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Don't Be Fooled By Impostor Surgeons

Up and down the East Coast of the United States, a rash of impostor plastic surgery clinics have been popping up in hotel rooms, warehouses and dark basements. Run by so-called doctors, these clinics profess to save the patient a lot of money on everything from Botox to lip and buttock fillers. But while these illegal clinics may save patients a lot of money, they could end up costing those patients their lives.

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Get a Nose Fit for a Princess

It may not be possible for most of us to be real-life princesses, but now we can at least look a bit more like one. That’s because plastic surgeons everywhere are noticing a steady incline in the number of patients requesting the nose of soon-to-be princess Meghan Markle. The American actress grew famous in the United States thanks to her role on the USA Network show "Suits," but she has gained far more notoriety recently due to her high-profile romance and engagement to Prince Harry.

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Airport Plastic Surgery Is a Dangerous Idea

According to reports, Seoul, South Korea’s Incheon International Airport is building a plastic surgery clinic – right inside the airport. While this may be seen as a smart move by some - especially jet-setting patients looking for a quick pick-me-up before takeoff - many surgeons are concerned that it could cause more harm than good.

Dr. Carlos Pou is a plastic surgeon in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He believes airport-based surgery clinics are a dangerous idea for many reasons.

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Is Snapchat Giving Plastic Surgeons a Bad Name?

In a time when it’s almost impossible to remove anything from the internet, the app-based social media platform Snapchat seems like a safer alternative to the standard web-based social media sites. The app, which is estimated to have about 150 million active users, is used by everyone from average joes to celebrities, and even some plastic surgeons. But now, a growing number of professional associations and surgeons are speaking out against using the social platform for sharing videos.

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'Real Housewives' Star Raises Questions About Plastic Surgery and Pregnancy

Fans of the popular Bravo reality show The Real Housewives of Dallas were saddened to learn that one of the show’s stars, Brandi Redmond, recently suffered a miscarriage. Redmond revealed the miscarriage on a recent episode, when visiting her OB/GYN. Though miscarriages are quite common (an estimated one in four recognized pregnancies ends in miscarriage), Redmond questioned whether a recent "mommy makeover" package of plastic surgery procedures may be to blame for the loss.

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Social Media Not a Safe Bet When Selecting a Surgeon

Scrolling through your Instagram feed to find post-op images of plastic surgery patients sounds like a smart way to find a surgeon capable of creating the look you want. But looks can be deceiving. According to a new study by Northwestern Medicine, many of the most popular plastic surgery photos on Instagram are posted by providers who are ineligible for membership in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 

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Plastic Surgery Trend Alert: Dimpleplasties!

Long considered a sign of youthfulness and beauty, dimples are coveted by many but possessed by few. In fact, dimples are so rare, they only occur in about 20 percent of the population. But there’s good news for the other 80 percent of us who always wanted dimples and weren’t born with them. A relatively unknown procedure called dimpleplasty is on the rise, and it can help create those coveted little dents -- for a price.

What sets dimpled people apart from those without dimples is essentially a fluke, according to Dr. Carlos Pou, a plastic surgeon in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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Woman Nearly Loses Entire Upper Lip Following Discount Fillers

From celebrities to stay-at-home moms, women everywhere are getting lip fillers, and many more likely would if it weren’t for the cost. With average prices ranging from $500 to $2,000, the procedure can put a lot of pressure on the average budget. That’s why when Siobhan Phelan of Essex, England, saw a Facebook ad for a local salon offering greatly discounted lip fillers, she jumped at the chance to save some money. Unfortunately for Phelan, the unlicensed beautician who did her treatment nearly cost Phelan her lips.

It happened when the beautician (whose name and salon have been withheld) accidentally injected the fillers into an artery in Phelan’s lip, causing the lip to swell up to five times its normal size. Phelan’s lip became so enlarged that doctors who treated her at Broomfield Hospital of Chelmsford told her she was within minutes of losing her entire lip. Phelan suffered no permanent damage from the accident, but the outcome could have been far worse.

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Should Plastic Surgeons Be Snapchatting Surgical Procedures?

If you're in-the-know about popular apps and social platforms, you’ve probably heard of Snapchat. Developed in 2011 by three Stanford University grads, the popular photo- and video-sharing app started out as a school project and is now worth an estimated $25 billion. Today’s Snapchat isn’t just for college kids and teens, though. It’s soaring in popularity among users of all ages, and even among certain businesses. From coffee shops to hair salons, many businesses have their own Snapchat account, but one type of business in particular using Snapchat is raising a lot of eyebrows: plastic surgery centers. 

So, what’s the big draw to Snapchatting plastic surgery, and who, if anyone, is watching?

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Should You Be Concerned About Plastic Surgery Apps for Kids?

No matter what your stance on allowing children to play games and videos on phones or tablets, it’s hard to deny that these devices can play a valuable role in teaching young children. From learning shapes and colors to making mini-movies or playing games with friends, tablet apps have revolutionized how kids learn and play.

But along with the myriad benefits of these devices, there are some drawbacks, too. One app in particular is drawing a lot of criticism from parents. Called Princess Plastic Surgery, the game is exclusive to users in the Middle East. The app features colorful cartoon princesses and allows users to give them virtual plastic surgery body makeovers. But, are these apps really that bad for children, or is it all much ado about nothing?

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Gender Confirmation Surgeries Increased in 2016

Gender confirmation surgeries are on the rise in the United States, according to data released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons last month.  According to the ASPS figures, this type of surgery soared 19 percent between 2015 and 2016, with 3,250 surgeries completed last year.

Gender confirmation surgeries are defined as any surgery that is performed on a transgender patient to help that person better reflect their gender identity. Gender confirmation is a broad term to describe many different surgical procedures and can be anything from breast augmentation to rhinoplasty, to reducing the Adam’s apple (chondrolaryngoplasty) to gender reassignment and more.

So, what is the reason behind this sharp increase in procedures? Dr. Carlos Pou of San Juan, Puerto Rico believes it is a combination of several factors.

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A New Kind of Plastic Surgery ‘Hack’ Has Patients Worried

When you think of the word ‘hacking’ when it comes to plastic surgery, you probably envision some sort of surgical technique used to remove unwanted features, but that wasn’t the case this past May, when the servers of Lithuanian plastic surgery chain Grozio Chirurgija were hacked by a group calling themselves Tsar Team. Following the hack, many patients were shocked to receive texts and emails blackmailing them for upwards of 2000 euros ($2253 USD), or risk their before and after surgical photos and sensitive information being published online.

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More People Spending Tax Refunds on Plastic Surgery in 2017



With winter layers coming off and warmer weather fast approaching, another season has ended, and its harvest is helping usher in myriad summer makeovers around America. That season is tax season, and this year more people than ever are expected to use their tax refunds on cosmetic procedures. In fact, a recent survey by Real Self found that more people are choosing cosmetic procedures this year than any other investment. According to the cosmetic surgery website, a full 36 percent of people surveyed are planning on spending some or all of their tax refund on plastic surgery this year. So, what is it about this time of year that makes tax refund money such a great fit for plastic surgery procedures? Dr. Carlos Pou of San Juan, Puerto Rico has a few ideas.

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Victims of Childhood Bullying More Likely to Want Cosmetic Surgery

 

A recent study conducted by the University of Warwick in Coventry, U.K. has revealed that children who are bullied may have a greater desire to undergo plastic surgery procedures in the future. The University of Warwick study surveyed 752 children between the ages of 11-16 who were bullied or admitted to bullying other children. The researchers discovered that bullying victims did have a higher interest in future cosmetic procedures, but more surprisingly so did the bullies themselves.  In fact, a full 11.5 percent of bullied teens were found to have an extreme desire for cosmetic surgery, while 3.4 percent of bullies had the same desires.

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Shedding Skin After Weight Loss

Reality TV fans around the world were recently shocked to see the transformation of infamous pageant-mom-turned-reality-star "Mama" June Shannon, who underwent gastric sleeve weight-loss surgery, reportedly losing over 300 pounds and transforming her body down to a size four. Shannon underwent the procedure in 2015, and has spent the past two years adopting a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise. But while this type of dramatic weight should help eliminate a lot of health problems that Shannon and others who are morbidly obese may face, extreme weight losses like Shannon’s often create an entirely new problem for the patient: the accumulation of excess skin. It's a problem that  Dr. Carlos Pou of Instituto Orbitofacial in San Juan, Puerto Rico sees in many of his patients, and there is a solution. A family of plastic surgery procedures known as body contouring can help patients eliminate the excess skin that may be left behind following major weight loss.

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The Tight-Lipped Truth about Lip Reductions

For nearly the past two decades, full lips have been all the rage thanks to celebrities like Angelina Jolie, whose famous mouth singlehandedly changed the Hollywood standard of beauty and paved the way for fuller-lipped women to make their mark on the beauty world. The pursuit of the perfect pout has become a global obsession that spans age, race and even gender.  From fillers to implants to over the counter products that promise bee-stung or plump lips, adding volume to the lips has been a costly pursuit. A recent report by InStyle magazine claims that women spend an average of $1750 just on lipstick over the course of a lifetime. According to Seventeen Magazine, one popular volumizing lip kit that retails for $27 continues to sell out and is now fetching over $1000 on secondary sites like eBay.  With all that devotion to creating the perfect full lip, a new trend in plastic surgery is causing quite a stir: lip reduction. Lip reductions are one of the fastest-growing trends in plastic surgery right now. But it's a trend that plastic surgeons like Dr. Carlos Pou of Instituto Orbitofacial in San Juan, Puerto Rico are cautioning patients to think long and hard about before undergoing.

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Plastic Surgery and Body Dysmorphic Disorder

If you’re like most people, you probably have one or two things you’d like to change about your face or body. In fact, even the most beautiful people have things they wish they could change. Maybe you wish you had bigger breasts or a smaller nose, or that you had whiter teeth or fuller lips.  For most people, the desire for this type of minor change is just a healthy aspiration, and not cause for concern. But for a small portion of the population with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, the focus on "flaws" can be a dangerous obsession- an obsession that surgeons like Dr. Carlos Pou of San Juan, Puerto Rico are increasingly recognizing in potential patients.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD is a severe psychiatric disorder wherein a person fixates on one or more aspects of their appearance that they perceive as flaws. These flaws may be real, or in some cases their severity may be greatly exaggerated or not existent at all. According to a study published in the February 2017 issue of the journal Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, entitled Cosmetic Professionals Awareness of Body Dysmorphic Disorder researchers found that approximately two percent of the population suffers from BDD, but that number is far more prevalent in the plastic surgery world. In fact, surgeons like Pou estimate that upwards of 10-15 percent of patients seeking plastic surgery could be suffering from this dangerous disorder.

So, how does a surgeon know if a patient has BDD, and what should a surgeon do if he or she suspects a case of BDD? According to Pou, the answer isn’t always clear.

"Patients with BDD often hide it very well from plastic surgeons." Pou said.

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Paying for Plastic Surgery: The Best Ways to Finance Your Procedure

With tax refund season upon us, many Americans are suddenly finding themselves flush with extra cash. For some, this surprise windfall will be used towards dream vacations, home renovations, or paying down credit card debt. For an increasing number of others, this year’s tax refund will be used towards another kind of renovation project: plastic surgery. But, while some are fortunate enough to have this found-money to use on surgical procedures, an increasingly large portion of the population is going into debt for the same procedures. Dr. Carlos Pou of Instituto Orbitofacial in San Juan, Puerto Rico discusses the best way to pay for your plastic surgery procedure this spring.

For some people, tax season is the real ‘most wonderful time of the year.’ Knowing you’ve got a big refund headed your way can make the stress of filing your taxes worth it. With a newly-padded bank account and spring break and summer just around the corner, tax refund season is also the perfect time to schedule a plastic surgery procedure. However, for those who’ve had less fortunate dealings with the tax-man this time of year, funding those special procedures may require some extra creativity.

A recent report by MarketWatch found that more men than ever before are going into serious debt to obtain plastic surgery procedures. Everything from credit card debt, to surgery loans through their surgeon’s office, to early 401k cash-ins, to home equity loans are being used to fund these procedures. But these loans can come at a high cost- with many charging upwards of 30 percent interest- and putting patients at risk of losing their home if the debt is not satisfied. So, is it worth the risk to finance a plastic surgery procedure? Or should patients wait years or even decades to save money and pay cash for these procedures? Pou believes the answer lies somewhere in between. 

"If you can easily afford to make payments on your procedure without having to struggle to make ends meet in the meantime, then I see nothing wrong with financing," he said. "But if you are already maxed-out, and living paycheck-to-paycheck, you may want to reconsider the timing of your procedure."

Pou says the best way to fund any procedure is obviously cash, but for those who don’t want to wait to save up the funds required for their surgery, he advises patients to do their research. 

"Just as you would with the surgeon and the procedure itself, when it comes to financing your surgery, do your research." Pou said. 

He recommends prior to financing your procedure, speak with a financial advisor, accountant, or use a free budget calculator app or website to figure out how much you can afford to pay each month. This will prevent you from taking on too much debt, and allow you a safety net for months you may have otherwise needed to miss a payment. 

"Everyone wants to look and feel their best- but you won’t be feeling your best if you ruin your credit or lose your home over a debt you can’t afford to pay," Pou said. "Of course, we want to treat you, but not at the cost of lowering your quality of life. These procedures will still be here when you’re ready for them, and you’ll enjoy your results a lot more if you aren’t constantly stressed out over how to pay for them."

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Brexit Putting the Kibosh on Brow Lifts in Britain

Recent reports out of the UK have revealed that following last year’s ‘Brexit,’ or the UK’s vote to part with the European Union, plastic surgery procedures in Great Britain dropped dramatically.  Despite this drop, some procedures stayed popular- but the amount of brow lifts (also known as a forehead lift or a browplasty) performed in Britain dropped by 71% over the previous year.  This news has left many consumers wondering, what is a brow lift- and why did it take such a dramatic hit in 2016? We discussed this fascinating story with Dr. Carlos Pou of Instituto Orbitofacial in San Juan, PR.

A brow lift is a procedure which quite literally lifts the forehead and tissues of the eyebrows up higher on the face to reveal a more rested, youthful look. There are several types of brow lift, which mainly differ in the type of incisions and invasiveness. An endoscopic brow lift is done in an operating room under general or local anesthesia with sedation and requires the use of a tiny camera that allows your surgeon to see the deep tissues of your brow on a screen as he operates. The endoscope and tools used to perform the surgery are inserted through incisions made in the scalp, hidden within the hair. The forehead and brow are then ‘lifted,’ by sliding them up without removing skin and anchoring them with dissolving screws or retaining sutures. The incisions are then sutured for closure, revealing a less ‘heavy’ or ‘angry’ appearance, with less sagging and fewer deep furrows.



So, given all the benefits and the impressive results of the brow lift surgery, why did this procedure, in particular, take such a huge hit last year? Dr. Pou has his theories "With the economy in Britain and the UK being so uncertain, it seems like British consumers attempted to reduce ‘unnecessary’ spending such as cosmetic procedures. To a surgeon, the brow lift seems like an obvious choice, because for example, if you are attempting to correct deep lines on your forehead, for example, you can often achieve the same look using Botox or fillers." Dr. Pou theorizes that patients likely saved themselves the expense of the costlier brow lift surgery and instead opted for the less-expensive Botox or filler injections, at least until the economy stabilizes. "Injectable treatments can go a long way for a lot less money. However, the results are not permanent like a full brow lift is. With Botox or fillers, you are looking at a refresher every 3-6 months- and there are still things that a brow lift can do that an injectable can not-  like lifting a heavy or sagging brow, for example."

But, Dr. Pou for one believes those patients who may have eschewed a brow lift, for the time being, will likely be back "I think we’ll see a resurgence in UK brow lifts in coming years," he says. "For patients who are truly good candidates for this surgery, Botox can really only address part of the problem. Many patients try injectable treatments prior to investing in a full brow lift, and if the results truly were identical, I don’t think there would be a market for brow lifts at all." For now, though he expects the British plastic surgery market to remain cool until there are more definitive answers with the state of the union. "Once people are more certain of the economy, they’ll invest more in their well-being again," he says "and with all the stress this kind of situation puts on your body, I’m sure a lot more people will feel like they need some rejuvenation when all is said and done."

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Can Botox Beat the Blues?

It’s no myth that when you look good, you feel good- but did you know that improving your appearance with the use of Botox can help alleviate the symptoms of clinical depression? A recent study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research revealed that patients treated with Botox noticed a 61% improvement in depression symptoms, while patients who received a placebo only noticed a 12% improvement. We discussed this phenomenon with Dr. Carlos Pou, a plastic surgeon in San Juan, PR who uses Botox in his practice.

The Botox study, entitled Emotional proprioception: Treatment of depression with afferent facial feedback and its findings is based on the concept of emotional proprioception, which according to Dr. Pou basically means "the ability of your facial expressions to influence and exhibit your mood." Or, in other words, if you look at yourself in the mirror and see yourself looking angry, sad, or depressed, you are more likely to feel angry, sad, or depressed. On the other hand, if you feel angry, sad, or depressed and then look at yourself in the mirror, you are more likely to look that way. "It’s your classic vicious cycle," says Dr. Pou.

In the study, researchers treated two groups of participants: one control group was treated with a placebo, while the other was treated with Botox. Both groups received injections to the corrugator muscle of the eyebrow. The patients who received the injection of Botox demonstrated an elevated mood, and markedly lessened symptoms of depression, while those who received the placebo noticed almost no difference in their depression symptoms or mood at all.

Researchers hope this link between mood and facial expression may lead to new treatment options for patients suffering from depression. "This opens the door for patients with depression to integrate Botox into their treatment plan," says Dr. Pou. While Botox may not yet be able to cure clinical depression, for now, it could provide a big enough mood boost to help complement other treatments, like anti-depressants and therapy.

For his part, Dr. Pou thinks Botox as an antidepressant is a great idea. "Botox has almost no side effects, and one treatment lasts between 3-6 months, so you won’t have to remember to take a pill every day." He says. "The cherry on top is that you look better while using it. Name another anti-depressant that can do all that."

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