Medical (mis) information

If you haven't heard of Wikipedia yet, you will. It's an online encyclopedia with the idea that users will contribute the information and the online community will police itself with millions of potential editors to correct percieved inacuracies in the entries. It's the same philosophy of shareware software groups and the LINUX developer communities that contribute and modify software code.

This "group" model has been astoundingly succesful in software applications, with essentially free operating systems running many Fortune 500 companies' servers.

Well, check out Wikipedia's entries on medical topics and you see the potential for chaos when anyone with an agenda can unrelentingly control the content. Recently I added a good bit of content to the breast implant entry which was essentially neutral point-of-view and summarized the tort-insanity of the early 1990's silicone "crisis" as well as the numerous studies which failed to link gel implants to many of the auto-immune phenomena claimed in the lawsuits. Immeadiately this attracted the attention of a militant anti-silicone crusader who proceded to turn the topic into an unrecognizable distortion of the consensus data.

The following were quotes from this anonymous editor in the comments section:

"I know that my ruptured silicone implants nearly killed me"

"I must say that you are correct when you suggest that I am suspicious of doctors. I am particularly suspicious of plastic surgeons who benefit financially by the approval of silicone implants"

"This 'neutral' editing does a disservice to any article about silicone breast implants and the women who are interested in these issues"

"My personal opinion is that an FDA of this White House administration is more likely to approve silicone implants than a different FDA. Bush has not shown he is interested in consumer safety."

Does that sound like someone qualified to chime in on this topic in a neutral point of-view position? Surveying other controversial topics like Vaccines and alleged autism links, you see a great deal of partisan activist treatment of these topics.

Bottom line: medical information on unedited (professionally) sites should be viewed skeptically. That goes for my writing too BTW.

Rob Oliver Jr. MD

Plastic Surgery Goes Mainstream

Plastic surgery has historically been viewed as an exclusive and costly service only the rich and famous could afford to pursue. Not anymore.

With even the most dramatic and promising cosmetic surgery procedures becoming safer, more common and far less complicated than ever as well as a growing inventory of options now available for financing, plastic surgery of all forms is becoming an increasingly popular life-enhancement choice for the middle class.

As a plastic surgeon in California I can say that our plastic surgery center in Beverly Hills is a good case in point. People in the entertainment industry seeking enhancement surgeries and other cosmetic reconstruction now share seats in our waiting room with mothers from the suburbs, college coeds and a growing number of men from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. At our center, we may have many clients from the entertainment industry, but we treat everybody like a celebrity.

There is a distinct demographic shift taking place today. Plastic surgery is becoming a growing phenomenon among the middle class because the perception that it is exclusively an option for rich white women is waning. We are seeing people from all walks of life seeking cosmetic surgery – people from a wide variety of age groups, ethnicities, family situations, and economic stations.

Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery also offers our patients customized financing packages to cover individual procedures, such the "Rodeo Drive Mommy Makeover" a popular choice for large numbers of Latino women in their 20's and 30's. The mommy makeover includes a tummy tuck, breast lift and frequently a breast augmentation with a small breast implant. The procedure helps the moms get their body back to the way it was before they began having babies.

Financing surgery is becoming a popular option for those who do not have cash set aside. Others are socking money away for a variety of procedures, much as they would for any luxury item or family vacation. A lot of people save up for the surgery, and others chose to do financing. They are shifting their views on the expenses involved and see surgery as an important investment and first step toward an enhancement plan for the rest of their lives.

Part of the change comes because today’s plastic surgery is performed using improved technology. This results in less expensive and safer procedures with less down time. So now people with responsibilities both at work and at home can take time out for procedures, removing plastic surgery from the exclusive provenance of the leisure class.

We also are doing most cosmetic surgery procedures in outpatient surgery centers which greatly improves the ease and convenience of procedures when compared to those done in the hospital setting.

For more information, please visit or email us at

Insurance Program for Cosmetic Surgery

There's an interesting new service available with cosmetic plastic surgery. Cosmet Assure, is an insurance program covering complications from many of the larger cosmetic procedures. For less then $200 you can purchase up to almost $250,000 of coverage for catastrophic care.

What many patient's don't realize, is that your health insurance contract usually has some disclaimer that lets them refuse to cover any complications specifically from cosmetic surgery. This is not always enforced, but there are a number of horror stories where a patient has had a severe infection or pulmonary embolus (blood clot to the lungs) requiring VERY expensive hospital care and their insurer has subsequently refused to pay for their care.

I have no financial stake in CosmetAssure which is based here in Alabama and the brain-child of local Plastic Surgeon, Dr. James Grotting. However, like many of my surgical mentors, I have decided the risk/benefit ratio for this program is worth it for both my patients and my peace of mind.

Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery Goes Pop Culture!

Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery is pleased to have entered the media age! We have introduced our own channel on YouTube and a page on MySpace. So many of our patients seem to get their information from the Internet that we thought it was time to expand beyond our web site and blogs.
The YouTube channel already has several videos on it, including informational shorts and some of the media interviews our staff and patients have done with various news shows. Some of the topics covered in the videos include our approach to California abdominoplasty and Beverly Hills breast lift. Because of our international presence, we have videos posted in English, Spanish, and French.

Our MySpace page is just starting up, but we already include information about our services and approach to specialized plastic surgery care and approach to procedures. Good results from plastic surgery of course come mostly from our work in the operating room. But we also believe strongly that the best results come when good communication is added to this mix. When we have a good understanding of our patients' goals, and our patients have a good understanding of our techniques and the entire surgery and recovery process, then the process becomes much more predictable, comfortable, and rewarding for everyone. So we are big believers in using all available means of communication to have the best possible give and take with everyone.

You can click on these links to see our channel of plastic surgery on YouTube and plastic surgery on MySpace.