Samahope and Mother’s Day


As a plastic and reconstructive surgeon I have experienced the enormous impact that reconstructive surgery can have on people’s lives. During my year as a Webster Fellow with the nonprofit Resurge International, I treated children with cleft lips, palates, and severe burns in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. I am always amazed at the children’s (and parent’s) strength and resilience: they sometimes cry, but most willingly come to us and hold back their tears as we take them to the operating room.

One young patient like this is Dr. Shankar Rai’s past patient Bishal, a 2-year-old boy in Nepal who has suffered from severe burn wounds to his face and hands. He was burned by a cooking fire because he was so cold during the Nepali winter: he crept too close to the fire and fell in. His single mother Basanti works numerous jobs to support her children. She had to decide to sell part of her garden plot to afford bus fare to Kathmandu to seek treatment for her son.

Severe burns in Nepal and other low-income countries are a neglected health crisis that the organization, Samahope, strives to highlight, prevent, and treat. Samahope crowdfunds for doctors to provide life-changing surgeries to women and children who cannot afford them. Bishal fortunately is one of Dr. Rai’s past patients. He has received and will continue to receive care. Because of Dr. Rai and donors, Bishal will have a fighting chance.

Samahope recently launched their Mother’s Day campaign #HonorYourMom to support doctors like Shankar Rai. This is how it works:

1. Upload a picture of you and your mom that will make her smile and tell us why she’s so amazing.
2. Make a donation to support medical treatments for mothers who can’t afford them
3. Your mom will receive a unique web page with your dedication and a physical card in the mail.

Get your mom a meaningful Mother’s Day present that saves lives. Join #HonorYourMom and help keep doctors like Shankar Rai inspired and able to save lives, one reconstructive surgery at a time.


What are tubular breasts?

Here is a link to an article written about tubular (or “tuberous” or “constricted”) breasts by myself and Dr. Luis Macias  This is a common anatomic variation in the shape of a woman’s breasts that happens during development.    It can range from very subtle to almost a complete absence of breast tissue and severe asymmetry.  The good news is that there are ways to dramatically improve the size, shape and symmetry of tuberous breasts!

Plastic Surgery App for kids?

Plastic Surgery for Barbara

A plastic surgery app was recently pulled from Google Play and the Itunes App Store (one article here) called “Plastic Surgery for Barbie”.   It was a free download that allowed children 9 and up to make incisions, perform liposuction and other cosmetic procedures to help an ugly, overweight child cartoon become thinner and prettier.  The app was pulled after thousands of twitter users protested it.    Seems like social media is policing itself for the better – thank goodness enough people found the whole concept entirely offensive and damaging.

Looking at it from a distance, I can’t help but wonder why we let so many other things go by without protest ….. reality shows depicting teen pregnancies, reality shows that mock certain groups of people, reality shows that demonstrate to young girls the superficiality and materialism of some adult women in our society…. is this really any surprise?   There are so many things on television alone that keep reinforcing to young girls the need to be sexy, thin, beautiful, popular, materialistic and catty …. and that isn’t even touching the issue of violence in the media.   Sort of makes me sad, but at least this one is  getting some media coverage.


(Belated) update from our Busted Fundraiser

We raised almost $12,000 for the Busted Foundation at our fundraiser this fall!   That money will go directly to help women in need of financial assistance during treatment for breast cancer.  Thanks to everyone who attended!


Save the Date ~ October 17, 2013 Beauty For Boobies : A Fundraiser for the Busted Foundation!

I am honored to be on the medical advisory board for a nonprofit organization called Busted Foundation.  Busted Foundation is a fundraising organization that financially supports local woman who are currently being treated for breast cancer.  Some of the grant … Continue reading

Why can’t the media get it right?


Yet again, another “plastic surgery” patient death has occurred and flooded the media with inaccurate statements and a true lack of understanding of the problem.   It breaks my heart to think of an innocent patient and her family suffering at the hands of an obviously unqualified person and criminal.   I think television and newspaper journalists need to step up and actually have a grasp of what they are reporting.   Yes, an innocent woman died.  Yes, the man was a criminal, a crook, an unethical doctor.  But to continually perpetuate the idea that “cosmetic surgeons” and “Plastic Surgeons” are interchangeable is malpractice on their end.  This man, to my knowledge (after searching Google for information and getting almost none), was not a plastic surgeon, as stated in the original LA Times article, but a gynecologist.  I have the greatest respect for the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology … when they practice within the realm of their training.    (Which – in case there is any  doubt – is NOT aesthetic plastic surgery.)   To this newspaper’s credit, they did publish a correction to this mistake yesterday.  I get so angry when I see these little blurbs and quick media coverage of something this serious, and there is no deeper evaluation of what is going on.   There is no advice given to the lay person about how to avoid having an unethical, untrained, dangerous doctor perform your cosmetic surgery.   THIS is what needs to be the focus of these tragic events – how do we stop them from happening???

Problems with what this particular doctor did:

1.  He has a previous criminal record – why does he still have a medical license?

2.  He did a TEN hour liposuction case!!!    Elective surgery should not be scheduled for that long, and there is no way I can fathom how a safe amount of liposuction should take that long.

3.  He did a TEN hour liposuction case IN HIS OFFICE!!   Large volume liposuction needs to be done in accredited outpatient surgery centers or hospitals.  Period.

4.  He reportedly charged $100,000 for a TEN hour liposuction case IN HIS OFFICE!!!   (there are so many problems with that sentence… I don’t even know where to start)

4.  It looks as though he did not call 911 when his patient was having problems.  Not knowing when to ask for help or having too much of an ego are fatal mistakes.

5.  He tried to buy IV fluids and tubing from a hospital to give his patient fluids – which he should have had on site.  Never do any procedure where you do not have adequate supplies to handle any issue that arises.

6.  He is not trained as a plastic surgeon who would actually be qualified to perform liposuction safely and in an ethical manner.   Biggest Issue #1, probably leading to all the previous issues (except that pesky forgery and burglary conviction…)

I hope we continue to get our message out there about who patients can trust to provide safe and ethical plastic surgery.    Please visit the ASAPS and ASPS websites for more information about how to choose a plastic surgeon.

New Study – Unwanted Outer Thigh Fat?

We are beginning another study at Marina Plastic Surgery, and space is very limited.  You may be eligible to participate in this clinical research study of an investigational non-invasive procedure for fat reduction.

If you are a healthy adult between the ages of 18-65, have a BMI up to 30 (see this online calculator), and are interested in having your outer thigh fat reduced, you may be eligible to participate in this study.

Marina Plastic Surgery Clinical Site and staff are conducting a clinical study to evaluate an investigational medical device for non-surgical reduction of fat in the outer thigh in healthy adult volunteers. The total length of participation in this study will be approximately six (6) months and will require up to four (4) office visits.

Compensation will be provided to each participant for the time and effort required for the study procedure and follow-up visits.

Participation in the study is strictly voluntary. If you are interested in participating, please call (877) 298-9915 or Contact Us.   Space is limited – we expect to fill up within a week!

Parent’s Tao – 5. Seeing to the heart

I think the 5th verse of the Parent’s Tao is about seeing the goodness in everyone, starting with your own child.   As my son is passing his 20th month, he is starting to experiment with throwing things and even hitting, kicking or biting us when he is very frustrated.  It is so easy (**most of the time) IMG951733for me to calmly say “no, that hurts”, or “we don’t kick or hit”…. because I know he is frustrated and emotional about something that just happened, and he does not have the capacity to understand his emotions.  He is innocent and vulnerable and trying to cope with a world changing around him.  Why is it so hard for us to see that in others – in “grown-ups” or even older kids?   I think we need to remind ourselves that adults are just big children who have experienced life more, have more pain and suffering inside them, but still may not know how to cope well with certain emotional situations.  It’s very easy to blame them for not being more mature, but sometimes I think we need to all have more compassion and understand that while bad behavior is not acceptable it does not mean the person is “bad”.  Taking extra time to see beneath the layers may reveal someone who is hurting or scared.


Some behavior in your children will seem “good” to you.

Other behavior will seem unequivocally “bad”.

Notice both in your children without being overly impressed by one nor overly dismayed by the other.

in doing so you will be imitating the Tao which sees our behavior as a mask and sees immediately beneath it to the good within our heart.

Above all, do not attack your child’s behavior and attempt to change it by endless talking and scolding.

Stay at your center and look beneath the behavior to the heart of the child.

There you will find only good.

When you see the heart you will know what to do.


Of course some behavior is dangerous to the child and to others.

Express your concern with the behavior.

Do not attack the child.

Consider now a particular behavior that concerns you.

Meditate carefully and see through to the heart of your child.

What does it tell you?


– William Martin, “The Parent’s Tao Te Ching; Ancient Advice for Modern Parents”

Good News!



I don’t know how anyone else feels, but I am so tired of hearing every day about fires raging out of control, traffic fatalities, child abductions, Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, our inept government,  political party “role models” bashing each other without any integrity or respect, military casualties abroad, planes crashing, dead bodies being found in local parks….. I think it creates a deep sense of fear and instability which permeates our society.  I am afraid of finding a new babysitter because I worry that everyone is just waiting to abduct my son or some tragedy will unfold as soon as he leaves my sight.  So I was determined to find a way to fill my days with good news to dilute out the bad, because I KNOW that good things are done every single second by wonderful people around the world.  Here are some links to websites that share good news!

Optimist World

Positive News


Good News Network

Daily Good

Happy News

Good News Planet

Huffington Post Good News

Wonderful World NBC News

Fox News Good News

Positive News Network

ABC News Good News page