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Cutting Edge: Best LA Surgeons

BY KELLY MICKLE | April 2, 2012 | People

In the search for beauty and the fountain of youth, all roads lead to Los Angeles. Home to the best doctors in the business, the city remains a hotbed for aesthetic innovation and a haven for those who want to look young forever. Fortunately, all that work seems to be paying off: New research published in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery shows that face-lifts and other facial cosmetic surgeries can make people appear up to seven years younger than their actual age. No wonder 13.8 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed in the United States last year alone. This beauty business is now worth more than $10 billion. And in Beverly Hills, you only have to walk two blocks to find dozens of MDs offering everything from liposuction to nose jobs. Here, five of the top City of Angels docs for every little nip and tuck.

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The Artist: Dr. David Amron, body

Expertise: A cosmetic surgeon and co-owner of Spalding Drive Cosmetic Surgery in Beverly Hills, Dr. David Amron specializes in shaping areas of disproportion with a procedure he calls “mini-liposuction,” which has helped mold some of the best bodies in Hollywood.

Beauty philosophy: Amron remains a purist, foregoing most fat-burning fads (lasers, ultrasound technologies, etc.) for the artistic control he believes yields better results. “People are always looking for some snazzy new invention, but there is something to be said for perfecting your skill and doing an excellent job with traditional methods,” he says. “After all, it is the artist [who] creates the masterpiece, not the paintbrush.”

Technique: Amron favors local anesthesia (aka tumescent liposuction), allowing patients to remain conscious during the operation. “Adjusting the body throughout surgery enables me to accurately sculpt fat for a smooth and natural-looking outcome,” he says. During the procedure and if the patient desires, Amron purifies the fat extracted using a sophisticated filtering mechanism, so it can then be reinjected as a natural filler for the face. Using light and shadows to guide him, he slowly molds hollow areas in the temples and cheeks, looking at structure and contour to soften and highlight the face for a more youthful appearance. Known as fat transfer, the technique usually results in a permanent filler, unlike synthetic options that may last only a year.

Education: Amron is a board-certified dermatological surgeon. He received his bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego and his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He continued his residency at UC San Diego’s Jacobs Medical Center and had a postgraduate research fellowship at UCLA’s Division of Dermatology. He has been practicing in Los Angeles for more than 10 years.

Myth buster: “There’s a misperception that liposuction is for the overweight, but really it’s about fixing areas of disproportion that can’t be resolved with diet and exercise,” says Amron. “My job isn’t to remove fat, but to sculpt the body for ideal balance.”

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The Visionary: Dr. Michael J. Groth, eyes

Expertise: In a city where lying about your age is practically a pastime, the man whose hands Angelenos trust to help them turn back the clock is Dr. Michael J. Groth. One of a small number of ophthalmic plastic surgeons in Los Angeles (there are fewer than 600 in the country), Groth’s eye-opening skills have earned him a legion of loyal fans who are now being asked why they look so rested and stress-free.

Beauty philosophy: When it comes to eye lifts and brow lifts, the difference between looking refreshed and looking startled can often be miniscule. Because of this, Groth takes a delicate and conservative approach. “It’s kind of like working on a watch. There are a lot of little moving parts, and they all need to be respected. And it has to be beautiful and functional. Function is critical.”

Technique: To ensure a natural look, Groth’s technique requires working from the inside of the eye, making a tiny incision in the backside of the lower eyelid to reposition fat tissue, eliminating bags, deep wrinkles, and dark circles. The approach gives eyes a lift without causing trauma to the muscle or removing too much fat tissue—both of which can make you look more Jocelyn Wildenstein than Jen Aniston. This focus on preserving and repositioning fat to prevent hollowness and an unnatural change in eye shape has made Groth the most sought-after surgeon for those wanting their procedure to go undetected. The best part: The results last up to 20 years.

Education: Groth graduated first in his class from the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. He is a board-certified ophthalmologist, as well as a member of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. He has been in practice in Beverly Hills for more than 20 years.

Higher learning: To stay ahead of the curve, Groth teaches at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute and West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, in addition to running his own practice. “Teaching keeps me connected to the medical community, and I’m constantly energized and challenged by the students,” he says. “It’s the best way to master your craft.”

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The Curve Creator: Dr. Gabriel Chiu, breasts

Expertise: The perfect hourglass figure, whether on Marilyn Monroe, Cindy Crawford, or Kim Kardashian, is one beauty ideal that never fades—even scientists admit it has evolutionary advantages. Fortunately, if you’re not happy with the curves God gave you, Dr. Gabriel Chiu can create them for you. The man behind some of LA’s best assets, Chiu is the owner of Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery and highly sought after for his personalized service and gift for delivering natural-looking breasts.

Beauty philosophy: “As Auguste Rodin said, ‘I invent nothing, I rediscover,’” says Chiu. “My goal is to maximize a patient’s inherent beauty, not to imitate a celebrity or turn her into someone else.”

Technique: Beloved for granting extensive doctor-patient face time, Chiu gleans a deep understanding of each client’s body type and personality pre-procedure. “For a perfect result, the breasts should blend with the body and a patient’s lifestyle and sense of self,” says Chiu. While some implants are inserted through the areola or the crease where the breasts meet the chest, others can be implanted under the armpit or even through the navel. By tailoring to each body type, lifestyle, and breast size, Chiu minimizes scarring and ensures that even though the breasts themselves may be faux, the results look anything but.

Education: Chiu received his degree in microbiology and immunology from Berkeley and his medical degree at the Western University of Health Sciences in Southern California. He served as chief resident in general surgery at Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital in Cleveland before beginning a fellowship in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is board certified by the American Board of Physician Specialties. Following his training, Chiu relocated back to California and opened Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery.

Special touch: His progressive approach to pre- and postoperative care incorporates homeopathic and holistic remedies to expedite the recovery process. And Chiu’s wife, Christine, sends each patient home with a recovery bag complete with chicken noodle soup, vitamins, fresh juices, magazines, music, and movies. This attention to detail has made Chiu as admired for his bedside manner as he is for his sculptural skill.

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The Youth Guru: Dr. Ronald Moy, skin

Expertise: Dr. Ronald Moy is president of the American Academy of Dermatology, as well as a cosmetic and plastic surgeon at The Rodeo Collection in Beverly Hills and the California Health and Longevity Institute in Westlake Village.

Beauty philosophy: According to Moy, the solution to Angelenos’ desire to remain forever young often lies in minimally invasive techniques. A leader in the anti-aging medical movement, Moy believes in utilizing new research and a comprehensive approach to restore a youthful complexion—no cutting required.

Technique: Analyzing everything from stress to hormone and melatonin levels, Moy conducts a battery of tests to determine all factors affecting the aging process. Case in point: “Loose, saggy skin on the neck is often caused by hormonal changes, which can be fixed with bio-identical hormone therapy,” he says. This innovative strategy—used in conjunction with cutting-edge lasers and fillers—has made Moy a skin savior for those holding on to their youth with a white-knuckle grip. The first dermatologist in LA to use the new Fractional Erbium laser, he painlessly removes wrinkles and sun damage to reveal fresh, dewy-looking skin with just a two- to three-day recovery period. As for face-lifts, he uses injectable fillers and stem cells taken from fat transfers to mimic volume and lift, sans surgery.

Education: Moy received his medical degree from Albany Medical College and completed his fellowship training in dermatologic plastic surgery at UCLA. He is board certified by The American Board of Dermatology, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, and in Mohs micrographic surgery and cutaneous oncology. He has been in practice for more than 25 years and was named one of the “Best Doctors in America” in 1999.

Innovative invention: Some of Moy’s best work has been in clinical research. A skin-cancer specialist, he developed a face cream that helps spur cell regeneration to heal cancerous skin abnormalities. An added bonus: The cream makes skin look younger, firmer, and more radiant.

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The Fixer: Dr. Andrew Frankel, nose

Expertise: Dr. Andrew Frankel is revered for his work in secondary rhinoplasty, a complex operation designed to fix a nose another surgeon has already worked on. “Many doctors avoid these cases, but they are puzzles I enjoy solving,” says Frankel. The work often requires grafting cartilage from a patient’s ear or chest wall, or occasionally even their skull, to rebuild the nose, which has been mangled by repeated surgeries.

Beauty philosophy: “My aim isn’t to cover up or to camouflage, but to shape the nose so that it is balanced and harmonious with the rest of the face,” says Frankel.

Technique: To ensure patients—both nose-job novices and discontented veterans—are satisfied with their results, Frankel uses a computer-imaging program to give them a virtual picture of exactly what their finished nose will look like. “What people say and what they imagine can be very different,” he says. “Having a photo we both agree on ensures we’re on the same page.” This tool has proven invaluable as more patients now forgo a cute, small nose—once a common request—for one that preserves their ethnicity. “We want to maintain the uniqueness of their nose, so the margin of error is very small,” says Frankel. “It’s all about finesse, which ups my game and keeps me passionate about what I do.”

Education: Frankel is board certified in both facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. He has been practicing at the Lasky Clinic in Beverly Hills since 1994.

Philanthropy: While a keen sense of aesthetics has earned Frankel an A-list following, his most remarkable work is done through Face to Face, an extension of The National Domestic Violence Project. Through this program, Frankel performs pro-bono surgery to help women recover from years of abuse. “Many women bear physical reminders of a time when they had no control over their life,” says Frankel. “Helping these women heal has been one of the most gratifying experiences in all my years of practice.”

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