Health and Fitness

Cosmetic Surgery Industry Lobbies Against The 'Botax' In Senate Health Bill

"Leading makers of antiwrinkle drugs, breast implants and other appearance-related products are trying to derail a proposed tax on elective cosmetic surgery in the Senate's health-overhaul bill, " The Wall Street Journal reports. "The proposed 5% levy -- dubbed the 'Botax' after the antiwrinkle treatment product Botox -- would raise an estimated $5.8 billion over 10 years." The tax proposal has raised the ire of the cosmetic surgery industry. "Two leading companies in aesthetic treatments, Allergan Inc. and Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., are mounting lobbying and public-relations campaigns against the proposed levy. ... [The Botax proposal] was a last-minute addition to the Senate health bill. It was aimed at plugging a revenue gap after Sen. Reid scaled back a planned levy on high-value insurance plans. The Botax would generate relatively modest revenue compared with other measures in the bill" (Rockoff, 12/4). Related KHN story: Plastic Surgeons Cry Foul Over 'Botax' Proposal In Senate Health Bill (Galewitz, 11/19) This information was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Patients Honored For Giving Back

An injured Iraqi citizen, a port wine stain patient, a breast reconstruction patient and a skin cancer patient will be named honorees of the Patients of Courage: Triumph Over Adversity awards by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) at Plastic Surgery 2009, October 24, 4:30 p.m., at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle. These unselfish individuals endured numerous reconstructive plastic surgeries and use their experiences, strength and determination to help others in need. The Patients of Courage: Triumph Over Adversity program is supported by Ethicon, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company. Continuing in the spirit of giving, Ethicon will donate, on behalf of each of the honorees, $5, 000 to four non-profit organizations providing reconstructive plastic surgery services to people in need. "ASPS Member Surgeons are humbled by the achievements of their patients, " said ASPS President John Canady, MD. "It is so impressive to see our patients doing such good things for so many people.

New Technique For Injectable Facial Fillers Improves Comfort And Recovery

Less pain during injections for wrinkle-fighting facial fillers. Less swelling afterward. Less time in the office waiting for anesthesia to take effect. These and other benefits of a new injection technique that UT Southwestern Medical Center plastic surgeons are helping pioneer are outlined in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The procedure combines lidocaine with injections of facial fillers to instantly minimize the pain and allows plastic surgeons to begin injection procedures without waiting for traditional anesthesia to take effect. "People are more at ease and have far less discomfort, " said Dr. Rod Rohrich, chairman of plastic surgery at UT Southwestern. "There is significant time savings in not having to wait for traditional dental block anesthesia to take hold, and the procedure is more pain-free with shorter recovery time." Dr. Rohrich demonstrates the procedure in an online video that accompanies the journal article. The technique mixes 2 percent lidocaine with certain hyaluronic and other fillers such as Restylane or Radiesse, providing an immediate numbing effect as the filler is injected.

New Technique For Injectable Facial Fillers Improves Comfort, Recovery

Less pain during injections for wrinkle-fighting facial fillers. Less swelling afterward. Less time in the office waiting for anesthesia to take effect. These and other benefits of a new injection technique that UT Southwestern Medical Center plastic surgeons are helping pioneer are outlined in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The procedure combines lidocaine with injections of facial fillers to instantly minimize the pain and allows plastic surgeons to begin injection procedures without waiting for traditional anesthesia to take effect. "People are more at ease and have far less discomfort, " said Dr. Rod Rohrich, chairman of plastic surgery at UT Southwestern. There is significant time savings in not having to wait for traditional dental block anesthesia to take hold, and the procedure is more pain-free with shorter recovery time. Dr. Rohrich demonstrates the procedure in an online video that accompanies the journal article. The technique mixes 2 percent lidocaine with certain hyaluronic and other fillers such as Restylane or Radiesse, providing an immediate numbing effect as the filler is injected.

Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation Inducts Ann Arbor Physician As President

William Kuzon, MD, PhD, Reed O. Dingman professor and section head of plastic surgery, University of Michigan, has been named president of the Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation (PSEF) at Plastic Surgery 2009, the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). The PSEF is the research arm of the ASPS, the world's largest plastic surgery association and foremost authority on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. Dr. Kuzon will serve as PSEF President for one year. "The PSEF is the keystone of research support for plastic surgeons, " said Dr. Kuzon. "As its president, I will strive to expand our cooperation with other organizations to sponsor and promote research, and work to streamline a coordinated research agenda and portfolio that is balanced across all areas of the specialty." An ASPS Member Surgeon since 1994, Dr. Kuzon currently serves on both the ASPS/PSEF Public Education and Research Oversight Committees, and sits on the Research Coordinating Council.

American Association Of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Nineteen Other Surgical Groups Call For Changes To Senate Health Legislation

The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) joined nineteen other surgical organizations, led by the American College of Surgeons, to send a letter to the U.S. Senate today reiterating they are prepared to oppose the Senate's health care reform bill due to its threat to patients' access to specialty care and its potential to harm quality care. This coalition represents over 240, 000 surgeons and anesthesiologists. The AAOS and the other surgical groups have repeatedly made their concerns known to Senate leadership, including the Senate Finance Committee, throughout the health care reform debate in attempts to improve the legislation with the goal of improving patient access to specialty care. The groups stated that the impending legislation, as currently understood, fails to address some of the fundamental problems that plague the health care system. "The AAOS has called for meaningful health care reform for decades. We, along with other surgical associations, are committed to working for health care reform that makes surgical care more accessible to Americans.

Plastic Surgeons Respond To Proposed Cosmetic Surgery Tax

Late yesterday, democratic leaders in the Senate unveiled their proposal for overhauling the health care system, which included a new 5% tax on elective cosmetic procedures. Senate Democrats argue that the tax, which was a surprise addition to the sweeping 2, 074-page bill, will generate $5.8 billion over the next 10 years to be put towards the bill's estimated $849 billion price tag. However, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) oppose this tax as discriminatory, arbitrary and ineffective. "Elective surgery taxes discriminate against women, given that 86 percent of cosmetic surgery patients are female, of which 91 percent are between the working ages of 19-64, " said Dr. Michael McGuire, ASPS President. "Moreover, contrary to popular belief, cosmetic surgery is no longer an exclusive luxury afforded by the very wealthy, but rather a mainstream and reasonable option most common amongst the working middle-class.

Plastic Surgeons Offer Microsurgery Technique For Breast Reconstruction, Tummy Tuck After Mastectomy

Since her teens, Jennifer Jablon had watched family members deal with breast cancer during their 40s, 50s, and 60s. She wondered whether it would be her fate too. In her mid-50s, Jennifer's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and tested positive for the recently identified BRCA1 gene, indicating a genetic predisposition to breast cancer. "I spent about six months in denial after my mom tested positive. When I finally tested myself, I tested positive for the gene, " she recalled. During subsequent MRIs, doctors twice found benign cysts, prompting her to seek a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy a precautionary procedure in which both breasts are removed to minimize the risk of malignancy. The choice also set her thinking about breast reconstruction options. The 36-year-old mother of a 7-year-old opted for a relatively new and rare microsurgery by plastic surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center called the Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP) flap procedure. "The DIEP flap procedure can offer women seeking breast reconstruction after a mastectomy some of the advantages of a more natural breast with the effects of a tummy tuck.

The Lowe Law Firm Files Suit Over Alleged Botox Overdose

St. Louis-based The Lowe Law Firm has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man who experienced partial respiratory paralysis and other side effects after receiving an overdose of the Botox being used to treat his muscle spasticity. The suit, Richard A. Hart v. Yi Pan, Tenet HealthSystem SL Inc., d/b/a St. Louis University Hospital and Allergan USA Inc., cause no. 0922-CC09485, was filed in St. Louis Circuit Court on Oct. 21. The plaintiff, Richard Hart, suffers from a medical condition affecting his neck known as torticollis. In an effort to relieve muscle spasticity, Dr. Yi Pan of the St. Louis VA Medical Center prescribed Botox, made by Allergan USA Inc. (NYSE: AGN). Botox (onabotulinumtoxin A), produced by the bacterium that causes botulism, is highly toxic to humans. Hart received 300 units of Botox on Aug. 20, 2007, 300 units on Sept. 20, 2007, and 400 units on Oct. 5, 2007. On Oct. 17, 2007, Hart reported breathing problems and difficulty swallowing; eventually partial paralysis of the respiratory muscles, general weakness, blurred vision, difficulty breathing and loss of the gag reflex developed as a result of the botulism poisoning.

'Botax' On Cosmetic Surgery Questioned

The Associated Press : "The White House and Senate Democrats have turned to a proposal to tax breast implants, tummy tucks, wrinkle-smoothing injections and other procedures as they search for ways to pay for costly health care overhaul plans." The Senate health bill, which was unveiled Wednesday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada "would slap a 5 percent excise tax on elective cosmetic surgeries and procedures to help pay for expanding coverage to the uninsured." The national tax is projected to raise $6 billion over 10 years (Hirschfeld Davis, 11/19). Kaiser Health News : "Plastic surgeons decried the proposal, saying their practices were battered by the recession and are just beginning to recover. ... About 12 million cosmetic procedures and surgeries - which typically aren't covered by insurance - were performed last year, at a total cost of $10.3 billion, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons." The tax is already levied at a rate of 6 percent per procedure in New Jersey (Galewitz, 11/19).

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