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The Real Truth Behind Plastic Surgery

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What Moms can learn from the tragic death of Kanye West's mother.

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The news that Dr. West died as a result of complications of plastic surgery serves also as a harsh warning about the potential dangers for all moms contemplating cosmetic procedures. In 2006, 325,000 so-called "mommy makeovers" were performed on women ages 20 to 39, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

But is it safe? We asked Dr. Greg Wiener, a board certified plastic surgeon in Chicago, who Consumer Reports lists as a "Top Surgeon" what moms need to know if they're considering it.

Tell your doctor everything. Keeping information hidden about your medical history or medications (even over-the-counter pills) could be the difference between a successful surgery and one with complications. Giving a plastic surgeon access to your own primary care physician is also a good idea.

• Pre-operative testing. A good plastic surgeon will request blood work and possibly a cardio exam. Avoiding these tests could be putting yourself at higher risk.

• Manage your expectations. Dr. Wiener says patients who are realistic about what surgery will accomplish are happier with the results.

• Find a board certified plastic surgeon. Board certified doctors have extensive training in general surgery as well as plastic surgery and understand the physiological changes a body goes through during a procedure and can foresee potential complications, Dr. Wiener says. "The plastic surgeon who performed Mrs. West's procedure was not board certified," says Dr. Wiener. "That is a key point."

• Talk to your primary care physician. "Ask if you're at higher risk of complications than the general population," advises Dr. Wiener. It's important for your doctor to weigh in about this.

• Don't combine too many surgeries at once. "The longer you're under anesthesia," Dr. Wiener says, "the higher the risk for complications like infection or pulmonary embolism." Donda West was reportedly in surgery for eight hours. Dr. Wiener says he keeps his surgeries under
six hours to avoid potential complications.



next: Seriously, Don't Pick Your Nose
110 comments so far | Post a comment now
Mary November 13, 2007, 7:51 PM

I dated a guy in high school who was one of triplets. His mother gave birth to five children in three years (the triplets and then two younger single births). For her 20th wedding anniversary, her husband booked a long trip to the Bahamas, and she decided to get a tummy tuck so she could wear a two piece bathing suit on her trip. Her husband was a surgeon and had the best connections one could have in the medical profession. That didn’t stop his wife and mother of five teenage children from dying of a fat embolism as a result of her surgery. You have never seen an angrier group of teenagers than her kids at their mother’s funeral. It was devastating for all concerned. Malpractice you say? No, it was a disclosed risk, albeit only 1% chance. Who wants to roll those dice when you have children who depend on you? One of the saddest memories of my teenage years is getting that phone call from my boyfriend, telling me his mom had died and hearing the “why why why???” in his voice.

Anonymous November 13, 2007, 8:10 PM

Hmmmmm…but she didn’t die from a c-section? Unless she gave birth to triplets vaginally, of course.

Anonymous November 13, 2007, 8:13 PM

OK…so where are the statistics in the above article regarding morbidity and mortality related to cosmetic surgery. Hello???

Anonymous November 13, 2007, 10:26 PM

The whole point is that the doctors don’t WANT you to know how many people die of plastic surgery. Just try to find a statistic. One website will say 1 in 60,000 die of plastic surgery complications. Another one will say 1 in 5,000. No one will come clean about this. Just try to find a morbidity and mortality statistic. One doesn’t exist!!!!!

Anonymous November 13, 2007, 10:33 PM

ya, I agree. there’s a big coverup about this, seems like. I bet more people die than you think. Even if it’s just a 2% chance of dying, that’s too high for me. I have a 1 year old to take care of. I’ll just live with my pot belly.

Anonymous November 13, 2007, 10:39 PM

I just feel sorry for Kanye for losing his mom this way. I hope this doctor spends the rest of his life in jail!

Bill November 13, 2007, 10:57 PM

I have a young lady friend, with a great figure. 20yrs old, 5’5”, 130lbs 34C , just plain gorgeous. The husband has convinced her to consider breast augmentation. (cuz he likes big’uns). I hope she reads this and totally gets off this kick. It’s too dangerous and she’s perfect just the way she is. I’d block the door, to prevent it cww

tavia g November 14, 2007, 12:42 AM


my heart goes out to you kanye! i want you to know that god makes no mistakes ,turn to him in your time of need .my prayers are with you. god bless and keep you amen.

audrey November 14, 2007, 4:22 AM

Doctors are not Gods.As a nurse am around them most of the time. most suffer from Mental Illnesses which causes them to use alcohol, drugs etc. It’s not only the Plastic Surgeons that we should be concern but mostly the Anestheisologist(the Doctor the patient to sleep before surgery) some times he shoots himself up with the drugs to be used on the patient, while he performs the surgery. BE AWARE. Get information for the Board Of Medicine and your local Police Station to see charges such as DUI and other unhealthy patterns of behaviour before you put your live in their hands.

vickie  November 14, 2007, 9:27 AM

THANK YOU FOR SHARING THE STORY ABOVE ABOUT THE BEWARE OF THE ONE WHO PUTS WHO TO SLEEP ALSO . THAT IS SO TRUE BECAUSE I HAD SURGURY A FEW YEARS AGO . I WAS MORE FEARFUL OF MY RISK FACTORS OF GOING UNDER THAN I WAS ABOUT THE DOCTOR DURING MY PROCEDURE . WHEN I AWAKEN I ASKED THE QUESTION WHICK SIDE OF HEAVEN WAS I ON ? ONE THING I DID NOT WAS THAT THEY SHOOT THEMSELVES UP WITH MEDS. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THAT INFORMATION AND WHY TO DO RESEARCH ABOUT EVERYONE OF CONCERN, THANKS VEDINVOL

Anonymous November 14, 2007, 6:04 PM

Why did you need plastic surgery Dr West?

I saw you on the Ellen show and I remebered saying she is beautiful, why on earth did you need plastic surgery.

Let this be a lesson to all others

roz cohen November 14, 2007, 7:42 PM

this is why i go to a reputable med spa with a board certified plastic surgeon on board for my botox, restylane and laser skin tightening. no anesthesia, no down time and believe me, it is worth it.

sue cobleigh November 17, 2007, 9:51 AM

I had 2 plastic surgeries after a 70 pound weight gain from my 2nd child. I had gestational diabetes and was confined to bed after 7 months. I had a lot of sagging skin. I had a breast reduction. Before I had kids i was a DD, so after it was even worse. My surgery was a great success. & years later I had a tummy tuck. I am 43 and have the abs of a 25 year old. I knew every risk i was taking before i had surgery, we all take risks when we have surgery even a C section(which i had 2 of to save my babies life). These surgeries are risky and we consent and know the pros and the cons. Healing all depends on your body not the skill of the surgeon. If you keep any medical history from your surgeon that is critical, you are as much to blame as he is. Cosmetic surgery is elective ANY SURGERY can cause death.

ashley November 24, 2007, 4:04 PM

i think that you can die from anything so if you want plastic surgery to make you feel good and enjoy life even more than do it! why is it that when you become a mother you have to become ugly and boring too? i had a baby 5 weeks ago and i refuse to let go of myself! just because i had a baby doesnt mean that y spirit or looks should die! of course, you dont want to be self centered either, you still have to take care of your baby but a little me time doesnt hurt anybody

naysha November 19, 2008, 10:54 AM

you should be comfortable in your own skin god made you the way he wanted thats like saying god is wrong……
SO BE YOU PLASTIC SURGERY DOSENT FIX INTERNAL ISSUES IF YOU THINK YOU NEED TO FIX SOMETHING MAYBE YOU NEED TO FIX YOUR SOUL

Anonymous June 11, 2009, 6:51 PM

my soul is doing great other than the emotional pain of tucking my extra skin back into my pants every 15 minutes

Lele101 April 1, 2010, 8:09 AM

Plastic Surgery SUCKS…it kills to many people a year…thats something i wud neva do!!!

MarcieSchroeder July 15, 2010, 11:02 PM

Houses are expensive and not everyone can buy it. Nevertheless, personal loans are created to aid people in such hard situations.

vemmaac July 22, 2010, 5:45 AM

I just book marked your blog on Digg and StumbleUpon.I enjoy reading your commentaries.

vemmaxi July 27, 2010, 4:03 PM

Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.


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