Monthly Archives: October 2011

Breast Cancer Experience Hits Plastic Surgeon’s Family

breast cancer experienceOne plastic surgeon got an unwanted breast cancer experience when he helped his daughter through her treatment, as he told savannahnow.com.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Laughlin had been treating patients who requested breast reconstruction, as well as a host of cosmetic surgeries for more than 25 years when he learned of his own daughter’s breast cancer diagnosis. From his years in practice, he already had an understanding of the type of breast cancer experience a woman can go through, from diagnosis to reconstruction, but this life-changing event gave him a new perspective, he says.

After her breast cancer experience, his daughter Julie has been a survivor for eight years, but throughout the ordeal, Dr. Laughlin says he wanted to make sure she had the best care possible, since her family lived too far away for her to be treated locally. To this end, he kept in close contact with Julie’s physicians, listening to their recommendations and helping her understand the options.

Some of the tips Dr. Laughlin gave Julie, and those he may give others going through a similar breast cancer experience were to listen to all of the recommendations of specialists and do her own research. He also stressed the importance of bringing a family member to all consultations because the amount of information can be overwhelming.

Now that Julie has beaten breast cancer, Dr. Laughlin says he has learned some valuable takeaways from the breast cancer experience that he can use to help his patients in the future.

He says he better understands how families can feel going through countless office visits and procedures. Dr. Laughlin knows the importance of working with each patient individually, allowing her to ask whatever questions she needs to. He also understands the importance of the entire medical team (and family) in helping each patient through her own breast cancer experience.

“This whole experience has made me even more understanding and compassionate and, hopefully, a better plastic surgeon,” Dr. Laughlin says.

To learn more about your options for breast reconstruction in Philadelphia, please contact Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Genter.

New Plastic Surgery Tax Stresses UK Plastic Surgeons

plastic surgery taxPlastic surgeons in the UK worry that a review of tax codes may mean new taxes for cosmetic surgeries, according to WebMD.

Currently in the UK, a plastic surgery tax only exists on non-surgical treatments like Botox, fillers and laser treatments, a fact that plastic surgeons take no issue with. (In the UK, a VAT tax  or “Value Added Tax” is somewhat similar to sales tax in the US in that consumers must pay it on top of the price for a good or elective service.)

Lawmakers in the UK, though, may soon examining whether a plastic surgery tax should apply to elective cosmetic surgeries, like breast augmentation. In the US, patients already pay sales tax on elective plastic surgeries, but not medically-necessary procedures, which are often billed through insurance.

Some plastic surgeons in the UK are beginning to speak out against a possible review in the application of VAT, which may cause patients to have to pay a plastic surgery tax when they previously did not need to.

Current laws regarding VAT tax stipulate that procedures are tax exempt when the “protection, maintenance or restoration” of health is the main goal. A handful of plastic surgeons argue that changing any of these tax laws could put many patient’s surgical desires in a gray area.

Former president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons Dr. Douglas McGeorge says the common image of plastic surgery is mega-celebrities casually undergoing elective procedures. Rather, he argues, it is members of the general public who choose plastic surgery to improve small aspects of themselves for a positive result.

McGeorge uses the image of an older worker undergoing facial rejuvenation to help make themselves more competitive in the workplace. He sees the difficulty in distinguishing between what is a functional improvement and what is purely cosmetic.

In response to the worry of some plastic surgeons regarding a new plastic surgery tax, the UK government says they currently have no plans to revise the VAT for cosmetic surgeries.

“Medical treatment for purely aesthetic reasons has been, and continues to be, liable to VAT at the standard rate,” it said in a statement.

To learn more about options for financing your plastic surgery in Philadelphia, please contact plastic surgeon Dr. Genter.

Functional Blepharoplasty Improves Vision and Aesthetics for Some Patients

fuctional blepharoplastyChoosing the right cosmetic procedure could help you glean some functional improvements, as well, according to TampaBay.com.

When 74-year-old Mary Lou began experiencing vision issues from droopy eyelids, her daughter suggested seeing a plastic surgeon for a functional blepharoplasty. Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, is a facial procedure in which excess skin is removed from around the eyes to open them up. While it can be cosmetic, for patients like Mary Lou who experience vision issues, it can also improve function.

When she first thought about plastic surgery, Mary Lou was apprehensive about any procedure. She says she always thought she would age gracefully. But after some gentle encouragement from her daughter, she realized the benefits she would gain from functional blepharoplasty were too great to pass up.

In her consultation with her plastic surgeon, Mary Lou learned that the cost of her functional blepharoplasty would be covered by Medicare since it was deemed medically necessary. During her consultation, Mary Lou also decided to undergo a laser procedure to improve the look of puffiness under her eyes. This procedure is considered cosmetic, so Mary Lou paid out of pocket.

After her successful functional blepharoplasty and laser eye treatment, people say Mary Lou looks 10 and sometimes 20 years younger, she shares. Mary Lou says this sort of procedure can help women look better and feel better about themselves.

Mary Lou is not alone in choosing plastic surgery later in life. According to the ASPS, nearly 85,000 plastic surgery procedures were performed on patients over 65 in 2010, a number that continues to grow.

And though some may worry that being older puts a patient at a higher risk for complications from surgery, research shows this to not be true. A report published last spring in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found patients over 65 were at no higher risk than younger patients.

We encourage you to learn more about how plastic surgery options can improve your function, self-confidence and way of life. Please join the mailing list of Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Genter.