Friday, February 20, 2009

Plastic Surgery - Buyer Beware

Buyer Beware!

How many times have we seen this warning... these words?

With tough economic times, truer words were never spoken. As a Board Certified plastic surgeon, I have sounded the warning a long time ago and now I am sounding it again.

I read with great interest an article that was published recently (2/17/09) in the Wall Street Journal. The article's title was, "What to know before going under the liposuction knife".

Liposuction remains, perhaps the most common cosmetic surgical procedure being performed.

On the swank and beautiful Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, a busy and booming cosmetic surgery business was created by Dr. Craig Alan Bittner. With fancy ads, commercials and promos, he became known as Dr. Lipo 90210.

In December, 2008 Dr. Bittner shut down his thriving practice amidst much controversy. The California Board of Medicine is looking into allegations that Dr. Bittner allowed unlicensed office staff to perform surgery. Search warrants were issued and an investigation is now underway.

Dr. Bittner was most controversial because he used fat from his patients to fuel his car! That's right. He published this unorthodox use of body fat to power his car on his now defunct web site,

Because of these difficult economic times, more and more non-plastic surgeons are resorting to performing cosmetic surgeries, for which they are not certified. Many non-plastic surgeons attend weekend seminars, watch DVDs, invest heavily in marketing and go for it.

In their ads, they may say "board certified". The question is , board certified in what? Podiatry? Internal Medicine? What board?

Dr. Bittner graduated from Johns Hopkins and was board certified in interventional radiology, a field totally unrelated to plastic surgery. He got his liposuction training from a two-month apprenticeship with a dermatologist in South Florida.

To perform liposuction, a person needs to be a doctor but isn't required to have any special licensing or certification, such as being board certified in plastic surgery.

According to Dr. Bittner, he faces four malpractice suits. In a farewell letter to his patients, left on his web site, he told them he was relocating to a small clinic in South America, "where I can help those most in need."

I guess you do get what you pay for, or some times, less than what you pay for. That's why I say Buyer Beware! Ask questions, Talk to former patients. Ask how many case the doctor has done. What is the doctor's training.

If board certified, certified by which board? Haste can make waste. Not taking the time to check a doctor's credentials, experience and reputation can result in a catastrophe.

To learn more about all aspects of facial, breast and body plastic surgery, and about Dr. Brueck's experience, credentials and certification, visit

Thank you for your time.

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