Medical Tourism 101, A Complete Guide

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Why does it seem like Starbucks has a store on every corner where you live? Because the company knows most of us won’t go even one block out of our way to get a cup o’ cappuccino. Why then, are tens of thousands of people choosing to travel halfway around the world for surgical procedures? It’s called “medical tourism,” and you might find yourself considering it soon as well.

What is medical tourism?

Rapidly becoming a multi-billion dollar industry, medical tourism is the catch-all phrase describing travel to other countries primarily for medical or dental care. Along with elective plastic surgery procedures like face-lifts and implants, medical tourists also travel for highly specialized operations like heart surgery, cancer treatment, and hip replacement. Some medical tours include pre-operation sightseeing, luxury accommodations, and extensive post-op care.

Why would I consider it?

Your reasons for choosing to travel for medical care depend on where you live. In the US, medical costs are skyrocketing, and many elective procedures aren’t covered by insurance. Procedures abroad maybe a fourth or even a tenth of what they might be at home.

In countries with nationalized health such as Canada or Great Britain, the waiting times for treatment may simply be too long, and the cost to see a physician in private practice is too high.

You may also become a medical tourist if you’d like to combine an exotic vacation with a tummy tuck or, on a more serious note, if you’re seeking alternative treatments for cancer or other diseases.

How much money can I save?

The short answer is, potentially lots. For example, a heart valve replacement that would normally cost $200,000 in the US would be $10,000 in India – including round-trip airfare, and a quick vacation package. Looking for a face-lift? This will raise your eyebrows instantly: the price tag is $15,000 in the US, but only $2,600 in Bolivia (And lest you think the Bolivians are amateurs at this, more than 70% of middle and upper-class women in Bolivian have had at least one cosmetic procedure).

According to a CBS News: 60 Minutes report, one patient who received coronary artery bypass surgery in Thailand said the operation cost him $12,000, as opposed to the $100,000 he estimated the operation would have cost him at home in the US.

How do I choose a country for my procedure?

It depends on what type of procedure you’re seeking. Some destinations specialize in medical procedures while others are best known for cosmetic surgery. If the procedure you’re seeking is elective and non-critical, you may be most interested in a country with beautiful antiquities or beaches.

Countries actively promoting medical tourism for medical procedures include India, Singapore, Thailand, Cuba, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Jordan, Lithuania, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

For plastic surgery, the hotspots are Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Turkey. South Africa specializes not just in medical tourism, but “medical safaris” – lions, elephants, AND a nose job. However, the country with the most expertise in plastic surgery maybe Brazil, as more plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures are performed in this country annually than in the whole of the European Union.

India, Thailand, and Singapore have been most aggressive in building their medical tourism business to date:

INDIA

The sub-continent is so committed to generating revenue from medical tourists, the country’s National Health Policy actually declares that treatment of foreign patients is legally an “export” and deemed “eligible for all fiscal incentives extended to export earnings.” It’s estimated that medical tourism to India is growing by 30% a year.

India boasts 5 hospitals accredited by the US-based Joint Commission International and a global reputation for superior hip resurfacing and heart surgery. It may be somewhat anecdotal, one Indian hospital, Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centers located in Delhi and Faridabad, claims to perform nearly 15,000 heart operations every year with a post-surgery mortality rate of only 0.8 percent – less than half of most major hospitals in the United States. Most medical treatment costs start at about a tenth of the price of comparable treatment in the US. However, for US travelers, extremely long travel times can be a deterrent.

SINGAPORE

As Asia’s leading medical hub, Singapore has a reputation for excellent quality, safety, and trustworthiness, along with advanced research and technology. In 2006, Singapore hosted the first international Medical Travel Conference with participants from 21 countries coming together to discuss the issues and challenges facing the medical travel industry. Nine hospitals in this small country are accredited by JCI.

THAILAND

  1. Fill out an application with your details and medical needs.
  2. Talk with a US-based case manager to select the hospital, doctor(s) and get a cost estimate.
  3. Pay a deposit – avoid companies that want to charge you 100% upfront.
  4. Have a phone conference with your chosen doctor and on-site case manager.
  5. Fly to your destination for your procedure, where you’ll be met by your on-site case manager.
  6. Meet with your physician for a pre-op consultation.
  7. Have your surgery and recover sufficiently for your post-op vacation or return journey (for some procedures, it may be more practical to have the “tourist” part of your trip first.

How does insurance figure in?

For the most part in the US, health insurance companies will not cover non-elective procedures overseas – and certainly not elective. In other words, you would be responsible for 100% of your own medical costs.

In the future, however, employers may offer overseas medical treatment as an option to their covered employees, according to Dr. Arnold Milstein, of Mercer Human Resource Consulting, who has been retained by five Fortune 500 companies to determine whether outsourcing healthcare can be a viable option.

It’s also possible to obtain medical insurance while traveling, but it will only cover you in the event of an emergency occurring on that trip. Whether or not you would be covered during an emergency that occurs as a consequence of other medical treatment you were receiving is another question. I would suspect the answer is no.

So should I do it?

If you’re seeking a relatively common elective cosmetic procedure, certainly shopping abroad should figure into your decision process. If you have no or limited medical coverage, and need some serious treatment, traveling abroad may be the only option you can afford. In any case, make certain you’ve spoken in-depth with your home physician, fully understand the medical risk, and thoroughly research the physician and facility you intend to visit.

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The World’s Largest Tumors

Hearing that the doctor has found a tumor in a person’s worst nightmare. Hearing that said tumor is the size of a Buick? Forget about it. Body-Philosophy has searched far and wide to find the largest, meanest, and most mind-boggling tumors known to mankind. We’re talking masses that weigh more than the Olsen twins combined. Oh, and if you’re a squeamish hypochondriac, you may want to skip this one.

The 300 Pound Tumor

Trying to lose weight? Watch this YouTube video before lunch and we guarantee you won’t be hungry. The video shows a 1991 surgery in which the world’s largest intact tumor, a whopping 303-pounder, was removed from an unnamed 34-year-old female patient’s abdomen.

The World’s Largest Tumors

By Erin Donnelly
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2007 – 01:34

The 300 Pound Tumor (Cont’d)

According to Apatheticaphid.wordpress.com, the mass measured three feet in diameter and left on a stretcher after six hours of surgery performed by Professor Katherine O’Hanlan of Stanford University Medical Center in California.

The World’s Largest Tumors

By Erin Donnelly
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2007 – 01:34

Huang Chuncai

China’s Huang Chuncai made international headlines – and earned the nickname “Elephant Man” – when the 31-year-old man had a 33-pound tumor removed from his face earlier this year.

Writes Forbes, “Huang Chuncai’s facial tumor became noticeable when he was 4 years old, the hospital said. It grew bigger and more quickly as he grew older, blocking his left eye, pushing his left ear to shoulder level, knocking out his teeth, and deforming his backbone.”

Not surprisingly, Chuncai had difficulty eating, speaking, and hearing because of the tumor.

The World’s Largest Tumors

By Erin Donnelly
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2007 – 01:34


Lucica Bunghez

It’s not often that a Chicago surgeon – in this case Dr. McKay McKinnon, who also removed Lori Hoogewind’s 200-pound tumor – travels to Romania for a patient. Dr. McKinnon and anesthesiologist Dr. Lynn Kahana made the trip in 2004 to treat Lucica Bunghez, a then-47-year-old Romanian woman with a 176-pound tumor caused by neurofibroma, a disorder that causes tumors to develop on the skin, tissues, and bone. The tumor was wrapped around Bunghez’s body, covering her back and most of her thighs.

According to CBSNews.com, Bunghez weighed just 88 pounds without the tumor, which took eight hours to remove.

You may be interested in reading my new post tips on laser eye surgery which can be found at http://body-philosophy.net/procedural-tips-on-laser-eye-surgery/

The World’s Largest Tumors

By Erin Donnelly
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2007 – 01:34

Marlie Casseus

In 2005 14-year-old Marlie Casseus made headlines when doctors – who had donated their time – removed a 16-pound facial tumor that had horrifically distorted her features and threatened to make her blind.

According to MSNBC.com, Casseus was born with polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, which causes the bone to become “like a big bowl of jelly with some bone inside,” said Dr. Jesus Gomez of the University of Miami School of Medicine, one of the doctors involved in the operation.

“She was treated like an animal,” Dr. Gomez said of Casseus’s experience growing up in Haiti. “If she was walking on a sidewalk, people would cross the street. If they tried to stop a taxi, it would keep going.”

The World's Largest Tumors
The World’s Largest Tumors

The World’s Largest Tumors

By Erin Donnelly
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2007 – 01:34

Lori Hoogewind

What does it take to get on Oprah? Apparently a 200-pound tumor. Lori Woogewind appeared on the show to talk about the massive tumor that had been growing inside her.

Once a slim 120 pounds, Lori’s weight ballooned to more than 300 pounds in just a year. Doctors at the University of Chicago Hospitals discovered that the cause of the weight gain was an enormous 200-pound (and still growing) tumor attached to Lori’s abdomen.

The tumor was a result of a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis, which had caused Lori to develop minor benign growths over the course of her life. These small tumors had been easily removable, until 1998, when the large malignant mass made itself known. The tumor kept growing despite radiation, leaving Lori with the sole option of a life-threatening, 18-hour surgery.

Though she lost 50 pounds of blood during the procedure, Lori is now healthy and tumor-free.

“Well, we were just really blessed, and we were also fortunate to find someone who was willing to take the risk,” Lori told Oprah.

The World’s Largest Tumors

By Erin Donnelly
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2007 – 01:34

Grace Radtke

In 2004 Ohio resident Grace Radtke had the mother of all ovarian cysts removed – a 66-pound whopper “the size of three watermelons,” NBC11.com reports. The tumor, which had wedged itself under Radtke’s ribs, took four people to lift.

Strangely, whereas in other cases large tumors cause patients to experience a dramatic weight gain, 300-pound Radtke actually lost weight, which made her go to the doctor.

“It didn’t feel normal,” Radtke told FoxNews.com. “It was like a long pregnancy.”

The World’s Largest Tumors

By Erin Donnelly
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2007 – 01:34

Kayla Hilton

Imagine having Nicole Richie strapped to your abdomen, and you might understand what it was like for 32-year-old Oklahoman Kayla Hilton to walk around with a 93-pound ovarian cyst. Hilton had the fluid-filled cyst removed earlier this year, MSNBC.com reports.
“I feel lighter and happy to heal, to get better and be able to get around,” Hilton said.

It took years for doctors to finally diagnose the cyst that had triggered a massive weight gain for Hilton, who weighed more than 500 pounds.

The World’s Largest Tumors

By Erin Donnelly
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2007 – 01:34

John Lee Johnson

The story of John Lee Johnson reflects that these massive tumors can indeed be fatal. Last year Johnson, a noted civil rights activist from Illinois, passed away three months after surgery to remove a large 37-pound tumor from his abdomen, News-Gazette.com reports. The paper also reported that Johnson’s tumor is believed to be the second-largest soft-tissue liposarcoma on record.

The World’s Largest Tumors

By Erin Donnelly
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2007 – 01:34

Mona Lisa Howell

When 14-year-old Mona Lisa Howell’s stomach suddenly ballooned up in 2002, her family feared that the Indiana teen was pregnant, Local6.com reports. Once doctors ruled that out, they diagnosed her as obese and in need of a diet. It wasn’t until yet another doctor ordered an ultrasound and CAT scan that the real culprit was determined. Mona Lisa has a 37-pound cyst on her ovaries.

Doctors were able to remove the cyst, which was “the size of a beach ball.” Side note to any pregnant teens out there: We don’t think Mom and Dad will buy this as an excuse.

The World’s Largest Tumors

By Erin Donnelly
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2007 – 01:34

Madison the Pig

It’s not just humans who fall victim to giant tumors. Madison the potbellied pig – who, being a pig, was already a little chubby – was discovered to have an 80-pound tumor, PigPalSanctuary.com reports. The tumor was successfully removed and the 170-pound Madison shrank down to a svelte 90 pounds.

The World’s Largest Tumors

By Erin Donnelly
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2007 – 01:34

The 84-Pound Tumor

According to Stiffs.com, in 1997 Hungarian doctors removed a tumor weighing 84 pounds from a man’s abdomen. The site sources Hungarian news agency MTI, which reported that the tumor was discovered after the man experienced a sudden weight gain.

Nicole Shorland

Hearing Nicole Shorland’s story may stop you from ever asking a woman if she’s pregnant again. Shorland told The Daily Mail that a co-worker asked when she was due after noticing her swollen belly. The only problem – it was a 22-pound cyst, not a baby.

Even Shorland’s doctor was convinced that the bulge was due to pregnancy, saying “I’ve got a woman who’s eight months pregnant and she’s in denial.” An ultrasound revealed the cyst, which was later removed.

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The Food Fight That Helps You Eat Healthier

Who doesn’t love a rowdy food fight once in a while … especially if it makes you healthier in the process?

Eat Better America has come up with a clever (and fun) ploy to educate the public about healthier diets, and it involves more airborne produce than a Gallager show.

At TheGoodFoodFight.com, users can select a “healthy recipe of destruction” – bean and veggie wrap, spaghetti with spicy veggie meatballs, or spinach-filled fish rolls, all rated for all-important factors like hurlability and splat factor – before choosing their nemesis, a cafeteria lady, a sushi chef, or a hotdog vendor.

Eat Healthier
Lunchbox mit Mango-Salat (Ruccola, Spinat u.a. mit Mango und geröstetet Erdnüssen), Roggensaftbrot mit Frischkäse, Platt-Pfirsich

While you are innocently directed to a page filled with recipes and nutritional information, your trash-talking food fight foe (“I will make your healthy heart pound with fear,” growls Sake Tuya the sushi chef; “I’m going to drop you like those beans are going to drop your cholesterol,” snarls Ruthless Ruth) bounces around the screen, hurling edible weapons with a resounding flat. Users must counter-attack by clicking on their appointed recipe of destruction and aiming back (it’s harder than it looks). When it’s Game Over, you can opt to play again, ambush a friend, or move on to EatBetterAmerica.com, where hundreds of healthy, low-fat recipes await.

It’s a smart way to get people thinking about healthier diets and a fun little stress relief. And hey, how often can you engage in a down-and-dirty food fight without needing a towel and a water hose to clean up?

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15 Outrageous Stress Relieving Gadgets That May Just Save Your Life

You read it right here on these pages folks: Stress can kill you. If you’re continuously stressed, it will eventually alter your hormones and cause your body to produce too much of the hormone cortisol, also known as the Death Hormone. Some doctors believe cortisol plays a significant role in messing up your immune system, reducing memory, making you fatter, increasing your wrinkles, and damaging your heart. It’s time to do something now!

But if the idea of changing your diet, exercise, and behavior are simply, well, too stressful, never fear. We’ve scoured the globe to find the 15 most outrageous stress-relieving gadgets that just may save your life.

Spit-Powered Stress Detector

How do you know if you’re stressed, to begin with? If the chain-smoking, acid-reflux, and constipation don’t give it away, perhaps you need the Spit-Powered Stress Detector. Yet another amazing breakthrough in Japanese technology, the “Nipro Cocoro Meter” measures the amount of amylase (a stress enzyme) in your saliva. Simply slobber on the tester and shove it into the device (like a pregnancy test, only further north). After a minute or two, the meter will display a numerical level, along with a cute stick figure if you’re too wound up to read numbers.

The Cocoro Meter sells for 19,800 yen (the US $164) and weighs only a quarter of a pound.

Wave Pocket Stress Reliever

If the thought of spitting stresses you out, you might consider the emWave Pocket Stress Reliever for your diagnosis. Simply place your thumb on the sensor, and the 2-ounce device displays your level of “coherence” – in other words, how efficient and “in sync” your body systems are – by measuring the subtle changes in your heart rhythms. The “Quick Coherence Technique” teaches you how to improve your coherence by breathing deeply and thinking positively. Oh my gosh! What a breakthrough! Why I would not have thought of that.

Price tag: $200.00

Stress Relieving

Stress Chest Boobs

Of course, this is something else I never would have thought of. Because I’m a chick. But what couldn’t be more relaxing after a hard day’s work than giving a pair of Stress Chest Boobs a good old squeeze? They only come in one size, but heck, anything more than a handful is a waste, right? (Or was that mouthful?)

Price tag: $10.00

Husband Choker

And ladies if you’re stressed out from watching your lazy husband sit around all day squeezing those dang chest boobs, you might want to buy yourself the Husband Choker. Press the button and the husband will make a typical man comment. “About time you got home. I’m starving!” or “I’m going out to play 26 holes of golf!” Squeeze his neck with all your might, and after his eyes bulge, his cheeks redden and his tongue sticks out, he’ll adjust his comment to something you’d rather hear such as, “I mean, you go shopping… here’s my wallet. Have fun darling!”

Price tag: $28.00

Desktop Stress Rocket

I generally would rather NOT hear annoying comments from that new guy who started in sales, but pounding on the desk never seems dramatic enough. The Desktop Stress Rocket may be just the ticket for instant relief. Simply bang on the launch pad of the desktop rocket and watch it soar high over the wall of your cubicle. With any luck, it will poke out the eye of someone who’s driving you nuts.

Price tag: $12.50

Rapid Antigen Test Kits

These are small COVID testing kits, that can test COVID in a few minutes rapid antigen test kits are very handy and you can use them at home.

Rapid Antigen Test Kits

Motorized Head Wizard

If you suffer from tension headaches, you deserve a visit from the Motorized Head Wizard. Now you don’t have to wait for trips to the hairstylist’s shampoo girl to get a decent scalp massage. The Head Wizard is always at your command (and doesn’t require a tip). The 100% copper wire legs of the Head Wizard gently vibrate and massage 14 acupressure points on your scalp to produce tingly euphoria. And if all that weren’t enough, the Wizard’s jaunty cap lights up!

Price tag: $15.89

The Boyfriend Pillow

After a rough day, who couldn’t use a big hug from their sweetie? No boyfriend at the moment? No problem. The Boyfriend Pillow has a cuddly arm and cozy shoulder to cry on. Plus this one even has a motion device that makes the pillow “soothingly vibrate.” Hmm! Are you supposed to hug it or…?

Price tag: $8.97

Condom Stress Relievers

If you don’t have a boyfriend, and you don’t have much money either, you can make your own stress reliever with a condom. All you have to do is fill any (unused!) condom with ordinary all-purpose flour. Unroll the condom, and using a small spoon, fill it with flour. Shake or twirl the condom to get the flour to settle so you can fill it fully. When it’s nice and firm, tie off the open end (like a balloon) and you’ll have a fun squeezy novelty. Here’s the instructional video if you don’t believe me.

MindaSpa

But perhaps you’re looking for something a bit more high-tech. Can’t afford to take your body on vacation? Send your brain to the spa instead. Slip-on the glasses plug in the earpieces and the MindSpa delivers specifically tuned frequencies of light and sound to shift your mind into either a deeply relaxed state (alpha (although I always thought Hawaii was a deeply relaxed state)) or a state of cognitive stimulation and focus. The sound and light programs are supposed to improve sleep patterns, enhance creativity, and combat jetlag.

Price tag: $279.90

Stress Relieving Wrist Band

Of course, you’ll look a bit obvious wearing those crazy glasses. So if you need to keep your stress release on the down-low, you might consider the Stress Relieving Wrist Band which you can wear discretely under your pinstripe suit. This biofeedback device gently massages and stimulates the pressure points on your inner left wrist. Similar to acupuncture, but without the sharp bits, the device transmits gentle electric signals to the wrist which then somehow convinces the brain that everything is just fine. The good news is, it does not require that you abstain from food or drink, and doesn’t interfere with medications, so you can still knock back the tequila shots and Xanax for extra efficacy.

Price tag: $79.95

UberOrbs

If you’re the type who always fiddles with paperclips when you’re stressed, you might appreciate the sensual smoothness of UberOrbs. Smooth and fiddly, UberOrbs are two highly polished obelisk-shaped magnets that are compelled to attract and repel each other (just like most couples, over time). Pull one end of an UberOrb away from the other and they’ll feverishly attempt to rejoin, crashing into each other as they go. UberOrbs flip, pivot, stick, roll, and ping together, all the while keeping your mind off those impending deadlines.

Price tag: 2 UberOrbs for $48.38

ErgoChair

I don’t know about you, but I sit on a crappy chair all day, ergo my back hurts. But perhaps no longer. The egg-shaped ball of Dr. Riters ErgoChair doesn’t compress discs in the spine, like a regular chair, but promotes correct posture, helps strengthen muscles in your abs and spine, and takes stress off your back and neck. Besides, it looks cool.

Price tag: $167.89

Anti-Gravity Recliner

If the weight of the world is dragging you down at work, you might want to go weightless when you get home. The Anti-Gravity Recliner will give you a nice sensation of floating weightless, and you don’t have to pee in a bag or drink Tang. The NASA-inspired pivoting “Z” shape cradles your spine in a stress-free position, elevates your legs for improved circulation, and eases tense muscles.

Price tag: $79.95

Spine-Worx

Does your aching back cause your stress, or is it the other way around? Either way, Spine-Worx can sort you out. Not a bed of nails – but a bed of rails. As you lie on Spine-Worx, your spine is pressed firmly against the length of two padded and contoured rails, injection-molded to fit the natural shape of your mid and lower back. Designed by a chiropractor, Spine-Worx uses your own body weight to apply controlled pressure to your vertebrae. Your misaligned “verts” are gently guided into their correct positions and held there, while tense muscles relax and stretch.

Price tag: $34.95

Natural Light and Sound System

Maybe it’s not just your back or your muscles – maybe it’s your whole environment that’s stressing you out. So redesign it, with the
Natural Light and Sound System. This compact gadget plays a choice of eight different sounds (ocean, stream, heartbeat, songbird, rainfall, summer night, thunderstorm, or waves) while the crystal ball projects a harmonizing light display of varying color and intensity. It runs on batteries and is small enough to put in a backpack and take to your Mongolian yurt if you really need to escape.

Price tag: $59.95

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40% of Girls Between Ages 6 and 12 Unhappy With Their Appearance

You fixate on your “batwing” arms. You never leave the house without Spanx on, lest anyone catch so much as a sliver of belly bulge. And those elbows of yours? Soooooo fat – at least in your mind.

Hey, we all tend to obsess about our not-so-perfect bodies. Even, it seems, little girls.

According to a new poll from BBC TV’s Newsround, 40% of girls between the ages of 6 and 12 are unhappy with their appearance. One in four said they would like to be thinner, 15% want to be taller or change their facial features, and a quarter dislikes their hair.

In response, The Daily Mail surveyed a panel of young girls about their fixations with their figures. The girls’ comments reveal deep insecurities about their bodies.

“My problem is the top of my legs and my bottom, which sticks out,” says nine-year-old Harriet Buck. “I would like a smaller bottom because I find it difficult to fit into some jeans. Ideally, I would like my legs to be slimmer all over and then I could wear what I wanted. Instead, when I go shopping it’s hard to find jeans that look really nice, and I can’t wear very short skirts.”

Twelve-year-old Kathleen Bartha also expressed unhappiness with her body.

“Whenever I look in the mirror I feel really tearful,” Kathleen says. “My legs are too big to fit well into some trousers, and I feel my stomach isn’t flat enough. Mostly I think I would look a lot better if I were thinner all over. My friends and family tell me I am skinny, but I don’t believe them and I think mum only says it to make me feel better. If I try to diet and not eat so much, mum stops me. But then I read magazines and see the celebrities and wish that I was thin like they are.”

Maria Daly, also 12, sees plastic surgery as her best option.

“Although I like Kate Moss because she is slim, my main wish would be to have bigger boobs,” she says. “Mine isn’t big enough at the moment. If I get to 20 and my boobs are still small, I will have a boob job.”

Even 6-year-old Ilana Pecino spoke of altering her appearance, saying that she’d like to straighten her naturally curly hair “like my favorite singer, Shakira.” The tyke also admits to worrying that too much chocolate will make her fat.

But don’t pin all the blame on Barbie. The girls’ parents cite outside factors like skimpy children’s apparel, Bratz dolls, shows like “America’s Next Top Model,” and teen magazines as encouraging young girls to focus on their appearance.

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Famous Breasts in History

Natalie Portman Portrays Anne Boleyn

Natalie Portman Portrays Anne Boleyn

Although many would argue that we have lived in a patriarchal society since the age of cavepersons, there is no doubt that female breasts have played – and continue to play – a pivotal role in society. Why they’re just so versatile! Breasts are cultural and fashion icons, they’ve launched social movements, and have provided some of the most famous images in art. Here then, are 10 of the most famous pairs in history (in no particular order).

1. Anne Boleyn

Now starring in a new movie with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, Anne Boleyn’s breasts were married to King Henry VIII for just three years. In 1536 her head was indelicately removed from her body because either a. she could not bear a male heir, b. she was unfaithful, c. she was unfaithful with her brother fergawdsakes, or d. all of the above. Nasty rumors of a sixth finger, a goiter on her neck, and various moles were circulated by courtiers opposed to the king’s marriage to Anne because physical imperfections were thought to reflect on one’s character or indicate that someone was “touched by the devil.” Later, the legend of the mole became one of a third breast. Although unusual, extra or “supernumerary” nipples are not really that rare, occurring in 1 out of 18 people. Most historians believe Henry VIII would not have been attracted to Anne if she did possess any physical deformities, including Nipple III (but maybe he was kinky that way)

.Sophia Loren & Jayne Mansfield

Sophia Loren & Jayne Mansfield

2. Jayne Mansfield

Although not a great actress of her time, Jayne Mansfield was superb at generating publicity for her enormous breasts. By the late 1950s, as her movie career began to dim, Mansfield carefully and repeatedly staged public boob slips that were always caught on camera (think of her as the Tara Reid of her time). The most famous incident occurred in April of 1957 during a dinner party honoring Sophia Loren and was immortalized in a photo published ‘round the world. Mansfield’s breasts were so much a part of her image that “Tonight Show” host Jack Paar once introduced her by saying, “Here they are, Jayne Mansfield.” During her PR boob blitz between September 1956 and May 1957, Mansfield appeared in about 2,500 newspaper photographs and had about 122,000 lines of newspaper copy written about her. One small bit of trivia you may already know: “Law and Order SVU” star Mariska Hargitay is Jayne Mansfield’s daughter.

Janet Jackson's Wardrobe Malfunction

Janet Jackson’s Wardrobe Malfunction

3. Janet Jackson

Miss-Jackson-if-you’re-nasty’s boob flash (and uncomfortable-looking nipple adornment) ignited a firestorm of controversy after it appeared live during Super Bowl XXXVIII on February 1, 2004. Along with Damita Joe’s “wardrobe malfunction,” the salacious nature of the entire halftime show led to a crackdown and widespread debate on perceived “indecency” in broadcasting. Ultimately, the Federal Communications Commission levied a record $550,000 fine to CBS, as well as increased the fines per indecency violation from $27,500 to $325,000. Despite denials from both Jackson and her partner-in-boobage, Justin Timberlake, that the flash was accidental, Jackson ended up taking the heat for what most people believed was deliberate tit-illation.

Jane Russell

Jane Russell

4. Jane Russell

In 1940, voluptuous actress Jane Russell was signed to a seven-year contract by millionaire Howard Hughes and made her film debut in “The Outlaw.” Although the film was completed in 1941, it faced a lengthy delay for release because of censorship issues surrounding the way her astonishing rack was portrayed. The film eventually passed and had a general release in 1946. During production, Hughes, with a background in aviation and engineering, designed and constructed a prototype underwire bra (the first of its kind) especially for Russell’s 38-D pair. However, according to Russell’s 1988 autobiography, she decided the bra fit poorly, and ended up wearing her own on the film set. Hughes apparently never knew the difference.

School of Fontainebleau

School of Fontainebleau

5. The Twisted Renaissance Nipple

In spite of severe Catholic censorship of nude paintings, a group of 16th-century artists, known as the School of Fontainebleau, produced many works of art at the behest of the French king Francis I. One of these paintings, now on display in the Louvre, is “Gabrielle d’Estrees and One of Her Sisters.” The models are thought to be Gabrielle d’Estrées (1571-99), the favorite of Henry IV (1553-1610), and (duh) one of her sisters: the Duchess de Villars or Madame de Balcony. The artist of the piece is unknown, as well as what the hell he was thinking when he painted the “oddly affectionate gesture” showing Gabrielle’s sister pinching her right nipple. And you thought “Girls Gone Wild” was a new phenomenon.

Carol Doda

Carol Doda

6. Carol Doda

Legions of men across the country probably cannot imagine their lives without topless strippers and lap dancers, and they all have Carol Doda to thank. On June 19, 1964, then 20-year-old Carol Doda became the first performer to dance topless at the Condor Club in the North Beach section of San Francisco. Within two months of starting her topless act, all other clubs on the same street began offering topless waitresses and dancers, and the rest of America soon followed suit. Doda’s “does” were one of the first pairs to be famously surgically enhanced, going from a size 34B before a series of 44 silicone injections increased her to a size 44D. Doda retired from stripping in the 1980s and now runs “Carol Doda’s Champagne and Lace Lingerie Boutique” in San Francisco. Of course, she does.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

7. Dolly Parton 

The prolific singer/songwriter and prodigiously endowed Dolly Parton says her breasts are more famous than she is. The 62-year-old performer was recently quoted as saying, “My breasts have served me well – I don’t know if I’m supporting them or they’re supporting me. But of course, I’ve had them jacked up a bit. And they’re part of the persona.” Parton’s breasts are so deeply ingrained in popular culture that Dolly the cloned sheep was actually named for her, as it was cloned from part of a mammary gland. Parton has made ample jokes about her ample bosoms, once saying, “Yep they are mine! Bought and paid for!”

Topless Bathing Suit

Topless Bathing Suit

8. The Topless Bathing Suit 

Among the many things swinging in the Sixties were the breasts exposed by the “topless bathing suit” created by futurist designer Rudi Gernreich. Gernreich was born in Vienna in 1922 and fled to the U.S. in 1938. In 1948 he began working as a fashion designer and by 1960 had earned the prestigious Coty Award for American designers. Gernreich had a flair for knitwear and futuristic designs (in fact he created the costumes for the television show “Space:1999”), but he is best known for designing the topless bathing suit. Rather like trunks with suspenders, the suit had a high waistband and straps which left the breasts exposed. It was introduced in 1964 and was met with a mixture of shock and awe worldwide.

Venus de Milo

Venus de Milo

9. Venus de Milo

Possibly the most famous topless amputee (ooh, is that tasteless?), the Aphrodite of Milos – Miss Venus de Milo, if you’re nasty – is perhaps the most famous work of ancient Greek sculpture. The statue was originally carved from at least six to seven blocks of Parian marble – one each for the torso, legs, each arm, left foot, and one for the original plinth on which it stood – which explains why it was so easy for the arms to break off. Also missing is the garish coat of paint and accenting jewelry that would have adorned the statue, as was customary at the time. Perhaps a classic string of pearls? FABulous.

Cleopatra

Cleopatra

10. Cleopatra

And speaking of fabulous, was there ever a more a queen more fabulous than Cleopatra? (Okay, beside Elton John). Lover of both Julius Caesar AND Mark Antony, she was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. Although we think of Cleopatra as Egyptian, her primary language was Greek, as Alexander the Great had established a Greek-speaking aristocracy in Egypt some 300 years before. Tragically, Cleopatra’s breasts are famous primarily because of her death. After Antony and Cleopatra were defeated by Octavian, their Roman rival (who ushered in the Roman Era in the eastern Mediterranean), she committed suicide supposedly by clasping a poisonous asp to her breast.

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The Weirdest Things People Stick Inside Their Bodies

Razor blades, ping-pong balls, cigarettes – certain ladies in Thailand are adept at flamboyant performances with various objects and their private parts. But of course, they are PROFESSIONALS, people. Off the stage, rookies all over the world manage to get a variety of things stuck up, on, or in their yin-yangs. Here are some of the most amazing. Oh, and don’t try this at home.

Daniel Blackner Hearts Vacuum Cleaners

Daniel Blackner Hearts Vacuum Cleaners

That really sucks.

Proving that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, last summer a dwarf who was performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival had to be rushed to the hospital after he glued his penis to a vacuum cleaner. Daniel Blackner, who was performing in the Circus of Horrors as Captain Dan, the Demon Dwarf, said the incident happened while he was preparing for the show.

According to the account in the UK’s Daily Mail, 42-year-old Blackner’s “act” in the show included pulling a tank-style vacuum cleaner around the stage with the hose attached to…uh…his hose. Unfortunately, the special attachment connecting his member to the appliance came loose before the show. In a rush, Blackner decided to fix the broken attachment with extra-strong glue but left it to dry for only 20 seconds, instead of the recommended 20 minutes. The quick repair held – but unfortunately, it also glued his penis in place as well. Blackner was taken to the accident and emergency department of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he said nurses struggled for an hour to free him.

“It was the most embarrassing moment of my life when I got wheeled into a packed (emergency room) with a vacuum attached to me, “Blackner said. “I just wished the ground could swallow me up. Luckily, they saw me quickly so the embarrassment was short-lived.” (No pun intended.)

Well yes, except for the photographic evidence that you make a living doing this. In a kilt.The Case of the Deer Tongue

The Case of the Deer Tongue

Oh deer!

According to a 1990 article from “The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology,” a 29-year-old woman visited a clinic to have a deer tongue removed from her vagina.

The woman was “complaining of missed periods and seeking termination of a possible pregnancy,” but when she was examined, the physician found and removed a “cylindrical mass of pale-gray tissue.” After questioning the woman for “further historical information” she finally confirmed the object was indeed a deer tongue used for masturbation. There were no details in the article about how she obtained the tongue, and how long it had been up there.

According to the Journal, large objects retrieved from the “vag” are found mostly in married women aged 17-30 and come from the produce department rather than meat (or wildlife); fortunately, the bananas, cucumbers, and other large vegetables in question rarely required surgical attention. Bottom’s up!
Flashlights and broomsticks

If it fits, someone will have tried to stick it where the sun rarely shines. In 1986, Surgery magazine published a list compiled by Drs. David Busch and James Starling of Madison, Wisconsin containing a tabulation of 182 previously reported cases of “rectal foreign bodies.” The largest category was not for sexual devices, but instead glass or ceramic products. Though the single most common item recovered was a bottle or jar, there were also 10 sticks or broom handles, 3 flashlights, 2 baseballs, 2 apples, 2 pens, 2 mortar pestles, a curling iron, a baby powder can, 1 plantain (with a condom – safety first!), and 7 light bulbs.

cokebottle.jpg

Have a crack and a smile

The Medical Journal of Australia reported that a man showed up at a provincial hospital with a “foreign body in his rectum that would not pass, which he said was a ‘bottle top’.” Arrangements were made for the resident surgeon to get it out by sigmoidoscopy under general anesthesia. When the surgeon proceeded to try to remove the “bottle top” he realized what he was looking at was the bottom of a glass bottle approximately 5 cm wide. He first tried to remove it with his fingers, while providing gentle pressure to the abdomen, with no success. Plan B was to actually push the bottle up further into the colon, and then surgically open the abdomen to retrieve it. But the anesthesiologist, who was also trained in obstetrics, cleverly suggested using a venthouse cup (vacuum extractor) to essentially suck the bottle out. It worked, and the patient was discharged the following day.

Calcified Stone

Calcified Stone

So THAT’S where I put that!

In the UK, a 63-year-old woman complaining of hip pain had an X-ray that revealed she had a 9 x 5 cm calcified stone in her vagina that had grown around an IUD (intrauterine device). According to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the IUD had been inserted about 23 years previously after a miscarriage and had been apparently forgotten. In addition, the woman had previously suffered from encephalitis – and although she had recovered from a vegetative state, she was periodically verbally abusive and unwilling to submit to routine physical examination. The stone was eventually removed vaginally after an episiotomy and partial morcellation (chopping it up). Doctors believe the combination of the displaced IUD, personal neglect, and lack of regular pelvic examination permitted the development of the stone in this case.

Razor in the Throat

Razor in the Throat

Really tough to swallow

The curiosity of children causes them to get into all kinds of mischief, including swallowing things like buttons, peanuts, and pennies. Amazingly, one 7-year-old in India managed to survive after swallowing a razor blade. The Internet Journal of Head and Neck Surgery reported last year that the child was taken to the hospital after complaining of pain in the throat. His parents said he had been fiddling with the blade in his mouth and they noticed that he had swallowed the blade accidentally. (Just curious – exactly why were the parents allowing him to fiddle with a razor blade in his MOUTH in the first place? Maybe they thought it was safer there than in his eyeballs?)

An X-ray revealed the razor blade’s location and under general anesthesia, the blade was removed with the aid of forceps and an esophagoscope without incident. And then the kid went home to a nice dinner of broken glass and rusty nails.

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When Celebrity Plastic Surgery Backfires: 10 Nip/Tucked Celebs Who Now Look Like Aliens

If you’re going to make it in Hollywood, a little nip/tuck here and there is par for the course. Just be sure your plastic surgeon knows what he or she is doing, because for every Ashlee Simpson success story there’s a badly botched Tara Reid lurking under some bandages. Good plastic surgery takes the years off “naturally”; bad plastic surgery can make the face look warped and stack the years back on (with a dose of ugly thrown in for good measure). Guess which ones these scary-looking celebs have had?

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Carrot Top Awful Plastic Surgery

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Carrot Top Awful Plastic Surgery

Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Carrot Top

It’s hard to imagine ever longing for the old Carrot Top, but the sight of the flame-haired comedian’s new bulked-up body and Spandex-tight face will do it. Though Carrot Top’s never exactly been a babe magnet (or particularly funny), his altered face is starting to make him look like Harriet the red-headed next-door neighbor from “Small Wonder.”

Dr. Anthony Youn of CelebrityCosmeticSurgery.blogspot.com speculates that Carrot Top has had a combination of Botox and a brow lift, in addition to laser treatments or chemical peels for his skin. Throw in some eye liner and a gym membership and you’ve got one scary-looking dude.

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Farrah Fawcett Awful Plastic Surgery

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Farrah Fawcett Awful Plastic Surgery

Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Farrah Fawcett

If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. That appears to be Farrah Fawcett’s motto, as the former “Charlie’s Angel” pin-up has reportedly undergone more plastic surgery in an effort to combat previous shoddy work.

“The original Charlie’s Angel appears to have had a substantial bout of cosmetic surgery to correct the damage caused by previous operations,” The Daily Mail reported last year.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Lucy Glancey agreed, telling the British newspaper that “Farrah looks to have had her upper and lower eyelids done and very definitely a mid to lower face-lift. She may well have had her neck tightened as well as Botox injected into the crow’s feet area. All of these procedures are topping up on work carried out in previous procedures.

“Two years ago it looked as if her injected fillers had gone wrong but today she looks a lot better because fillers fade naturally over time, allowing her to avoid having any corrective surgery.”

Previously, the actress’s cosmetic enhancements had given her an aged, very unnatural-looking appearance.

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Rose McGowan Awful Plastic Surgery

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Rose McGowan Awful Plastic Surgery

Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Rose McGowan

Actress Rose McGowan claims she had no choice but to get cosmetic surgery on her eyes after a severe cut. Unfortunately, it looks like the doc who performed the surgery mistook “eyes” for “the entire face,” because Rose now looks significantly different these days – and not for the better.

“Anyone who’s seen Rose McGowan lately know she’s had her face sliced, diced, julienned and then secured back to her skull rather tightly,” says A Socialite’s Life. “She looked like a burn victim in “Grindhouse.” She wasn’t playing one.”

Since the surgery, Rose has traded in her foxy, fresh-faced appeal for an ultra-tight, Michael Jackson-esque look that’s anything but youthful. Not surprisingly, it’s lost her some major roles, including the female lead in Speed Racer. Good thing she has a director fiancé to keep her employed!

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Jessica Lange Awful Plastic Surgery

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Jessica Lange Awful Plastic Surgery

Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Jessica Lange

Back in the day, Jessica Lange was the second coming (albeit a more sensual, earthier version) of Grace Kelly. Now the famous blonde could pass for a senior citizen, and it appears that her use of plastic surgery is to blame. (Okay, she is pushing 60, but try telling that to Jaclyn Smith.)

Here’s what plastic surgeon Dr. Anthony Youn has to say about Jessica’s tired and tight appearance: “It appears to me that she has had a pretty aggressive browlift, causing her eyebrows to be so high that she looks surprised and unnatural. She likely has Botox in her forehead as well. On the bright side with Jessica Lange, her neckline looks great and is likely the result of a well-done facelift.”

By resorting to plastic surgery Jessica’s face has lost that gorgeous softness that made you believe Dustin Hoffman would actually become a drag queen just to get close to her.

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Mary Tyler Moore Awful Plastic Surgery

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Mary Tyler Moore Awful Plastic Surgery

Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Mary Tyler Moore

There’s something about Mary…like the way her ear-to-ear smile makes her a shoo-in to play the Joker should Heath Ledger bow out of the next Batman film, or the fact that her ultra-tight face could double as a trampoline. And when did she become Asian?

Needless to say, Mary’s made the rounds on AwfulPlasticSurgery.com, which says, “There’s a vast difference between her late ’70s and her late ’90s/early ’00s face. Had she left everything alone and just aged naturally, she would have looked nice, kind of like Mary Tyler Moore’s mother. Alas, trying to stop time, she had a facelift which destroyed the delicate plains of her face. Strangest of all, she had a nose job.”

Rather than making her look younger, Mary’s surgery exaggerates her aged appearance. It’s not youthful – it’s just scary. And considering that the woman is married to a surgeon, you’d expect better work.

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Tom Jones Awful Plastic Surgery

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Tom Jones Awful Plastic Surgery

Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Tom Jones

Tom Jones’ warped face is proof that plastic surgery can definitely bite the hand that feeds it. After overdosing on a few nips and tucks over the years, the Welsh crooner says a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon told him to avoid getting any more work done lest his face collapsed. So Tom has been laying off – but the combination of pruny eyes and a history of surgery hasn’t done him any favors.

“He has very prominent dynamic lines caused from where the muscles in the face contract and tighten, as well as very pronounced laughter lines,” plastic surgeon Alex Karidis told The Daily Mail. “But no amount of surgery could eradicate these lines and at his age, the last thing I would recommend is more surgery. A spot of Botox is the only thing that might help reduce the wrinkling.” Can we stop throwing our panties at him now?

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Donatella Versace Awful Plastic Surgery

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Donatella Versace Awful Plastic Surgery

Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Donatella Versace

Holy Gianni! Donatella Versace clearly has never met a cosmetic procedure she didn’t love. And if you think her Muppet-gone-pruny face looks bad, you should see photos of her severely misshapen fake breasts (or better yet, don’t, and keep your lunch down).

As with a lot of extreme plastic surgery makeovers (cough – Joan Rivers), Donatella’s face is so distorted that she almost doesn’t look human. She could be 30, or 300 (she’s actually 52). And as wrinkles and other signs of aging naturally occur, her appearance becomes more and more like melted plastic.

Plastic surgeons speculate that Donatella has had a nose job, Botox, and collagen lip injections (um, duh).

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Tawny Kitaen Awful Plastic Surgery

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Tawny Kitaen Awful Plastic Surgery

Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Tawny Kitaen

Nobody writhes on the hood of a car better than actress Tawny Kitaen, forever immortalized in Whitesnake’s music videos. Girls wanted to be her, and guys wanted to have her.

Now? Not so much.

The feisty redhead has apparently gone under the knife and the results aren’t pretty. Her newly frozen face makes her look generic and lacks the sexy exotic appeal she used to have. Now the video vixen looks like your average 40-something Beverly Hills mom.

Dr. Anthony Youn of CelebrityCosmeticSurgery.Blogspot speculates that the 46-year-old Tawny has had a brow lift with Botox, upper and lower eyelid lifts, cheek implants, and lip augmentation. Heck, she doesn’t even have red hair anymore!

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Bruce Jenner Awful Plastic Surgery

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Bruce Jenner Awful Plastic Surgery

Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Bruce Jenner

Bruce Jenner is an excellent example of a retired athlete having too much time (and money) on his hands. The former Olympian – father of “The Hills” regular Brody Jenner – appears to have melted down his gold medals and used them to buy some seriously shoddy surgery. Either that, or he’s been taking estrogen shots because the dude is starting to look like a lady.

According to AwfulPlasticSurgery.com, Bruce has had multiple facelifts, a nose, and chin and cheek implants. What he really should be cutting is that hair! Eesh.

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Melanie Griffith Awful Plastic Surgery

Bad Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Melanie Griffith Awful Plastic Surgery

Celebrity Plastic Surgery: Melanie Griffith

You know you have a plastic surgery problem when your own husband is begging you to stop going under the knife.

“I said to her, ‘I want to see you growing old and I will grow old with you too, and I don’t care,” Antonio Banderas says of his surgically altered wife, Melanie Griffith. “I like her the way she is. Wrinkles are beautiful.”

After multiple eye jobs and collagen lip implants, Melanie looks completely different from her younger self. It’s also clear that the procedures are taking their toll, as her face is an unsightly blend of new wrinkles struggles to peek out through her unnaturally taut skin.

Read More

Jaclyn Smith: Still Sexy at 61!

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The Worst Trout Pout in Hollywood

Step aside, Lisa Rinna. It’s time to hand over your “Freakishly Massive Lips” trophy to someone new…actress Saffron Burrows, of “Boston Legal” and “The Bank Job” fame.

As photos from The Daily Mail show, the 35-year-old British actress showed up to the premiere of “The Bank Job” – co-starring Jason Statham – with gargantuan lips that appear to have been stung by a swarm of bees. To make matters worse, her cheekbones are so sunken and abnormal-looking (because of weight loss? cheekbone implants?) that the newspaper quipped that Burrows “seems to have gone for the Joker look.”

No kidding.

Click over to see before and after photos of Saffron Burrows, which should make it clear that this is more than a matter of simply overdosing on some DuWop Lip Venom.

Saffron Burrows Before and After

Saffron Burrows Before and After

The photo on the left dates back to 2005 when Burrows was clearly collagen-free. The photo on the right is from 2008.

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