American Chronicle: An Inside Look at Cosmetic Surgery

An Inside Look at Cosmetic Surgery by Gail Nystrom

— Sunday, March 4, 2007

Robert Smith and Associates


Dr. Wendy Ann Olivier 


As we head into Spring many Americans will be looking on the Internet to learn more about plastic surgery. They will have tons of information at their fingertips.

There are challenges that patients and doctors face when it comes to plastic surgery.

Although plastic surgeons have been glamorized by the media they still have their challenges and issues.

In my practice the biggest challenge appears to be balancing the patient’s desire to get back to work or back to their usual activities as possible and obtaining a result worthy of doing surgery or a procedure on the patient. Misleading claims in some false advertising is also a big problem. For example, some doctors use Radiofrequency chemical peel treatments produce little, if any improvement overall and selling the patient on the idea that their face continues to improve for three to six months. The standard of care today for facial resurfacing and improvement is Co2 laser resurfacing. In our practice we have been using a fractionated Co2 laser which allows the skin to heal in five days producing a visible and significant improvement that the patient may both see and enjoy,” says Dr. Jay Rosenberg of Valley Plastic Surgery Center in West Dundee, IL.

According to leading plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Persky, “ The greatest challenge is achieving excellent cosmetic results on our patients. The best case scenario is when both the patient and the surgeon are happy with the end result. The recent upswing about plastic surgery in magazines and aggressive marketing by makers of Botox, Restylane, and others has been both good and bad for our profession. Another big challenge is encouraging patient interest yet dealing with unrealistic expectations.”

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Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jay Birnbaum adds,” My biggest challenges can be divided into two categories. The first has to do with all the issues related to safe delivery of surgical care to my patients. This starts with the initial consultation where I allow adequate time for the patient and doctor to become acquainted. The other category relates to the business side of the practice. The current climate of medical insurance is at a near crisis level. Although insurers are mandated by law to cover breast reconstruction after mastectomy there is no guideline that mandates the fee structure. We spend countless hours pursuing these companies in advocating for our patients.”

Dr. Herve Gentile of Corpus Christ, TX ( said,” I feel one of the biggest challenges facing board certified plastic surgeons is the insurgency of many physicians claiming to practice plastic surgery without the proper training and experience. I’m worried about patient safety since there are so many doctors calling themselves plastic surgeons. I don’t have a problem with the non plastic surgery trained physician who does Botox injections to correct wrinkles in the frown lines but with the doctor who injects Botox or other soft tissue fillers in areas where there is no expected improvement. To the lay person there is no clear distinction from so called plastic surgeons copying or using some variations of certifications to appear board certified.”

Dr. Scott Trimas, a Board Certified doctor, told us that he deals with an influx of other surgeons who have not had formalized training performing cosmetic procedures. I know primary care physicians that are offering Botox and hair laser removal. Physicians are venturing into cosmetic surgery to increase revenue.

The biggest challenge facing top surgeon Dr. H. Michael Bass of Fort Lauderdale is, “ Dealing with unrealistic expectations of patients. It is incumbent upon plastic surgeons to ensure that they do not give their patients promises they cannot keep or allow patients to expect results they cannot deliver.

Please contact Dr. H. Michael Bass at 954-267-9030 for more information.

My four biggest challenges are dealing with declining reimbursement from health insurance companies, handling unrealistic goals and expectations from patients, lack of education in some communities regarding a women’s right to breast reconstruction, and an increase in teenage plastic cosmetic surgery requests. Dr. Wendy-Ann Olivier is a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in breast surgery, body contouring, and facial rejuvenation. Dr. Olivier currently practices plastic surgery in New York, with offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn. As an artist, Dr. Olivier brings to her surgical practice, superior professional training blended with artistic skills. As a cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Olivier works with her patients to enhance their beauty, providing both balance and rejuvenation. As a reconstructive surgeon, she works to restore form and function.

Dr. Robert Shumway of Shumway Institute in La Jolla, CA says,” My biggest challenge is teaching the next generations of cosmetic surgeons. Dr. Shumway is the founder and director of The Shumway Institute of Laser & Cosmetic Surgery located on the Scripps Memorial Hospital Campus in La Jolla. Both Dr. Shumway and his staff are dedicated to the aesthetic enhancement of their patients through laser and plastic surgery procedures. His many areas of expertise include facial plastic surgery, ultrasonic and tumescent liposculpture, the latest advancements in laser surgery, breast enhancement, vein therapy, and customized laser peels. He also offers the latest in BOTOX®, collagen, and other injectable fillers.