 56 percent, indicating the bladder was behaving more normally. More importantly, researchers found the treatment freed patients from the need to wear pads during the day or night.

Of course, the really good news is something any Botox patient could tell you. Your bladder will be totally wrinkle-free.

Coping with Divorce via Cosmetic Surgery

According to an Australian professor, women Down Under are increasingly reacting to the Angst and woe of divorce by going under the cosmetic surgeon’s knife.

Queensland University Technology School of Humanities and Human Services researcher Margarte Gibson says one reason cosmetic surgery is taking off in Australia is because more women are turning to rejuvenation surgery as a type of grief therapy that erases the facial lines reflecting the sadness through which they have lived. But the professor also sees a dangerous downside to the trend.

Dr. Gibson reasons that after one cosmetic procedure, divorced women are more likely to become habitual users like plastic surgery “addicts” Michael Jackson and Joan Rivers.

Because her chief research interest concentrates on grief, mourning and memorialization, Professor Gibson also observes that plastic surgery patients in affluent societies are actually taking part in something known as “cultural pretending,” a process whereby we use rejuvenation surgery to make believe that we will not age and die. Of course, the key thing about any divorce is that there are always two sides. Yours and the idiot you just divorced.

Large Breast Implants? Low Sensation!

Plastic surgeons at the University of California, San Diego, are reporting that women who choose large breast implants that may be too large for the available breast envelope risk losing feeling in the nipple area. What’s more, a study showed, the larger the implant, the greater the risk.

In a study of twenty women with augmented breasts, researchers found nipple sensations were seriously diminished a year after the procedure, regardless of implant size. Moreover, there was no difference in the loss of feelings among those who had implants inserted through an incision in the dark ring of skin around the nipple (the periareolar approach) or through the place where the bottom of the breast meets the chest wall (the inframamary approach.)

Test subjects were followed for a year and two months. The results of the study group were compared to a group of nine other women with similar breast sizes but without any augmentations.

The researchers now urge plastic surgeons to warn patients who want very large implants a possible risk is losing some sensation in the breasts.

It wasn’t reported in the study but popular wisdom says that many men associate large breasts with low intelligence. But it’s actually the opposite -- the larger a woman’s breasts are, the less intelligent the men become.

Study: Textured Breast Implants Safer

One of the known risks about having breast implants is that the body often reacts to the implantation of foreign material. Then, the normal scarring process sets to work and tries to circle the implants with scar tissue. It’s a condition known to doctors as capsular contracture and is the most common risk associated with breast augmentation, occurring in about fifteen to 45 percent of patients. Capsular contracture often leaves the patients’ breasts feeling tight or hard and may lead to surgical removal of the scar tissue or even the implant. Various other surgical and non-surgical treatments are also available.

But a team of plastic surgeons in Canada wondered which type of breast implant -- the smooth or the textured -- tends to cause more capsular contracture.

So a team of plastic surgeons from Dalhousie University and the University of Ottawa crunched the data on seven existing studies looking at types of implants and rates of capsular contracture in each study. The hands-down winner? Textured surface breast implants. According to the study, smooth breast implants are five times more likely to result in a case of capsular contracture.

Plastic Surgeons Give Iraqi Girl New Nose

Big-hearted plastic surgeons often donate their incredible skills to unfortunates who are in no positions whatsoever to pay for medical services.

So plastic and reconstructive surgeons at University of California, Los Angeles, swung into action when they heard about the case of Marwa Naim, a 12-year-old Iraqi girl who suffered the loss of her nose in an explosion at her family’s home during fighting in northern Baghdad in April, 2003. Marwa could still breathe and smell normally but other school children teased and taunted her.

"When we heard about Marwa's condition, we immediately wanted to help in any way we could," said Dr. Timothy Miller, chief of plastic surgery at UCLA Medical Center. “We have had considerable experience in reconstructing noses.” Four international humanitarian organizations, including Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC,) pooled resources and brought Marwa to Los Angeles in February, 2006, where UCLA picked up all the treatment costs.

In a series of four outpatient surgeries that began in February and concluded in late May, doctors transferred a flap of skin from her forehead and folded it down to create a new nose. The shape of the tip was achieved by using grafts of cartilage taken from Marwa’s ear. In the last two procedures, surgeons made scar revisions and aesthetic refinements. "I am very happy with my new nose and it looks like it did before my injury," Marwa said. "Regardless of how hard it was to go through four surgeries, it was worth it."

Marwa’s visit in Los Angeles has been busy — she started learning English, visited many popular tourist attractions, learned to ride a bike and enjoyed playing basketball, running and swimming. She stayed with four Arabic-speaking host families during her visit.

"I came to Los Angeles, America, for surgery and am very happy to meet all of you, and wish you to help other kids from all over the world like you helped me," Marwa said through her interpreter. Late in June, Marwa will return home to her family in Iraq. With her physical injuries repaired, she plans on returning to school and hopes eventually to study business administration.

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