June 5, 2003
Welcome to the 10th issue of my ezine. This is intended to be a free and a fun way to learn about plastic surgery. I am still overwhelmed by the tremendous number of questions I keep receiving. Once again, I picked out a few that I think are interesting and let you see how I answered them. I again thank everyone for their interest and ideas. Keep emailing your questions…
THANKS AGAIN– our Yahoo Store has far exceeded our expectations and we want to thank everyone for their support!
Our first question is from BF:
Email Question – IS THERE A NON-PRESCRIPTION TOPICAL OINTMENT FOR SKIN TAG REMOVAL? Check out our website to read about skin tags. Thanks.
Email Answer – Sorry, but the answer is NO.
If skin tags become sore from rubbing clothing or jewelry or if you find them unsightly, they can be removed surgically. Healing is usually complete within a week. Remember, new skin tags may form even if all existing tags are removed. Some people have their skin tags disappear if they take chromium picolinate 200 mcg twice a day. I cannot find any good literature on this topic though.
Bottom line is we are unsure of the exact cause but the leading thoughts are a genetic predisposition or a virus. The best treatment remains a small office procedure. Thanks for your question.
Our next question is from TE:
Email Question – I hope this message finds you in good spirits. I am writing to ask if it is understood that Vitiligo could be caused by the immune cells attacking the pigment producing cells, why is it not as simple as making a vaccine to stop the immune system from attacking those cells. Would the vaccine cause the immune system to shut down completely? Thank you in advance for your consideration regarding this topic. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Email Answer - It is a good idea but it is not that simple. Vaccine therapy is still attempted for HIV and other diseases. Once we figure out exactly why your body is attacking your own pigment cells, we will probably be closer to a cure. The mechanisms of your immune system and autoimmune disorders are actually very complicated and unfortunately not so simple to explain.
I know the medical community will continue to work on this problem and hopefully in the near future actually make it a thing of the past. Vitiligo can be a very disfiguring problem.
One of the most recent advances is the Relume laser. It can supposedly increase pigmentation by 60-70%. Problem is you need 8 treatments and touch-ups every 3 months. There is a significant cost and I am still not convinced this is worth the money. I think it activates your pigment cells a little bit but the plastic surgery community thinks it only really kind of tans you. I would wait and see how this pans out. As you can see, we do not offer this in our office. The reason is because I am not yet convinced. Since I always seem to have the latest, that should tell you something.
The vaccine or actually immunomodulation is going to be the answer. This means targeting the specific markers on your pigment cells that cause your body to attack it and turning them off.
Please check out our site at for more vitiligo information. Thanks for your question.
AGAIN, thank you all for your questions!
Thinking of visiting a plastic surgeon??
I think a great place for you to start is the 7 critical questions on our site at http://www.prplastic.com/7_critical_questions_to_ask_any_plastic_surgeon.htm. These are the things you should look for in your selection process. I think they will be helpful.
The ASPS site at www.plasticsurgery.org will also give you a list of board certified plastic surgeons in your area.
I am always available if you decide you would ever want a consultation with me. I frequently see patients from out of town and we try to make special provisions.
Remember, no other plastic surgeon I know has ever had an ezine. They don't know how to tell others about what they do, what they should ask other surgeons etc. Some have a boring stuffy newsletter that is preprinted and they just add their name or something. This is not like that! You will not find useless stuff intended to get you to come in and see me and spend money in my office. Just help. And meaningful information.
Remember, knowledge is power.
By the way, Happy Father’s Day. I hope you all have fun but stay healthy…
Email me – ask whatever you want. You are the ones that will help make this ezine fun and exciting. What do you want to know?? Ask anything! Ask away…
Dr. Sam Speron
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon
P.S. I want everyone to remember I’m doing this for you. I want everyone to become a well-informed consumer. But, I also want it to be easy and fun to read. I want you to look forward to getting it. Email me. What’s boring? What’s exciting to you? Let me know. You are the heart and soul of this newsletter. Are we still having fun??