Stretched out your earlobes? There’s cosmetic surgery for that!

At least there's one folly of youth that can be reversed: the overstretched earlobe. Cosmetic surgeons are busy these days performing an outpatient operation that reverses gauging, a procedure in which the lobes are deliberately stretched and widened. The half-hour long surgery costs anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 and is being requested by individuals who might have regrets about having their lobes stretched, according to Called otoplasty, or cosmetic surgery on the ear, the operation is often requested by people going on a job interview, says Dr. Angelo Cuzalina, president-elect of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. "It’s almost becoming a fad," he says. "People have the gauging procedure where they gradually stretch out their lobe so it has a giant hole that’s larger than a quarter. But then they want to join the workforce and think their chances for a job might be better if they didn’t have this." To perform the earlobe surgery, he explains, surgeons remove small strips of skin from the bottom of the lobe, the edges of the lobe are stitched back together and then skin tissue is used to re-create the shape of a normal ear lobe. Some doctors advise the person to take the dilators out of the lobes and see how much natural shrinkage there is before having surgery, says Dr. Darrick Antell, a plastic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. "The procedure itself is quite easy and you don’t even see the sutures since we use very tiny pieces of tan tape," he says. "Patients return to work that day, so there’s no down time." However, expect some scarring, Cuzalina says. The good news? "After several months, the person is able to wear regular earrings again," he says. For 16-year-old Daniel Bocchino, ear gauging was a three-year project that ended with an inch-wide hole in each lobe, according to Now 20, the Hackettstown, N.J., resident was tired of the look and asked for advice from Continue Reading

Teen cosmetic surgery linked to reality TV watching

Teen watchers of reality shows that focus on surgery and appearance are more likely to go under the knife themselves, a psychologist has found.Charlotte Markey, an associate professor of psychology at Rutgers University-Camden surveyed 200 young men and women and found that female viewers of reality shows, such as MTV's I Want a Famous Face, E's Dr. 90210 and Oxygen's Addicted to Beauty were more inclined to consider cosmetic procedures than those who didn't tune in, according to research published in the academic journal Body Image.Markey received handwritten responses to the cosmetic surgery show subjects that included comments like "inspirational" and "I saw an unhappy girl get her dreams.""There is a cultural context to never be satisfied with our physical selves. It's the rare person who is either completely oblivious or has developed such a strong counter message to not be affected,” says Markey."What troubles me is that there's no conclusive data that cosmetic surgery even makes people happier, what has been documented is that it makes repeat customers." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Protesters angry over ‘botax’ plan to add tax on all elective cosmetic surgery, including boob jobs

Don't tax our ta tas! That was the word Sunday from New York women outraged over a Washington proposal to add a 5% tax on all elective cosmetic surgery - everything from boob jobs to Botox to face-lifts. "It is unfair. A lot of people have to save up to get these procedures, and to add a tax is unbelievable," said Sina Mostel, 52, a banker from Forest Hills, Queens. "There should be other places to find the money." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) proposed the levy last month as a way to help fund the Senate's $848 billion health care bill. The so-called "botax," which could generate $6 billion over 10 years, would apply to "any procedure that is directed at improving the patient's appearance and does not meaningfully promote the proper function of the body or prevent or treat illness or diseases." The Web site, founded by plastic surgeons, is gathering signatures of opponents, hoping the proposal gets nipped and tucked as the controversial health care bill is debated. "The tax directly affects me," said Irma Cadiz, a 33-year-old South Bronx mother of two saving to pay for a tummy tuck with tips she earns as a hair stylist. Cadiz, one of a handful of people at a Times Square protest organized yesterday by Park Ave. plastic surgeon Dr. Stephen Greenberg, held a sign saying: "Washington leave our boobs alone." "I want to get the surgery. It will run from $6,000 to $9,000. Where do you draw the line? If I have a heart attack, will they tax that, too?" Cadiz asked. Greenberg said it's not just a tax on the rich. "They are saving every penny for themselves to look and feel better," he said about his middle-class patients who ante up the $7,000 he charges for breast enlargements. But Kristen Lamort, a pharmacy technician from Weehawken, N.J., said it's a fair way to pay for national health care. "If you can afford surgery, you can afford the tax," said Lamort, 19. "People need health care. I see it all the time Continue Reading

Cosmetic surgery booms in Saudi Arabia; clerics consider the intersection of beauty and religion

Saudi Arabia is witnessing a boom in demand for cosmetic surgeries and procedures by the country’s women, according to the Associated Press. In a country where lifestyle is largely dictated by religion, Saudi Arabia has seen a growing interest in the past few years in cosmetic procedures – once thought of as indulgences of the Western world. In fact, the country’s cosmetic practices are causing clerics to contend with new questions about the intersection of beauty and faith: Does the Islamic faith allow for various cosmetic surgeries, such as nose jobs, breast implants or liposuction? Sheik Mohammed al-Nujaimi, a Saudi cleric, uses guidelines that were reached in a meeting between plastic surgeons and clergymen three years ago to determine which procedures religion allows. "I get calls from many, many women asking about cosmetic procedures," al-Nujaimi told the Associated Press. "The presentations we got from the doctors made me better equipped to give them guidance." The meeting between the clerics and surgeons three years ago attempted to reconcile whether certain cosmetic procedures are in conflict with the Islamic belief that God’s creation should not be tampered with. The outcome was that procedures intended to reverse damage or disfigurement from an accident, or procedures that enhance or fix features that cause a person grief, are considered acceptable. Procedures or surgeries that would change a "perfect nose" to more resemble the shape of a celebrity’s nose, are generally frowned upon. Previously rare in Saudi Arabia, there are now about 35 plastic surgery centers in the capital city of Riyadh. A recent study of the trend indicated that liposuction, breast augmentations and nose jobs were the most popular procedures among women, and that hair implants and nose jobs were most popular among men, as reported by the Associated Press. For Saudi women, who are required to cover most of their Continue Reading

Interest in cosmetic surgery procedures varies depending on where you live

Interested in a buttock implant? The odds are you’re not a New Yorker. But if getting a nose job is on your radar, it’s more likely you live in the Northeast, where 55% more searches for this operation were performed than in other areas of the country, according to new data released by In the South, interest in body slimming is high - there are 20% more searches for tummy tucks, liposuction and other fat-battling operations, according to the data. The Pacific Northwest has a big interest in breast reduction surgery. In fact, that geographic region outpaces others by 67% in terms of searches. “We looked at our logs - we’re talking millions of searches - in order to map (regional) consumer interest,” founder and president Tom Seery told “There were definitely some interesting findings.” Here in New York, breast augmentation is the most popular cosmetic procedure, says cosmetic surgeon Dr. Neil Sadick, a board member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, who has a private practice on Park Ave. Breast reduction is second, followed by breast lifting and then liposuction. “Face-lifts are still popular but not as much because we now have improved skin tightening laser and radio frequency technologies,” Sadick says. “So women don’t see the need to have face-lift surgery. It’s also less popular due to the economy.” Nose jobs are big in the Northeast. Not only are they a big search item, but the data shows that 30% of all nose reshaping operations occur in New England and the Middle Atlantic regions. “Some of it is related to the society and to the culture,” American Society of Plastic Surgeons president Dr. Michel McGuire told Buttock implants are more popular in the South Atlantic region than anywhere else in the U.S., according to the data. A lot of South Americans live in the Florida area, McGuire points Continue Reading

Male breast reduction gaining popularity; fastest growing cosmetic surgery in U.K., up in U.S.

Women aren't the only ones unhappy with too-large breasts. For the second year in a row, male breast reduction surgery was the fastest growing segment of the cosmetic surgery industry in England, according to the BBC News. And while such a jump in cases hasn't been seen in the U.S., it's definitely a popular operation here, too, cosmetic surgeons say. "We've seen an increase," says cosmetic surgeon Dr. Robert Cattani, board member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. "In the last five years, I personally have done 200 to 300 male breast reductions per year." The number of breast reductions in England went from 323 in 2008 to 581 last year, which is an 80% increase, according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. In the U.S., there were 18,000 male breast reductions for men in 2008, the last year for which figures are available, estimates the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Among cosmetic surgery procedures for men in the U.S. breast reduction ranks fourth, after nose "reshaping," eyelid surgery and liposuction, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Though the number of male breast reductions in the U.S. in 2008 showed a 16% decrease from the previous year, this could be for economic reasons. Male breast reduction is generally not covered by health insurance. In England, one surgeon said that the pressure on males to have their breasts surgically reduced came from men's magazines. "Many men are feeling the pressure from men's magazines that weren't even being published five or six years ago," Rajiv Grover, a consultant plastic surgeon, told the BBC. "In addition, they are just realizing that they can get something done about it." Excess breast tissue, or gynecomastia, can be due to obesity, says Dr. Malcolm Roth, director of plastic surgery at Maimonides Medical Center. "Obesity impacts the size of a man's breasts," he says. "I caution any patient before they get surgery to make certain Continue Reading

Boob-job biz sagging: Economic meltdown is causing many to delay cosmetic surgery, survey says

Manhattan cosmetic surgeon Lawrence Milgrim doesn't need to read the latest analysis of his industry to know he's getting nipped and tucked by the economy. "We've had a dropoff just because of the economic environment," said Milgrim. "Some of the larger procedures have dropped off more than some of the smaller procedures." "I think today the gestalt is, 'Don't change me, just make me look better than I am now.'" A study released Monday shows Milgrim isn't the only plastic surgeon hurting. Cosmetic surgical procedures have plummeted 15% in the past year, and nonsurgical procedures are down 12%, according to the survey by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Nationwide, breast augmentations, which cost up to $4,000, fell from nearly 400,000 in 2007 to 355,671 last year. Tummy tucks, which run $5,400, were down by 37,943 cases, while the number of $2,800 eyelid surgeries was off by 45,659. Even $443 Botox injections dropped from 2.7 million in 2007 to 2.4 million last year. Overall, the number of cosmetic surgeries in the U.S. has fallen from a high of 11.8 million in 2004 to 10.2 million last year. The study showed that while patients are postponing surgical procedures that require weeks to heal, they are opting for quick fixes. Laser skin resurfacings, which range from $1,100 to $2,000, jumped 12%. Milgrim said the resurfacing procedures have helped him offset his losses. "You can actually have recovery within three to seven days after the procedure," said Milgrim, explaining that improvements in lasers and the training of surgeons have also made resurfacing procedures more popular. Economic doldrums or not, younger people are more willing to undergo cosmetic surgery than ever before, the survey shows. "Two-thirds of 18-to-24-year-olds approve of cosmetic surgery, despite the economy taking such a huge chunk out of actual buyers," authors of the study noted. The survey determined that "25-to-34-year-olds are rated Continue Reading

Kanye West’s mom dies after cosmetic surgery

Hip-hop superstar Kanye West was mourning the death of his beloved mom Monday night, who died after cosmetic surgery that at least one doctor told her could be dangerous.Sources say Donda West, 58, received a combination breast reduction and tummy tuck and likely suffered uncontrolled bleeding after going home to recover from the radical operation. One plastic surgeon who saw Donda West in June said he recommended she first get a cardiac stress test from an internist because of her age. He said she also asked if she could recuperate at home. He said no. "Donda was pushing me, 'Can I go home after surgery?' But I told her it just doesn't work that way," said Dr. Andre Aboolian of Beverly Hills. "The most dangerous time after surgery is the first 48 hours. I told her you have to go to an overnight care facility with nurses who look after you." Aboolian called West a "sweet" woman who almost talked herself out of the procedure during their conversation. "She said she didn't deserve to have this done. She kept asking, 'Do I really need this?'" he recalled. "It's not like she was being vain. It was heavy on her body." West, a former chairwoman of the English Department at Chicago State University, died at 8:29p.m. Saturday at Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center in Marina Del Rey, Calif. "She was brought by paramedics to our emergency room on Saturday evening. She was in full arrest when she arrived," a hospital spokeswoman said. "She had a cosmetic surgery, but not at our hospital." The Los Angeles County Coroner plans an autopsy by tomorrow, said LAPD Lt. Fred Corral. "We're looking at possible complications of surgery." A spokesman for Kanye West, the top-selling singer and producer, said the family "asks for privacy during this time of grief." Death from cosmetic surgery is relatively rare, occurring in just one of 51,459 operations, according to the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. "If, for God's sake, the surgeon tells you it's too risky, don't find Continue Reading

From dream to nightmare: Cosmetic surgery disasters

Fans of hip-hop megastar Kanye West were stunned to learn of his mother's death this month following a combination tummy tuck and breast reduction.Since the Nov. 9 procedure in a Los Angeles strip-mall storefront, Donda West's plastic surgeon, Dr.Jan Adams, has come under scrutiny. California officials are debating whether to let him keep his medical license after two arrests for drunken driving. And he has been sued for malpractice at least 10 times.Fatal cosmetic surgeries are extremely rare, occurring in just one of more than 51,459 cases, experts say. But they are devastating to patients' families.Even bungled operations that aren't lethal still have lasting consequences:Complications turned fatal after face-lift and nose job Irishwoman Kay Cregan flew to New York for a face-lift and nose job her family never imagined she wanted.The mother of two didn't come home."I believe when you meet me that you will think me suitable for that procedure (I am 42 years old but look 56-58 approx). I have become very self-conscious when meeting people and [I am] becoming more and more anti-social by the day," she wrote in an e-mail to Dr. Michael Sachs, according to records her sister, Agnes Kelly, gave to the Daily News following Cregan's death on March 17, 2005. Kelly told The News then that she didn't believe her sister would have chosen Sachs had she known how often he had been sued. He has made 27 malpractice payments in the past decade, according to state records, and has at least nine malpractice cases pending against him, according to a search of news reports. Kelly could not be located, and Cregan's widower, Liam, declined to comment through his lawyer.Cregan died following complications from the surgery, the New York City medical examiner ruled in May 2005. But Sachs' lawyer insisted Wednesday that the surgery "absolutely did not" kill her."Nothing my client did or didn't do had anything whatsoever to do with Ms. Cregan's unfortunate death," said the lawyer, Mark Continue Reading

Iowa obstetrician ordered to halt practice amid safety concerns at cosmetic-surgery clinic

A Davenport obstetrician has been ordered to stop practicing medicine amid concerns about the safety of his cosmetic-surgery clinic and the veracity of claims he made in advertising for it.Leroy Yates Jr.'s “continued treatment of patients constitutes an immediate danger to the public health, safety and welfare,” the Iowa Board of Medicine declared in an order released this week.The board, which licenses physicians, filed numerous administrative charges last year against Yates, 62. Among them were “gross malpractice” and “willful or gross negligence.”The board said Yates practiced cosmetic surgery without taking proper training; delegated anesthesia services to unqualified staff members; and used intravenous anesthesia unsafely in his office, without the proper resuscitation equipment available. The board said his patients suffered excessive surgical complications, including infections. It also said he “used untruthful or improbable statements in advertisements, including … self-laudatory claims that imply that the licensee is skilled in a field or specialty of practice for which the licensee is not qualified.”When he was first charged last year, Yates had a website for a clinic called "Diamond Medical Spa & Vein," which promised “maximum results” from “minimally invasive” techniques. The website was no longer public on Friday. The regulators also said the physician suffers from an unspecified medical condition that impairs his professional abilities.The board last week took the relatively rare step of prohibiting Yates from practicing medicine while regulators continue to investigate the matter. The board usually takes such action only after holding a formal hearing. In this case, the board filed an emergency order before Yates’ hearing, which is set for Dec. 14.Yates did not respond to a request for comment.  Continue Reading