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Introducing PSP’s top 15 influencers of 2015


shutterstock_143336716Introducing The List—PSP’s 15 Top Influencers of 2015.

Some are movers and shakers, some are up and comers, and some are or were legends in their own time, but these 15 influencers have shaped this field and the PSP brand by doing what they do and doing it so well that it inspired others to take notice, follow suit, and even imitate (which, as they say, is the highest form of flattery). Their influence has done more than inspire; it has invigorated research and development, and helped to mend fences, change practices, and sire seismic innovations.




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Marketing Moxie

W. Grant Stevens, MD
Plastic Surgeon – Marina del Rey, Calif

Stevens_W-Grant_126Yes, he is a talented and busy surgeon, but W. Grant Stevens, MD, could have minored in marketing. He has had experience with pretty much all of the noninvasive body contouring procedures on the market, and fell in love with Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting®. (He owns 17 machines.) Stevens tried it on himself, and was so enamored with the results that he thought it was time to get other men on board. This was right as male plastic surgery was starting to trend upward. Stevens decided to reach men where they live—on sports radio. His advertising blitz worked. Men listened. How cool is that?

In Field of Dreams, they say, “If you build it, they will come,” but in Steven’s case, they came, so he built it. It is Marina ManLand, a new facility for men. “Men told me that they wanted less hair on their backs and more hair on their heads, which led to the development of this exclusively male medical spa,” Stevens says. When the right technology falls into the right hands, magic occurs.


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The Coach

Wendy Lewis
Industry Consultant – New York City

Lewis_WendyNobody knows the aesthetics space like Wendy Lewis. She knows the players, the procedures, and the
paraphernalia from the inside out and the outside in. While cosmetic coaching and aesthetic marketing
are all the rage today, Lewis put these services on the map. This veteran is smart, savvy, and has social media chops that could rival any millennial. (Her personal Facebook page, @WendyLewisNYC, has become a go-to source for media, physicians, and industry insiders to stay informed.)

Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd has grown in size, scope, and status since it first opened its doors in 1997. Today, Lewis represents some of the top-tier companies in aesthetics, and has helped put many a start-up in the game. She knows everyone in this business, and everyone knows her. It’s not abnormal for Lewis to travel to Europe, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago in a month. Walk through the exhibit hall of just one meeting with Lewis, and you will understand just how connected she really is.

Lewis also serves as editor in chief of one of the top beauty blogs on the web— Beauty In The Bag—and her byline runs in just about every trade publication in just about every issue. The topics range from microneedling advances to physiciandispensed skin care, the promise of regenerative medicine—and anything in-between.

Her knowledge of even the most complex plastic surgery procedure is impressive. In the presence of the masters, she is both respectful and deferential. When Wendy Lewis talks, people listen; they even take notes. If there was a plastic surgery edition of Shark Tank, Lewis would be the shark in chief.


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Bridge Builder

S. Randolph Waldman, MD
Facial Plastic Surgeon – Lexington, Ky
Founder, Multi-Specialty Foundation

Waldman_S-Randolph_PSPEleven years ago, the “core” wars were in full force. Today, that very phrase is likely to be met only with a puzzled look. Thank S. Randolph Waldman, MD, a facial plastic surgeon, for this. His “why can’t we all just get along” attitude sired
the Multi-Specialty Foundation, a group whose main objective is the coordination of an annual symposium for oculoplastic surgeons, dermatologic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, and plastic surgeons. “All we needed to do was come together,” Waldman says.

And so they have. Multispecialty is a new buzzword, as growing numbers of groups open their doors to colleagues from other specialties to exchange ideas and learn from one another, and practices—including Waldman’s own—are now embracing the concept of bringing together multiple aesthetic specialists from different disciplines
under the same roof.

Waldman also has the distinction of being the only facial plastic surgeon who is also a member of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

After expanding his meeting to Israel a few years back, Waldman is now taking his lovefest global—with the Fall 2015 launch of the Global Aesthetics Conference and the help of Brazilian-born plastic surgeon and the president-elect of The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons Renato Saltz, MD, also an ASAPS past president. Instead of burning bridges, Waldman choose to build them and has established an impressive global infrastructure.


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The Bionic Plan

J. Peter Rubin, MD
PMC Endowed Professor and Chair of Plastic Surgery
Professor of Bioengineering
Department of Plastic Surgery
University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh

Rubin_PeterRegenerative medicine is widely thought to be the way forward—a means to cure even the most aggressive neurodegenerative diseases— and J. Peter Rubin, MD, has been talking about its potential (and pitfalls) since before there was even a name for the now-booming field. Rubin is first and foremost a responsible scientist. You won’t hear him using phrases like “stem cell facelift” or “stem cell cure,” but work taking place under his tutelage at the Center for Innovation in Restorative Medicine in the Department of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh is changing the world—one breakthrough at a time.

Rubin is a principal investigator in a National Institutes of Health-funded trial aimed at developing cell-based methods for clinical soft-tissue reconstruction after cancer therapy, and directs a related line of research aimed at soft-tissue reconstruction for injured soldiers as an investigator for the Department of Defense Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Several soldiers have already benefitted from this team’s work, which also includes Kacey Marra, PhD, director of the plastic-surgery tissue-engineering
lab at the university.

New York City plastic surgeon Sydney Coleman, MD, and the fat grafting technology and techniques he developed, play a big part
in this work as well. Currently, Rubin’s agenda includes scarless wound healing, customized body parts, and muscle regeneration, and—as awe-inspiring as this—it’s only the tip of the iceberg. If slow and steady wins the race, PSP’s money is on Rubin.


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Fat Shaman

Sydney R. Coleman, MD
Plastic Surgeon
New York City

Coleman_SyndneyFat may be phat today, but this wasn’t always the case. The reversal of fortune has a lot to do with the pioneering work and perseverance of Sydney R. Coleman, MD, who developed LipoStructure®, a fat grafting technique that restores volume, improves contours, and corrects surgically induced dents and divets.

There were years when plastic surgeons were not quite as keen on fat: some were concerned about technique and retention, while others worried about risks when using it in the breast. But Coleman’s faith in fat never wavered. Now, the pendulum has swung back toward favoring fat as filler and volumizer, and most of the studies have shown that it won’t obscure readings on mammograms, either.

Coleman’s work set the stage for all of this. He developed techniques to separate fat cells from liquid and connective tissue, which ups the stem cell quotient in the fat, along with specialized tools that allow for more precise placement of fat cells beneath the facial skin during complex reconstruction work.

Still, it is technician dependent for sure, and no one has nailed this quite as well as Coleman.



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The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS)
Alexandria, Va

SelfieIn 2015, the spin cycle is all about going viral—and that means creating content that will resonate, rebound, and resonate again. The AAFPRS’ public relations team hit a home run when its 2013 annual survey numbers hinted that growing numbers of people are actually seeing facial plastic surgeons because of how they look in their selfies or on social media. This is a story and a trend that spoke to B2Bs like PSP, consumer pubs, daytime talk shows, and beauty blogs. You can’t just rip up photos anymore and hope no one sees them. Now, your images can be seen and shared by friends, and friends of friends (and the odds of one of these shares is an ex are high). Social media created a culture of selfie-awareness, and the AAFPRS were among the first to take notice. This story (and all of its legs) got us thinking, talking, judging, and quipping—isn’t that what PR is all about? Well done!






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Real Genius

Tom Seery
Chief Executive Officer and Director
RealSelf Inc – Seattle

Seery_TomHe is sweet and unassuming in person, but Tom Seery is plastic surgery’s answer to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg; some may argue that RealSelf is to plastic surgeons and plastic surgery what Facebook is to the rest of us. He speaks at most aesthetic meetings, but Seery is a techie first and foremost. He started RealSelf in 2006—and it has become a Yelp or Angie’s List for facelifts and fillers. Instead of focusing on the doctor, RealSelf focuses on the procedures, offering reviews, photos, and doctor Q&As.

The numbers speak for themselves. RealSelf had 51 million unique visitors in 2014 that spent 5.8 million hours browsing and contributing to RealSelf in 2014. There are more than 287,000 answers from board-certified doctors and specialists. RealSelf provides real data in real time by monitoring search patterns, which allows Seery et al to see things coming down the pike way in advance. (Seery’s data told us that Lifestyle Lift was going down, way before the news hit the press.) That sort of intel is Worth It!


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The Baron of Botox

Fredric S. Brandt, MD
New York, Miami

Brandt_FredAs PSP contributing editor Wendy Lewis wrote in the days after the celebrity dermatologist’s shocking death, “Seeing Fred Brandt for your injections was a status symbol akin to carrying a Birkin, joining the right club, and having a driver.”

It’s true. Back in the day, if you wanted Botox (or really, any injectable), Brandt was your guy. He put injectables on the map, and his name became forever linked to Botox from being called the “Baron of Botox” in W.

And while he was eccentric, he was equal parts warm, charming, funny, and talented. His technique was flawless, and his hand was so delicate with a needle that you didn’t feel much pain at all; what you did feel was derailed by his in-office theatrics. Two patients once wrote that, “Dr Brandt is a very special individual: Not only can he fix your laugh lines, but he can also give you them.”

He was also an author, radio talk show host, and had his own skin care brand that achieved cult status around the world. Brandt’s suicide devastated his colleagues, patients (many of whom are A-list celebs and socialites), and his friends, but it serves as a message to us all. Everyone is fighting a battle we may know nothing about. Be kind. There will never be another Fredric Brandt. RIP.





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Nana New Face

Joan Rivers
Comedienne/Fashion Police host

Rivers_JoanThree hundred and forty eight. Yes, other numbers have been bandied about, but this is how many plastic surgery procedures the late comedienne had during her lifetime, according to her daughter’s new memoir, The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief and Manipulation.

It’s no secret that Rivers was a fan of plastic surgery. Most celebrities will do anything but admit they had some work done—not Rivers. She got in front of it from day 1 and put a face on plastic surgery—hers. She championed this specialty and made women feel better about wanting to look better with her trademark self-deprecating wit. “I’ve had so much plastic surgery, when I die they will donate my body to Tupperware,” she quipped. She also told audiences that her grandson calls her “Nana New Face” because of all the work she has had.

And this candor—along with her memorable career, big heart, and remarkable work ethic—will be part of her legacy. While she did a lot for plastic surgery, Rivers’ untimely death may help prevent other needless deaths by shedding light on the risks of real surgery, even in the best of hands.

Rivers died after experiencing cardiac arrest during what should have been a routine throat procedure. Charges have been brought against the clinic and the doctors who were responsible for her care, and daughter Melissa Rivers filed a malpractice lawsuit against the doctors and the clinic where she lost her mother at age 81. “In my opinion, it was 100 percent preventable,” she says. Sometimes it takes a tragic loss to get people to pay attention. We can all learn from how Joan lived—loud and proud—and how she died. RIP.


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The Real Plastic Surgeons of Beverly Hills

Terry Dubrow, MD, and Paul Nassif, MD
Stars of Botched
Beverly Hills, Calif

Botched_docsPlastic surgeon Terry Dubrow, MD, and facial plastic surgeon Paul Nassif, MD, put the “must watch” back into plastic surgery reality TV. This genre took a nosedive from its heyday in the early 2000s (think Extreme Makeover, Dr. 90210, and The Swan), and while others popped up after the boom—none had any real staying power. Botched, however, is a keeper. E! has renewed it for a second season.

The show focuses on plastic surgery gone wrong—very wrong. The surgeons attempt to fix the problems (say, butt implants that were so poorly done, they could be flipped by hand) while shining a light on exactly why things went awry (ie, think twice before taking a plastic surgery vacation to the Dominican Republic). Besides train-wreck results, individuals must also be deemed mentally stable by Dubrow and Nassif, neither of whom are strangers to reality TV. Dubrow is married to Real Housewives of Orange County cast member Heather Dubrow, and Nassif was wed to former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills regular Adrienne Maloof.

Botched has been so well received that it already has a spin-off. RuPaul, Dubrow, and actress Sandra Vergara (yes, that’s Sofia’s sis) dish on Hollywood’s latest beauty trends right after Botched. (One of PSP’s latest editorial advisors—Jason Emer, MD—is now working with Nassif at Spalding Plastic Surgery, and we think he has stage presence, too.)



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The Kardashian Curve

The Kardashian-Jenner clan
Los Angeles

Kim-Kardashian_Kylie-JennerLove them, hate them, or can’t decide which, the Kardashian clan—momager Kris Jenner, her ex and former Olympic athlete and soon-to-be-female Bruce Jenner, Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Robert Kardashian, Jr, Kendall, and Kylie Jenner keep pop culture’s pulse racing.

The viral Kylie Jenner lip challenge had legions of teens sucking on shot glasses to plump their puckers, and Kim’s bodacious behind sired a spectacular rise in buttock augmentation surgery. There is no way to get in front of this fashion-forward family, which is why Keeping Up with the Kardashians is just such an apt title for their reality show.
One can only hope that Bruce Jenner’s public male-to-female transition (and the reality show documenting it) will help promote transgender awareness instead of making it a for-profit mockery. The bottom line? Pay attention to what this family does, wears, and says, because everyone else does—including your patients. I mean, Kim Kardashian’s butt broke the Internet… literally.





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Gender Bender

Jeffrey Spiegel, MD
Chief, Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Boston University Medical Center

Spiegel_JeffreyDecades before Bruce Jenner gave Diane Sawyer an exclusive prime time interview about his transition, Jeffrey Spiegel, MD, was helping transgender men and women take the same journey. He performed his first facial feminization surgery in 1995. At that time, there were few, if any, scientific articles written on these procedures. Today a quick search of the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health reveals 1,555 articles on understanding and treating the transgender patient—many of which Spiegel authored, and many more in which his pioneering work is referenced.

Spiegel could not have predicted just how far the transgender awareness and acceptance movement would come in less than 2 decades, or just how big a part of his practice this group of patients would become. Yes, many of the brave named and unnamed transgender advocates deserve credit for coming forward and taking risks to own their true selves, but so do many of the physicians and therapists who have been there to support and guide these individuals. Spiegel is certainly one of them.





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Digital Derm

Jeffrey Benabio, MD
Physician Director of Healthcare Transformation
Kaiser Permanente, San Diego

Benabio_JeffreyTelemedicine is a hot commodity in 2015, but several years ago, it was more of a concept and less of a thing. Telemedicine involves exchanging health care information via electronic communications. It can be done via two-way video, email, smartphones, wireless tools, and other forms of technology.

Dermatologist Jeffrey Benabio, MD, physician director of healthcare transformation at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, has been on the front lines of telemedicine and is helping to usher it in from the fringe to the forefront. Still, he says, “I didn’t think it would be as big as it is. Telemedicine has grown so rapidly.”

Dermatologists are leading the pack here largely because it is such a visual specialty. More than half of all US hospitals now use some form of telemedicine.

Gleaning his crystal ball, Benabio predicts that telemedicine will continue its meteoric rise. “In 10 years, there will be more providers practicing telemedicine and more insurers covering its costs,” he says. “Telemedicine makes getting care convenient for patients because they can get care in the ways that best suits them.”

Technology helped speed the curve.“It’s so easy to take high-quality pictures, and no one predicted we would have secure messaging and electronic medical records.”

Telemedicine won’t replace in-person visits, but will certainly make them more productive. “The potential applications are exponential,” says Benabio, who was among the first to realize this.


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The Wizard of ZO

Zein Obagi, MD
Founder, ZO Skin Health and ZO Medical
Irvine, Calif

Obagi_Zein_2Hydroquinone (HQ) had a long and uncontested reign as the gold-standard ingredient for the treatment of hyperpigmentation, but intolerable side effects eventually began to emerge—especially when HQ was used in higher doses. Studies in rodents also linked HQ to cancer. Europe has banned HQ in concentrations greater than 1%. In the United States, it has been banned in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Montana, and Texas.

The first one to blow the whistle on HQ was Zein Obagi, MD, and it was at great personal expense. His original company, Worldwide Products, which later became Obagi Medical Products, made HQ a household name. Still, he walked away in 1997 and started anew. “We didn’t know that when you reduce melanin or stop its production with the bleaching agent hydroquinone, you take away natural protective material from the skin, which will result in more sun damage and rebound hyperpigmentation,” he says of the epiphany.

Today, brightening products featuring alternatives to HQ are on the rise. In fact, non-HQ based products are driving sales in the hyperpigmentation/sun damage skin care concern category, according to the “Professional Skin Care: US Market Analysis and Opportunities” report from Kline & Company. Obagi’s company, ZO Skin Health, is leading the pack of effective HQ-free products with innovative formulas like C-Bright 10% Vitamin C Serum, BrightAlive Non-Retinol Skin Brightener, and Brightamax, a full-body treatment. The stream of newbies has been swift and steady, and this category will likely continue to grow thanks to the pioneering work of ZO.


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Rox Star

R. Rox Anderson, MD
Professor of dermatology, Harvard Medical School
Director, Wellman Center for Photomedicine
Adjunct Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Anderson_RoxLasers and energy-based procedures are among the biggest games in town today, and R. Rox Anderson, MD, deserves much of the credit here. From his lab at the Wellman Center, Anderson conceived of and developed many of the non-scarring laser treatments now widely used in dermatology, including treatments for birthmarks, microvascular and pigmented lesions, tattoos, and permanent hair removal. He has also contributed to treatments for vocal cords, kidney stones, glaucoma, heart disease, photodynamic therapy for cancer and acne, and optical diagnostics.

Anderson co-invented fractional laser treatment; led the development of selective cryolipolysis, which is used in CoolSculpting®; and did the original work on deep ultrasound for Ulthera®.

His research has advanced our knowledge of human skin photobiology, drug photosensitizations, tissue optics, and laser-tissue interactions. “Rox,” as he is called by his peers, has been awarded more than 60 national and international patents, and has co-authored several hundred scientific books and papers with many more under way.

There are many laser aficionados in this space today—and they all stand on the shoulders of this giant.