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Woman Charged in Death Caused by Silicone Injection

Plastic surgery is not the first thing that comes to mind when one walks into the Liberty Inn Hotel, the infamous lodge in Manhattan’s meatpacking district that charges by the hour and is known for romantic trysts.

Undeterred by the locale, Tamara Blaine, 22, went to a second-floor room at the hotel last July to have an illegal medical procedure, one that has become increasingly popular in recent years as full-bodied women like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian have become iconic fashion figures.

As Ms. Blaine lay on a bed, Tamira Mobley, a self-described beautician from Wood-Ridge, N.J., injected silicone into the young woman’s buttocks. It was the fourth time in a year she had given Ms. Blaine an injection as part of a buttocks enhancement regimen, according to a criminal complaint.

Something went wrong. Ms. Blaine, a college student from Jamaica, Queens, went into a seizure and was barely alive when paramedics arrived at 12:33 p.m. Ms. Mobley, having dialed 911, quietly walked away. Ms. Blaine died at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital a short while later.

Ms. Mobley, 28, was brought before a judge in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday and charged with second-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault, the district attorney’s office said. A judge set bail at $100,000.

An autopsy found that the silicone had entered Ms. Blaine’s bloodstream, causing embolisms and asphyxiating her. Though the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide on Oct. 1, it took detectives five more months to gather evidence.

The police were led to Ms. Mobley because she had used a credit card to pay for the room. A security camera also recorded her as she arrived at the hotel at 10:40 a.m. and met Ms. Blaine.

Detectives discovered text messages and emails suggesting that Ms. Mobley, who has no medical training, had injected “numerous other women, over the course of two years,” a criminal complaint said. She found clients by placing Internet ads.

Ms. Blaine’s death is not isolated. Deaths from black-market buttocks injections have been reported in recent years in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Dr. Robert X. Murphy, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said the rise in deaths like Ms. Blaine’s had alarmed doctors, prompting the society to mount a public awareness campaign in 2011.

Black-market operators often inject industrial silicone into the buttocks, he said, “the stuff you are taking to grease your garage door with essentially.” Even with medical-grade silicone, surgeons would never resort to such a procedure, Dr. Murphy said, preferring silicone-filled implants or fat injections.

“This type of procedure should be performed by someone who knows the anatomy, knows the benefits and complications and knows how to take care of someone should a complication arise,” he said. “At the minimum someone should look toward a physician.”

Last month, in Mississippi, an interior decorator was sentenced to seven years in prison in the deaths of two women who were injected at her house. And in 2012, a Philadelphia woman known as the Black Madam was charged with murder after the death of a person she had injected with silicone at an airport hotel.

Six women in Essex County, N.J., were hospitalized in 2010 after receiving injections containing the silicone material contractors use to caulk bathrooms.

Bill McElligott, Delivery Truck Driver, Has Severe Sun Damage On One Side Of His Face (PHOTO)

The Huffington Post Canada Posted: 06/06/2012 11:12 am Updated: 07/06/2012  9:06 am

This man’s face is possibly the most compelling argument for wearing sunscreen. Every day, all day, and lots of it.

Truck driver Bill McElligott, 69, has unilateral dermatoheliosis, according to The New England Journal of Medicine. Essentially, ultraviolet A (UVA) rays transmitted through the window of his delivery truck have severely damaged the skin on the left side of his face during the 28 years he has spent driving on the job.

As a result, the left side of McElligott’s face looks roughly 20 years older than the right, the Toronto Star reports. The difference between the two sides of his face is so pronounced, even medical experts were shocked.

bill mcelligott sun damage“We are used to seeing photo damage by the sun, photo aging, every day, but I was taken aback when I saw how one-sided this was,” said Dr. Jennifer Gordon, a dermatology expert who treated McElligott, in The Daily Telegraph.

Driving has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer due to sun exposure through the windows, which do not filter UVA rays. A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology concluded more cases involved the left arm and left side of the face, according to the CBC.

McElligott’s photo surfaces as Sun Awareness Week heats up in Canada, throwing the spotlight on the dangers of UV damage and indoor tanning, particularly for minors. The Canadian Dermatology Association estimates 5,800 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed this year, causing 970 deaths, the CBC says.

The doctor’s orders for McElligott? Sun protection, topical retinoids, and skin cancer monitoring. Car windows can also be tinted to protect against harmful UV rays, although each province in Canada has its own regulations.

Christine Janus, executive director of the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance (CSPA), also suggests prevention is essential. For more sun damage prevention tips, see below.

Wear Sunscreen — All The Time

  • “Wear sunscreen constantly,” says Christine Janus, executive director of the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance (CSPA), an organization that provides support for those with skin conditions. Janus recommends wearing about three quarters of a shot glass full or as much as you need to cover exposed skin. She also says we should reapply the lotion every four to six hours if you’re going in the water or working out.

    Don’t Take Risks — With Your Skin

  • “If your skin looks or feels different, rough like sandpaper for example, get it checked — don’t wait,” Janus says. Treatments for skin cancers exist, but the the more you expose your skin, the higher your risks are, she says.
  • Limit Exposure

    “Limit your time outdoors and during peak hours when the sun is up,” Janus says.

  • Wear A Hat

    Make sure when you’re outside you wear a hat. “Men should be wearing hat as well. The top spots for skin cancer for men is on their head and back,” Janus says.

  • Try UV Clothing Or Umbrellas

    Ultraviolet clothing is also another level of protection, Janus says. There are now companies that manufacture specialized items that have a built-in UV layer. She also recommends an umbrella.

Jewel teams with ASPS to educate, empower women in need of breast reconstruction

Mike Stokes 07/26/2012 at 10:00AM

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Jewel will perform a benefit concert on Oct. 29 during Plastic Surgery The Meeting in New Orleans with proceeds donated to The Plastic Surgery Foundation and several breast reconstruction organizations. The event is part of a new partnership between Jewel and ASPS, in which the performer will also serve as the national spokesperson for the inaugural National Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day on Oct. 17.

“We are thrilled that Jewel will be lending her time, talent and humanitarian spirit to National BRA Day,” says ASPS President Malcolm Z. Roth, MD. “We feel that her passionate voice will help bring awareness to this important cause, and inspire women who are on the road to recovery and a full life beyond breast cancer.”

Plastic Surgery News contacted Jewel, who is currently filming the title role in The June Carter Cash Story for Lifetime Television, to discuss her new role as a spokesperson, the song she wrote specifically for the breast reconstruction campaign, and her upcoming concert during the annual meeting in New Orleans.

PSN: The general public often associates “plastic surgery” with cosmetic procedures, though many who have been helped through breast reconstruction and other procedures are keenly aware of the breadth of the specialty. When you were approached by ASPS to participate in a public education/advocacy campaign, what were your initial thoughts?

Jewel: It is such an honor to be a part of a campaign that will help improve the lives of women through education and awareness. I was shocked to hear that 70 percent of women who are eligible for breast reconstruction surgery are not properly informed of their options; therefore, [as few as] 20 percent of survivors who undergo mastectomy currently choose to have reconstructive surgery.

PSN: What makes raising awareness of breast reconstruction options important to you – and what do you hope will be the impact of your work on behalf of this cause?

Jewel: Cancer doesn’t discriminate and women must do all they can to be their own health care advocates. The way to do this is to be informed of the options that are available. I hope that women will become part of this campaign by empowering themselves with information on this topic and gaining a better understanding of a survivor’s options for reconstructive surgery.

PSN: So many families are impacted by breast cancer that, for many women, the possibility of developing the disease is often considered more of a “when” than an “if.” With that in mind, do you see events like BRA Day as empowering for breast cancer survivors?

Jewel: Any time you take the initiative to learn more and fully understand a disease, you absolutely become empowered. That is what BRA Day is all about – empowerment through education.

PSN: Your life story is fascinating – from growing up in Alaska to living in a van as a struggling musician. How important were those experiences to honing your craft?

Jewel: Growing up in Alaska was a beautiful experience, but was definitely a rustic lifestyle! We only ate what we could can or kill, used a coal stove for heat and had an outhouse (with quite an amazing view of the Alaskan mountains). Being raised on a homestead in Homer taught me so much about life. In my late teens, a turn of unfortunate events left me jobless and homeless, living on the streets. You learn a lot about yourself and your character from struggle, and overcoming that struggle really reveals parts of yourself you never even knew existed. Just like your past, your struggle is a part of you. Those experiences impact your art in countless ways.

PSN: Many plastic surgeons relate to author Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000-hour rule” (10,000 hours of practice is required to become a master of any craft, which the author also applied to musicians in his book Outliers). What were the most influential periods among the countless hours you spent performing on stage and writing songs?

Jewel: I really believe you become a master at your craft by practice, practice and more practice. I started singing in bars and hotels with my parents when I was six years old – becoming a full duet with my dad at eight. That was when I started my education on how to entertain by reading and engaging a crowd. I still do that at shows to this day. I rarely make a set list before a show because not doing so allows the performance to be a live musical dialogue between the audience and myself. It makes the whole experience a journey that we share together, and for me that is the most special part about performing. But you can only hone that skill with lots of practice!

PSN: The song you wrote in honor of breast reconstruction awareness, “Flower,” is incredibly moving. Can you talk a little bit about your creative process in writing that song?

Jewel: “Flower” is such a personal song to me, and it fits this campaign in such a special way. Often words and music develop at the same time through melody, much like this song did. The song is really about overcoming obstacles with grace, dignity and courage – and out of that transformation and struggle is pure beauty.

The lyrics say:  Challenges don’t define her/ She is shaped by how she carries on/ Says this is her opportunity to decode/ Grow into the type of woman she wants to become/ And so with gratitude and the strength of humility/ She transforms pain into victory, digging her roots deep

Photo by Lynda ChurillaPSN: Of the songs you’ve written, what is your favorite to perform?

Jewel: Ah – impossible to pick a favorite! It’s like picking a favorite child. Too hard to say, but there are a few songs that I perform at nearly every show and one of my favorites is the song “Foolish Games.” Vocally, it’s a challenging song, but I really love singing it every time. It’s the type of song that can have an impact either with only an acoustic guitar or an entire 60-piece orchestra.

PSN: What was your favorite song to write?

Jewel: Again, so hard to say! I think lyrically the song “That’s What I’d Do,” which is one of the songs on my family/lullaby album series with Fisher-Price. I wrote the song for Kase, my son who’s nearly a year old now. This fall it will be released as a children’s picture book. Seeing the music and lyrics come to life as a beautifully illustrated children’s book has been an amazing experience. I fell in love with the song in a whole new way.

PSN: What are your thoughts on performing during Plastic Surgery The Meeting in New Orleans?

Jewel: I hope that by being a part of this campaign more women will become educated on this issue and thus empowered. I’m thrilled that as part of the fundraising initiative, the campaign will be raising money forBreastoration, an organization doing amazing work by providing reconstructive surgery to those who cannot afford it.

PSN: You’re currently on the set filming a biopic about June Carter Cash – is she a role model of yours?

Jewel: It was a huge honor and challenge to play June in this film. She deserves to have her story told and from her point of view. She was a talented writer, singer, comedian and performer in her own right – in addition to being a mother, daughter and wife – and this story is really hers. The best part about playing June was the physical transformation. The dark hair and blue contacts made it so very real from day one on the set. And for once in my life I had straight teeth!


For further details or to purchase tickets for the intimate benefit concert “An Evening with Jewel” at the New Orleans Convention Center on Oct. 29, visit the Ticketmaster website.

Photo credits: Jewel with flowers photo by Lynda Churilla

Good News For Future Scars

Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2012 by Anna Jimenez, Senior Interactive Editor

Scars are often thought of as battle wounds—reminders of a time and place when the body was put to the test and survived with a story. Anyone who has had a C-section can attest to this. After all, a scar—the fibrous tissue that replaces normal skin after injury—is your body’s way of repairing itself and is a natural part of the healing process.

For instance, while a healthy baby is a good trade out for a C-section scar, some scars, especially those from cosmetic surgery, are not typically ones women want to show off. This explains why so much research continues to be done to improve the look of post-surgery scars. New strategies are constantly being developed and tested and now, scientists at New York University have found a new treatment to reduce or in some cases, stop scars from forming on the skin. Researchers found that applying agents that block certain receptors in healing skin can greatly reduce the scar, producing skin that feels more like the original, unscarred skin. Research is still in the beginning stages, but it could mean that post-operative scar care could be greatly improved.

At this time, there are some good options already available for scars. Nonablative lasers can stimulate the production of collagen from within the body to improve texture and tone on the surface of the skin. “In the past, the go-to in-office treatment for treating scars was cortisone injections and silicone-based sheeting, but today the trend is to use laser devices,” says San Francisco dermatologist Vic Narurkar, MD. “They are more predictable, offer better results in many (but not all) patients, and are especially effective at treating raised, red scars. Plus, they can safely be used on facial scars.” Injectable fillers can also be used with success to treat facial scars, especially those caused by acne.

Most doctors agree that it is also important to continue to treat your scars at home in conjunction with any in-office scar treatment. There are also options like  Dermatix.

However, “it is important to keep in mind that scars fade and usually improve over time without treatment, so the only way to know if a therapy works is to treat only half of the scar and compare to an untreated “control” half,” says Mountlake Terrace, WA, plastic surgeon Richard Baxter, MD. The good news is, much time and research is going into scar treatment, so hopefully one day, they really will be a thing of the past.

(Don’t) Like My Photo: Social Media Spurring Plastic Surgery

PHOTO: Triana Lavey, before and after plastic surgery to fix her "weak chin." Lavey, a 37-year-old television producer in Los Angeles, got the surgery because she didn't like how she looked on Skype and Facebook.Triana Lavey, before and after plastic surgery to fix her “weak chin.” Lavey, a 37-year-old television producer in Los Angeles, got the surgery because she didn’t like how she looked on Skype and Facebook. (Courtesy Dr. Richard Ellenbogen)


July 16, 2012

Triana Lavey was about to undergo a radical transformation. And she was doing it for a radical reason.

She wanted to look better online.

With the help of Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, she was changing her chin, her nose and the shape of her face.

Lavey is a 37-year-old television producer in Los   Angeles. For work and socially, she spends a lot of time on Skype, Facebook and other sites. She said she didn’t like the face staring back at her from her computer screen.

“I have been self-conscious about my chin, and it’s all stemming from these Facebook photos,” she told ABC News correspondent Cecilia Vega.

The more she saw herself online, the more she said she wanted to change. “I think that social media has really changed so much about how we look at ourselves and judge ourselves,” Lavey said. “Ten years ago, I don’t think I even noticed that I had a weak chin.”

Lavey tried to change the camera angle. She even untagged herself in photos she didn’t like. But none of it was enough.

“Here is a weak-chin photo that I didn’t untag myself in … because I was working out really hard that summer, and I am pleased with everything else in the photo,” Lavey said. “But it’s my darn chin that bugs the living daylights out of me in this photo. … You keep looking and looking, and now it’s the first thing I look for in a photo. It all started with Facebook.”

Surgery was the only way to fix it. Simply cutting down her social media use wasn’t an option. “That can’t happen. … Where my career is headed and the industry is headed, I have to be on social media,” Lavey said.

Lavey is not alone. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, chin augmentations have increased 71 percent in the last year. Doctors confirm that more and more patients are asking for the Facebook facelift — plastic surgery for the iPhone generation.

At Lavey’s consultation, Ellenbogen showed her what her new online-ready face would look like.

Ellenbogen explained that augmenting the chin should be balanced by adjustments to the rest of the face with procedures like fat grafting — adding a bit of fat to the face — and rhinoplasty (a nose job).

Given that social media are supposed to make life easier, did Lavey feel she was doing something extreme?

“Plastic surgery should be a last-ditch effort,” she said. “It should be after you work out, after you diet.”

“I am blessed; I can afford it,” she said. “I feel really lucky. I have worked my butt off, and I feel like if I can afford it, if it’s something I can do to feel good and feel confident, why not? It’s 2012.”

The surgery Lavey got costs between $12,000 and $15,000, Ellenbogen said. Lavey is a friend, so she got a discount.

Is our eager embrace of social media creating a culture of Internet narcissism? And can’t we just move the webcam to improve the angle from which it shoots us?

“It definitely is, and most people should do that,” Ellenbogen said, “but there are people who have tried to do that, to make themselves more attractive, and they just need a little bit of a boost.”

More than a month after her surgery, Lavey was ready to show her 692 Facebook friends her new face.

She said she felt more confident.

“It extends all the way from Skyping with people [to] having people tag me in a Facebook photo,” she said. “If the camera comes out at a party … I am fine with it. I am excited to see them. Before, I used to want to hold my chin, but now I want to show my face.”

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