Thursday, March 25, 2010

WE ARE WHAT WE EAT: Dr. Brueck, Plastic Surgeon reflects

This is one in a series of health-related messages from Dr. Robert Brueck, MD, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon practicing in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, Florida. More of Dr. Brueck's thoughts, especially on cosmetic surgery, may be read at his web site,

As I sit here in the airport in Knoxville, Tennessee, returning from a trip to see my brother I can’t help but notice the over abundance of bulging thighs, necks and tummies.

We have all been reading about the obesity epidemic. I guess that one look around any public gathering can confirm all of our suspicions. I think that most of us at one time or another has gotten on the treadmill of “weight loss”. I know I have and guess what, I’m still on it. Too bad all of that running isn’t paying big dividends.

It is not just about a few extra pounds or in many cases a lot of extra pounds, it is about longevity; eating the right foods can help us control our plaque buildup, our blood sugar, blood pressure, all of which can have a great beneficial effect on how long we live.

What are some of the foods that promote longevity? Roll the drums, here they are, get ready.

"Double stuff oreo cookies, Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia and extra large fries. NO, NO, that's the wrong list but it would be wishful thinking for many of us."

Here are some of the foods for longevity:

  • Fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna and wild salmon provide us with a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids which can reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Whole grains are an excellent source of B complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. They are essential for optimal energy and metabolism and help us to deal with stress

  • Low fat dairy-contain anti-aging nutrients calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D also provides excellent anti-cancer activity.

  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale are a derivative source of fiber, calcium and carotenoids. This is also a very potent anti-oxidant.

  • Berries such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, have anti-oxidants and flavenoids, and help reduce heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

  • Green tea contains catechins and theanine. These are great anti-cancer drugs which can reduce a variety of cancers, especially in people that drink 4 to 10 cups of tea. Maybe being a tea drinker isn’t such a bad idea.

  • Mangosteen is a small, purplish fruit grown in southeast Asia, which contains compounds known as xanthones. They help with gastrointestinal functioning and can also reduce inflammation such as a reaction to protein.

  • Turmeric, curcumin and ginger have been shown to be beneficial in terms of their anti-cancer effects.

  • Citrus fruit is a tremendous source of vitamin C. Living here in southwest Florida, and in Florida in general, we have ready sources of citrus. The vitamin C found in tangerines, grapefruits and oranges are a superior source of vitamin C Versus taking tablets.

  • Red grapes and red wine contain resveratrol, which is shown to control blood sugar and provide for a greater life span. Many researchers now are conducting significant studies into the anti-aging benefits of resveratrol and this is a compound found in the skin of the red grape. There was a big documentary not too long ago on 60 Minutes.

There are many things we can do to help prolong our lives. Eating the right way can be beneficial and productive.

So, good luck, good eating and good health.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010


This is one of Dr. Robert Brueck's periodic reflections on cosmetic plastic surgery, including breast augmentation and tummy tucks. Dr. Brueck is a Board Certified plastic surgeon who has been practicing in Fort Myers, Florida for 30 years. His web site, containing comprehensive information about surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, is located at


Just imagine if this was the main headline in the News-Press Sunday morning. Wow! The phones would be on fire. The lines waiting for free cosmetic surgery would probably be greater than those for Avatar.

There was a recent article in the military newspaper STARS AND STRIPES about an audit that was conducted by the Pentagon and it was found that 16% of plastic surgery procedures performed by staff plastic surgeons were for cosmetic surgery only. These procedures included breast augmentation, tummy tuck and the like.

Military hospitals were unable to provide billing information on 75% of cosmetic surgery procedures. Apparently it is okay to do cosmetic surgery at a military hospital but the enlisted person is required to pay for the cost out of their own pockets.

It makes me wonder. Our government has become so numb to numbers, it’s only $30 billion or a hundred billion, so what’s wrong with a few cosmetic procedures. After all it’s not billions or even millions its only hundreds of thousands.

Who knows maybe “boot camp” doesn’t look so bad after all.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


We just recently had our own battle with the proposed healthcare legislation from president Obama wanting to institute a tax on cosmetic surgery.

It seems they come up with more and more inventive ways to tax the American people into submission. I think it is wrong and the focus of their efforts should be in cutting spending, frugality and giving the Americans more of their own money that they work hard for each and every day.

Our neighbors to the north have just instituted what they call a harmonized sales tax “hst.” This is a tax that will push up the price of several cosmetic procedures performed in Canada. It is estimated that the cost of a breast augmentation will go up $400 to $800. The tax is scheduled to go into effect July 1 and will tax the cosmetic procedures at 8%.

Not only is it going to affect cosmetic surgery but it will be a dramatic tax hike on services previously exempted from the provincial sales tax in Canada. People using numerous services in the past were subject to only a 5% government sales tax on services such as cosmetic surgery. They now have to pay a total of 13% for what they call a harmonized sales tax. This includes 5% government sales tax plus 8% provincial sales tax.

It is estimated that the cost of home gas and electric bills for Canadians will increase by a measure of $200 to $250 per year. This is sort of reminiscent of cap and trade, which will once again lead to higher cost for the average American.

I think it is time that we regain control of our country, our government and our economy and realize that our freedom is at stake.

Protein Rich Plasma Dr. Brueck, Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon discusses applications

(Ed. Note: Dr. Brueck, a Board Certified plastic surgeon, practicing in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, Florida, often comments here on advances in surgical procedures and healing. In this case, he refers to his own personal condition. Reassuring for patients to know that the doctor has "been here, done" that when it comes to pain management.)

It was with eager anticipation that I recently read an article in the News Press about a new procedure available to people with sports injuries, arthritic joints and the like. The product is known as protein rich plasma.

For years I have suffered from severe arthritis in my left ankle which was the result of a very traumatic ankle sprain that I sustained in college almost 40 years ago. The arthritis has gotten progressively worse as I have matured, to the point where it is quite difficult to navigate up and down stairs and certainly running is out of the question.

Not too long ago I went to my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Ron Gardner, to see what types of therapies were available. For people with severely arthritic joints, it’s not a good prognosis. The technology for new hips, knees and shoulders is superb; however, joint replacement for arthritic ankles is far from perfect. In fact he told me he wouldn’t do it.

A short time ago I was giving a lecture in North Cape Coral on Pine Island Rd. speaking about cosmetic surgery and one of my patients came up and started talking to me and I commented on how well she looked and I noticed she was in a walking booth.

I asked her how she was doing and she volunteered the fact that she had an ankle fusion and I wished her a quick and speedy recovery. Where upon she responded by saying she had the surgery done 8 months ago and, "I am still in the walker." So that takes care of ankle fusion as a possible choice in rehabbing my ankle.

I decided to go the route of protein rich plasma. I went to Dr. Gardner and had a procedure done which was painless. It took about an hour to an hour and a half. They draw your blood, spin it down and take what is known as the buffy coat, this middle section of serum and plasma contains most of the platelets and growth factors.

Under fluoroscopic control they inject it into your joints.

I did not get the response that I had hoped for so I am going into phase 2. The only think that bothered me about the whole procedure is the fact that I couldn’t take my Celebrex for the arthritis in my ankle.

In any event I will soon be traveling to Boca Raton to get “stem cells” into my ankle and hopefully this will provide for a brighter horizon, where upon when I return I will be returning to Dr. Gardner for some more protein rich plasma. My date for injection is on Friday, March 19th so I will continue the drama, the treatment plan and the saga upon my return.