FBI looks to Plastic Surgery News for help in manhunt

The bureau took out a full-page ad in the April-May edition of Plastic Surgery News, a newsletter circulated to more than 6,000 plastic surgeons worldwide, with photos of Greig, Bulger’s girlfriend, asking, “Have you treated this woman?’’

Greig, a dental hygienist whose 59th birthday fell in April, has had several plastic surgery procedures. According to the FBI, she had breast implants, a face lift, liposuction, and eyelid surgery before she went on the run with Bulger. It’s possible, the bureau believes, that she sought a touch-up while on the lam.

“This is one of many techniques that we are employing currently to locate Mr. Bulger and Miss Greig,’’ said Gail Marcinkiewicz, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Boston office. “This is an ongoing investigation.’’

The ad, which features photos of Greig before and after her surgery, asks anyone who may recognize her to call the FBI at 617-742-5533.

“We’re always happy to help,’’ said Mike Stokes, managing editor of Plastic Surgery News, a publication of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He said the FBI probably placed the ad because the newsletter has international reach. Its subscribers include plastic surgeons in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

Allure magazine first reported the news about the ad, with the headline: “Nip/Tuck Meets America’s Most Wanted.’’

Bulger, a longtime FBI informant, fled before his January 1995 federal racketeering indictment in Boston and is wanted in 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s. The fugitive, whose 80th birthday was in September, has been a fixture on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list, and the bureau is offering a $2 million reward for information leading to his capture.

“I bet that’s got some people going through their old files,’’ Stokes said.

Greig, who was raised in South Boston, had been living in Quincy before she fled. She is wanted for harboring a federal fugitive.

The last confirmed sighting of Bulger was in London in 2002, according to the FBI.

The ad says Greig had breast implants in 1982 and provides the product and lot number of them. It also says that Greig has a ragweed allergy and a sensitivity to Valium, diazepam, and erythromycin.

Dr. Phil Haeck, a Seattle plastic surgeon and president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said there is a fairly good likelihood that Greig’s implants have been removed or replaced.

He said Greig had first-generation implants, which could leak and stimulate hardening of a scar around the implant.

“If they haven’t broken and haven’t stimulated scar tissue, you’re lucky and should have them removed,’’ Haeck said.

But even if Greig underwent surgery while on the run, the FBI faces a daunting task in trying to determine where.

“It’s so easy to go overseas and have plastic surgery,’’ said Haeck, adding that it has become increasingly common for Americans to travel abroad for cheaper surgeries, and that anyone with an Internet connection can make arrangements.

Still, Haeck called the placement of the ad “a fascinating attempt,’’ which could bring the tip that leads to the capture of Bulger and Greig.

If Greig was a fan of surgery, Bulger clearly was not. A former Bulger associate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Bulger “had a phobia of doctors’’ and was unlikely to subject Greig or himself to medical procedures that would leave a trail of hospital records.

After Bulger fled, investigators seized a leather binder of personal papers he left, including a handwritten account of the lingering effects he suffered from participating in a CIA-sponsored experiment with LSD when he was serving time for bank robbery at an Atlanta federal prison in the 1950s.

“It’s 3 a.m. and years later I’m still effected [sic] by LSD in that I fear sleep,’’ Bulger wrote. “The horrible nightmares that I fight to escape by waking. The taste of adrenaline, gasping for breath often I’m woken by a scream and find it’s me screaming.’’

Writing of his distrust of doctors, Bulger wrote, “I have been sick and injured many times these years, but treated myself with over-the-counter medicine.

Study: Untrained “cosmetic surgeons” pose health hazards

Cosmetic procedures like Botox, facial fillers and liposuction are big money-makers for physicians. Not surprisingly, doctors other than plastic surgeons and dermatologists also offer cosmetic treatments. According to a new study, nearly 40% of doctors offering liposuction in Southern California had no specific surgical training.

The study, published in the April issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, examined 1,876 cosmetic practitioners from San Diego to Los Angeles. Only 495 of them were trained in plastic surgery. Primary care physicians made up the fourth-largest group of liposuction providers following plastic surgeons, dermatologists and otolaryngologists.

There is no law to prevent doctors from offering these services, especially in a doctor’s office (doctors need to apply for privileges to perform services in hospitals). Many non-surgeons take a course or participate in some form of limited training to perform liposuction or inject fillers. But such training is not required and is often inadequate, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Though providing Botox or facial fillers is unlikely to be dangerous, liposuction can result in serious complications, the authors state. “We feel that the provision of such a potentially hazardous treatment by physicians with no training in surgery poses a genuine threat to the safety of patients.”

Further, the authors state, aesthetic franchises have sprung up that have no association with one particular provider, making it more difficult for patients to know just who is responsible for their care.

“The practices are often named after a geographic location with a cachet of affluence,such as Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills or La Jolla. In these practices, the practitioners are employees of the owner of the clinical facility, and are pushed to produce revenue. The divorce of the practice from the name of the responsible physician has the potential to have a profound impact on the doctor-patient relationship and how patients select a provider,” the authors state.

Still, the authors say more legislation is not what’s needed, calling government meddling “a guest who may never leave.” They suggest more effort to educate the public on who is or isn’t qualified to perform various cosmetic procedures.

I vote for whichever method — education, legislation or perhaps both — will protect consumer health and safety regardless of professional turf wars. 

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Surgeon Cautions Against Fat-Melting Injections

Patients looking for injectable alternatives to liposuction may be risking their health in the process, cautions plastic surgeon Dr. Scott Green. His warning follows a recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) crackdown on doctors and medical spas that have overstated the safety and results of the injectable fat treatment Lipodissolve. Dr. Green says he hopes the FDA’s step will prompt patients to take another look at their options and choose a method of  liposuction that is recognized as safe and effective.

“What people don’t realize is that these ‘fat-melting’ injections can cause serious complications if not performed by a skilled provider, and there’s very little scientific evidence that they achieve lasting results,” explains Dr. Green. “People who want to slim and tone their bodies need to hear the facts on which procedures doctors widely trust.”

Lipodissolve or “mesotherapy” treatments use a combination of drugs injected into fatty areas to prompt fat cells to break down, but neither of the two main drugs used is cleared by the FDA to be marketed for fat removal. Researchers also do not fully understand how these treatments work or what exactly happens to the dissolved fat, and according to the FDA, several patients have reported complications such as skin deformations following treatment.

“It’s reasonable for patients to look for a faster, more effective fat removal system, but the best surgeons offer several liposuction options that can achieve reliable results without much downtime,” says Dr. Green. “In my opinion, mesotherapy’s potential risks are unnecessary.”

Liposuction procedures often involve very little downtime and can be used even for high-precision adjustments in the small areas like “love handles” and “bra rolls” that mesotherapy was designed to treat. And because liposuction removes problem fat cells directly, it allows the surgeon a very high degree of precision to ensure the results look natural.

“Most people considering body contouring cosmetic surgery  just want to smooth out their problem areas and get results that are going to last,” adds Dr. Green.

Eyelid Cosmetic Surgery Should Improve Vision Too

Something that men and women need to consider before undergoing any sort of plastic surgery is that it should not only look good but it should also work for you! For example if you’re going to go for a eyelid surgery procedure it is no good you looking ten years younger if you can’t close your eyes properly and you live in perpetual discomfort. As well as giving you a more youthful look a good eyelid surgeon will also take into consideration the functional aspects so that eyelid works well. A good plastic surgeon will know exactly what we’re talking about here.

Eyelid Cosmetic Surgery Should Improve Vision Too

You might even speak to your plastic surgeon about improving your vision with eyelid surgery. When some people age excess skin from the upper eyelid causes a hood to form over the eyes which can block vision to some extent. Good plastic surgeons will consider the visual aspects of your eyelid surgery as well as the cosmetic ones.

The same goes for other plastic surgery procedures such as rhinoplasty. It’s no good having a perfectly shaped nose if you can’t breathe out of it properly. In fact every single cosmetic surgical procedure should be accompanied by an analysis of the practicality and functionality of the outcome. For example is your face lift going to make it difficult for you to convey your facial expressions, and is your breast augmentation procedure going to reduce the physical pleasure and sensations that you derive from them?

Any surgeon who thinks that a cosmetic surgical procedure is simply about looking good and fails to look at your overall medical history, your functional needs and the practicality of what is intended should not be practicing. As we have repeatedly stressed at Ukmedix News the first point of call for plastic surgery should be your local doctor who knows your health better than anyone and who will be able to advise you independently and impartially before recommending you to a qualified plastic surgeon.

Rhinoplasty Revision: Challenging for Surgeon and Patient

According to many surgeons, revision rhinoplasty is one of the most difficult plastic surgery procedures for both doctor and patient. Why is this? If you’ve had one or more nose jobs and are still unhappy with your look, what should you do?

Part of the answer to these questions is simple: any revision surgery is more challenging than the original procedure. During a second surgery, your doctor faces scar tissue, altered circulation patterns and so on. One Beverly Hills plastic surgeon also points to the loss of “normal anatomical landmarks” that happens with the primary surgery.

With revision rhinoplasty, the effects of the first operation can pose extra problems for a plastic surgeon. Doctors explain that rhinoplasty tends to weaken the support structure of the nose, made up of both bone and cartilage. Revision rhinoplasty surgeons must take care not to negatively impact even more of the foundation that supports soft tissues and thin skin. (Remember Michael Jackson’s nose?) In fact, many operations will necessitate rebuilding some of the nose’s original support system to allow it to hold up under the healing process and passage of time.

For many patients, a second nose job involves improving breathing difficulties as well as appearance. These dual goals can be difficult to achieve.

For the patient, there’s no denying that a poor outcome from a primary rhinoplasty can be a crushing blow. After making the tough decision to have surgery, experiencing the procedure and recovery and waiting months for your nose to settle into a more pleasing new shape, it can be very difficult to come to grips with the fact that it just didn’t work out as you had hoped. Some people feel they look worse after their nose job than they did before surgery.

Finally, fixing a failed rhinoplasty normally takes longer than the procedure time of the initial surgery and poses a longer recovery period as well. Major revisions can cost more too.

So, what should you do if a year or more has passed since your nose surgery and you’re wondering whether you should try again?

First, return to your original plastic surgeon to discuss your dissatisfaction.

If a small “refinement” is all that’s needed and you feel you’re in good hands, you may opt for minor fine-tuning with the same doctor. At least talk through your options.

You should also find out whether an injectable might be a good choice for you. Small dents, lumps or other asymmetries can sometimes be improved a great deal with a filler. While this is not a permanent solution, it would allow you to avoid the risks of a second surgery.

If you believe a major revision is in order, consider seeking a surgeon who specializes in revision rhinoplasty. Careful review of a surgeon’s website will indicate if you may have found one. Choosing a board certified plastic surgeon is a start, but you will also want to hear that your candidate has vast experience with nose job revisions. You may want to consult a specially trained facial plastic surgeon, and/or one who has a reputation for being the best and has trained with the best. You may need to fly across the country, and it could be that you’ll need more than one correctional procedure.

Generally speaking, the more problematic the revision, and the further from the original surgery (third, fourth, or fifth revision), the more research you’ll need to do and the more careful you will need to be with your decisions. And the more you and the plastic surgeons you consult will need to wrestle with the ultimate question of whether to operate at all. If an extremely well qualified specialist suggests you may have reached the point of diminishing returns, listen and process that input. It may be time to try some injectables, accept your nose as it is and get on with your life.



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Inexperienced Plastic Surgeons Are Deadly

We have warned on a number of occasions of the dangers of cut-price plastic surgery which has led to serious disfigurement and even death in some cases. Very often this cut-price cosmetic surgery is performed in poorer countries which have less regulation and cheaper running costs but recent reports showed that even in the UK some clinics are cutting corners and performing a whole range of surgical procedures very cheaply with often less than satisfactory results.

Inexperienced Plastic Surgeons Are Deadly

The issue has now got to the point where The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has stepped in and said legislation must be enacted to prevent unscrupulous and under qualified surgeons from operating in the UK. Some very recently qualified surgeons but who have very little experience are lured by the glamour and easy money of being a plastic surgeon and woo customers with glossy brochures and expensive looking waiting rooms.

Despite the appearance that TV programs such as Dr 90210 give, having a breast augmentation is in fact a very complicated medical procedure which has a whole lot of risks involved. Experienced and qualified reconstructive plastic surgeons like Dr Rey have warned that even pediatricians and heart surgeons are now trying their hand at a whole range of procedures such as breast lifts, liposuction, rhinoplasty and even butt lifts.

You must always check the credentials of a plastic surgeon and you should never be embarrassed to ask questions and check-up on qualifications. Be extremely wary of very cheap prices or clinics in remote areas which are not close to properly equipped hospitals. There are some things which are worth economising on but when it comes to your health you must not cut corners and you should only demand the best.

Remember that some people’s lives have been ruined with botched plastic surgery and that in some cases patients have ended up dead!

More Men Choosing Liposuction

More men looking for a toned appearance are turning to cosmetic surgery as a way to help improve on their own fitness efforts. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Tantillo (www.cosmeticsurgeonboston.com) says liposuction for men is on the rise as many more men seek out these procedures to correct problem areas and emphasize muscle tone.”Men are finding out that liposuction gives them a way to take control of their body shape and look fitter by targeting fat that has more to do with genetics than with their real fitness level,” Dr. Tantillo explains. “Today more men know what liposuction can do, and when they find out how fast and effective the procedure can be, more of them are stepping up and deciding to make those changes.”Dr. Tantillo is not alone in seeing increased interest; new statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reveal that liposuction alone accounted for over 40,000 male cosmetic surgery procedures in the US in 2009.”Liposuction in particular is so popular partly because it’s so versatile,” Dr. Tantillo explains. “It can be used for love handles, male breast correction, and sculpting of the abdominal area. Men are finding out that cosmetic surgery in Boston can help them in many ways, and they come to me for advice.”

Dr. Tantillo says that in particular more men are deciding on cosmetic surgery to correct gynecomastia, a condition where men develop excess breast tissue. It can be caused by genetics, medications, or weight gain. Male breast reduction is the only option for many men who want to correct this condition, and new technologies have simplified the surgical process.

“Treatment areas such as the abdomen and the pectoral area tend to contain more fibrous tissue,” explains Dr. Tantillo. “Fortunately, these days we have technologies like ultrasonic-assisted liposuction that can break up fat in these areas more easily with less discomfort.”

These new technologies also mean that in many cases where male breast reduction patients might have had to undergo a combination of liposuction and traditional surgery, liposuction is now enough to correct the problem completely.

“Some patients will still need some glandular tissue removed surgically, but these new liposuction methods for Boston men allow a high degree of precision without involving a lot of bruising to nearby muscular tissue,” he explains. “No matter what cosmetic surgery procedure they’re considering, men are taking a hard look at cosmetic surgery and I expect my male patient base to continue expanding in the coming year.”

Mother-Daughter Plastic Surgery: Would You Do It?

Like mother, like daughter?

Sometimes, getting a nose job or liposuction is a family affair, according to a recent story on MSNBC.com.

Mother-daughter “cosmetic duets” — such as the respective face lift and nose job Christie Brinkley and daughter Alexa Ray Joel reportedly had last month — are apparently gaining in popularity, although MSNBC.com cited no statistics as proof of the trend.

Saddle bags, small breasts, and big noses are inherited traits, and if mom has an issue with her body, it’s likely her daughter will too.

“I’ll hear, ‘Everybody in my family has big arms, everybody develops puffs under their eyes,’” said New York plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Yager. “I had a mother and daughter come in on the same day where mom got a neck lift and daughter got liposuction of her neck.”

The problem is when a mother’s dissatisfaction with her own body causes issues with her daughter’s self-esteem. In some cases, a competitive relationship prompts a daughter or mother to get plastic surgery.

“I had a mom in her 40s bring in her 20-year-old daughter and was saying, ‘My daughter wants lipo and her leg veins treated’ and the daughter didn’t look like she wanted any of that. That was an unhealthy dynamic and I declined to treat her,” said Dr. Hema Sundaram, a Washington, D.C., dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon.

In a culture obsessed with appearances (especially for women), young girls and teens often feel pressure to change themselves to conform.

Sabrina Weiss focused her teenage self-hatred on her nose. As a high school graduation present, her parents bought her a nose job. Now an adult, Weiss regrets her adolescent decision.

“Looking back, if anyone had questioned what my reasons for doing this, they would’ve seen it was irrational and a fantasy that having this surgery was going to somehow transform my entire life,” Weiss told CNN.

I thought parents were supposed to teach their children to embrace their appearance — flaws and all.

What do you think? Is this trend taking mother-daughter bonding too far? Would you let your kid get plastic surgery? Would you join them?

Spanish face transplant patient goes public

MADRID — A Spanish man who underwent a partial face transplant hugged his surgeon Tuesday and expressed gratitude to the donor’s family as he appeared in public for the first time since the January operation.

The patient, identified only as Rafael, spoke with difficulty at a news conference at Seville’s Virgen del Rocio Hospital, where he had undergone the 30-hour surgery.

“I want to thank the donor’s family and the medical team,” said Rafael, who was flanked by his mother and sister at the briefing, after which he was released from the hospital.

The hospital said that for privacy reasons it would not release his last name or age.

Doctors replaced the bottom two-thirds of Rafael’s face because of a congenital disease that left it deformed with benign tumors.

Dr. Tomas Gomez Cia, head of the hospital’s plastic surgery unit, said Rafael had asked to address the media because of its interest in his case and because he thought appearing in public would encourage donations in cases like his.

Rafael said now he wants the media to respect his privacy. “I want to be left alone,” he said.

Months of rehabilitation await him, but Rafael can now distinguish between hot and cold and feel pain in his lips.

After the operation, Rafael recognized himself in the mirror and liked what he saw, Gomez Cia said. “Not only did he not see himself as a monster, but rather he also thought he looked younger.”

Last month a hospital in Barcelona carried out the world’s first full-face transplant. It was the 11th known face transplant worldwide. Others have been carried out in France, China and the United States.

Rafael’s was the second partial face transplant performed in Spain.

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