• Science, Medicine and Plastic Surgery

    20 Years a Cincinnati Magazine “TOP DOC”

    Mused after watching the exciting Super Bowl.  Tom Brady and New England almost won but Nick Foles, Philadelphia’s backup quarterback played his best game to win the game for the Eagles and the MVP for himself.

     Science often fails Medicine and Plastic Surgery

     In 1951 Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman, died of cervical cancer but those cancerous cells were cultured and given to Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Those cells have been used in research since then including today.  The problem is that those cells have been spread through various research experiments and have contaminated many.  This may mean that when a researcher thought they were studying the effects of anticancer drugs on breast cancer they were treating cervical and breast cancer cells.

    Another cell line, this time from a 1976 breast cancer case, was used in studies that lead to more than 900 reports.  The problem was that when examining the cells the turned out to be melanoma.

    The studies themselves as well as poorly trained researchers also reduce the validity of research.  Previous research of ALS (remember the buckets of water dumped on people, including myself?) found that they were only using a dozen mice which meant that the sample was too small to make any data meaningful.  Often the researchers have little formal training in methodology which again leads to poorly designed studies.

    (Did You Know?  Plasticsurgery.org uses a 1-5 scale in rating the validity of studies.  They go from a few experiences in an office to a multicenter double-blind study.)

    The point of this is “buyer beware”.  Cosmetic surgery with its dollars outside the insurance realm has attracted many poorly trained physicians, machines and products that either haven’t been studied fully or do very little to improve your appearance.  Be skeptical of things that promise extraordinary improvements or even quick results.  While technology and science continue to improve what we can offer our patients, significant changes rarely occur.

    I’ll be at a plastic surgery meeting next week and I’ll let you know of what’s worthwhile.  Feel free to contact me anytime if you have questions about the validity of products or procedures, you know I’ll give you an honest opinion.

    -Richard Harris, WSJ


    As usual the Super Bowl commercials were interesting.  Danny Devito was entertaining as an M & M.  Two well know NY Giant football players danced together.  Alexa has a new voice.  The problem I have is remembering what product some sold even if it was a memorable commercial.


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    Healthy living,

    Peter McKenna, M.D.



    McKenna Cosmetic Surgery Center . 10577 Montgomery Road . Cincinnati . OH . 45242

    A Cincinnati Magazine “Top Doc” since 1998








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