Saturday, December 20, 2008

Plastic Surgery Questions – Is Botox safe?

Earlier this year, there was a report of 16 deaths and 180 other patients who suffered problems following Botox injections.

The Public Citizen petitioned the FDA to investigate.

We now have close to 20 years of experience with Botox injections both for medical reasons as well as medical conditions such as excessive sweating, blepharospasm and the like.

The 2005 Cote’ et al investigated 1.031 reports of adverse events (AEs) which were submitted to the FDA. Of those only 36 were considered “serious” and these included headache, muscle weakness, facial paralysis, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and the like symptoms. Therapeutic data seems to indicate that AEs occur less frequently with repeated injections.

After analyzing the FDA data it became clear that the AEs were using Botox for therapeutic indications which require much higher doses than those found in cosmetic applications. Many of the patients who died from therapeutic injections had underlying cardiac disease.

With over 30 years of use in humans, Botox is safe especially when administered for cosmetic purposes.


Dr. Brueck reports on matters of plastic surgery from his office in Fort Myers, Florida. Visit his web site,, for more information.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Avoid deadly plastic surgery - know your Doctor's credentials

There is no denying the fact that these are tough times economically. Because of this, more and more practitioners are jumping into the aesthetic or cosmetic marketplace. At first thought one might be lulled into a false sense of security – more practitioners - tough economic times - better pricing.

Not so fast.

Now, more than ever, patients need to be extremely diligent in choosing their plastic surgeon. Recently, a cosmetic surgeon was indicted in the deaths of three of his patients. Dr. Peter Norman was in indicted on two counts of second-degree murder and one count of manslaughter in the deaths of three patients who underwent liposuction in his Anthem, Arizona practice

Two of the surgeries were performed by him. The third was done by one his associates, who was not even a surgeon. He was a homeopathic practitioner. Dr. Norman’s training consisted of seven training sessions in liposuction.

This may also be part of what is call the “DVD Syndrome”. With a wide availability of training DVDs in all facets of cosmetic surgery it is very easy for an individual practitioner to become “trained” in the comfort of his own bedroom or study. These DVDs are wonderful educational tools, but in the hands of non-board certified plastic surgeons they can lead to tragedy. Experience and board certification both matter.

In an earlier message on this blog, I discussed what is required to become board certified in plastic surgery. It is deservedly rigorous for exactly the reasons of patient protection.

Shortly prior to the indictment, Dr. Norman attempted to leave the country, fleeing to Germany. US Customs agents apprehended him at Cincinnati International Airport on October 28, 2008.

This arrest may end Dr. Norman’s ill-trained career.

But it doesn’t remove the need to know your plastic surgeon, know his training and check out references and testimonials. There is nothing wrong with asking him or her pointed questions.

For more information about liposuction or other plastic surgery procedures, visit Dr. Brueck's website.

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