Letter to the editor:
In his column, “I’m a plastic surgeon who won’t perform Brazilian Butt Lifts,” Arthur Perry states that the procedure is “celebrity driven.” More accurately, the increase in popularity of the BBL is driven by the changing aesthetic of many Caucasians who have come to appreciate the appeal of a shapely buttocks. I reject Perry’s notion that appreciation for buttock shape is a new phenomenon.
Regarding the safety of the procedure, the task force cited by Perry has indeed found that the BBL can safely be performed by limiting the grafted fat to the subcutaneous space. However, Perry goes on to claim that it is “impossible to follow” this guideline intraoperatively. I would say that any good BBL surgeon can tell what plane the grafting instrument is in, just as any competent liposuction surgeon can judge the location of the cannula during liposuction surgery.
Related: I’m a plastic surgeon who won’t perform Brazilian Butt Lifts. They’re deadly.
Perry himself admits that the most popular cosmetic surgery, liposuction, was once considered dangerous until proper safety precautions were established. I believe we’re at that point in the evolution of BBL surgery and the procedure can be a very worthwhile, and safe, procedure when performed in the right hands.
Jeffrey Horowitz, plastic surgeon; Bel Air, Md.
One person’s experience isn’t representative
Letter to the editor:
Walt Heyer’s column in USA TODAY, “Hormones, surgery, regret,” presents the opinion of one person and is not representative of the transgender population at large. It is worth acknowledging the experience of all people, but this column does more to invalidate the experiences of the vast majority of trans people, as opposed to validate the story of someone else.
As a trans woman who felt early in my path like I had to justify my transition to society, family and friends, running a piece noting the experience of someone who makes up a small minority of the trans population without noting that person’s opinion may not be representative is incredibly irresponsible. Individuals should absolutely carefully consider the pros and cons of transitioning, given the potential disruption to life it can cause, (not to mention the time and money involved) and should know that a number of people greater than zero regret that decision, which is the case with any major life decision (moving somewhere new, starting a new career, etc.).
Related: As a transgender woman, I can’t fight Trump’s policies by myself. I need all progressives to join us.
However, a piece like this is simply going to provide unsubstantiated malice to parents, employers, friends and people in contact with trans individuals looking for an excuse to prevent someone from transitioning to justify his/her own bigotry and/or fear or to invalidate that person’s feelings and experiences.
The media does provide stories more often about successful gender transitions, because those are more common than regrets. In addition, when transgender people are still regularly persecuted (such as the proposal last fall from the federal government to remove mention of “transgender” from policy documents; regular hate crimes against transgender people; adverse employment and housing determinations), it’s more important than ever that we be given a positive, fair and accurate portrayal by the media to try and balance out the negativity we otherwise face on a day to day basis. While I’m not opposed to stories such as this to present an alternative viewpoint, it would be nice if more thought and care were put into it to present as simply an alternative viewpoint.
Samantha Bryant; Doylestown, Pa.
TV vape ads? Where?
Letter to the editor:
Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel’s column expressing concern about e-cigarette advertisement on TV has sparked a lot of chatter. As a representative of the vaping community— and a former smoker who quit via vaping and now no longer vapes — I find this is conspiracy theorism trafficked by a public official who should know better. This fearmongering that could have serious effects for smokers.
FCC commissioner: We need to crack down on e-cigarette advertisements
Rosenworcel sees vaping as dangerous as smoking cigarettes. The commissioner is using her platform to call for a pre-emptive curtailment of the First Amendment to “solve” a problem that doesn’t exist. She tacitly admits that there is no identified problem of vapor advertising on TV, calling for “studying the extent of advertising on the airwaves for e-cigarettes.” If the problem she points to existed, she wouldn’t need the FCC to study the “extent” of it.
If Rosenworcel really believes there is a plague of vapor ads blanketing the airwaves, she should study and quantify the problem before she puts pen to paper. She should quote the script of one such ad, and identify the station on which it aired, as well as the date and time. Otherwise, she risks her reputation as a serious regulator.
Liz Mair, strategist at Vapers United; Arlington, Va.
VA compares favorably with private care
Letter to the editor:
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides some of the highest quality health care available, and USA TODAY’s article, “Death rates, bedsores, ER wait times: Where every VA hospital lags or leads other medical care,” comparing VA emergency room wait times and patient satisfaction, is disappointing.
A 2018 Rand study, reviewing data from 2013 to 2016, found that the VA health care system “generally delivers higher-quality care than other health providers,” and a 2018 Dartmouth study found that VA hospitals outperform private hospitals in quality measures and patient safety indicators, in most markets. Additionally, a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that VA appointment wait times are shorter than those in the private sector in primary care and two of three specialty care areas. The JAMA study also found that access to care at VA health centers improved from 2014 to 2017 and patient satisfaction with VA appointment wait times is improving.
Related: Where every VA hospital lags or leads other medical care
In other words, VA care is just as good — or better — than that available in the private sector. And VA is seeing more patients than ever before, more quickly than ever before, while veterans are more satisfied with wait times than they have been previously.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie; Washington, D.C.
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