What is it like to be a doctor?

dr-calvin-lee-cropI was recently asked to answer these questions as part of a student’s assignment for school.  She wanted a surgeon to interview.  I have elected to answer these questions as the surgeon that I am today which is different from a decade ago when I was a trauma/general surgeon.  Now I am a surgeon who does acupuncture and cosmetic injections (Botox, Fillers, Kybella – neck, Asclera – veins).  For more information, consider visiting my other webpages www.InjectionArtistry.com and www.SurgeryToday.com 

  • Describe your work environment.

I am a surgeon with additional training with acupuncture and cosmetic injections.   I have worked as a general surgeon and trauma surgeon.   In 2006, I decided that I was going to dedicate my surgical skills to working with needles for the majority of my work as a doctor.  I became an acupuncturist and learned cosmetic surgery from my wife, Dr. Tammy Wu, who is a plastic surgeon.  Our practice is Surgical Artistry, and one of the main focuses of the practice is cosmetic surgery.  About once or twice a month, I have days where I assist the entire day in surgeries with Dr. Wu or other surgeons in our area.  For the most part, I am now mostly an office based doctor – as opposed to one who sees patients in the hospital.  I use three different acupuncture rooms to see patients with varying problems ranging from back pain, neck pain, headaches, athletic injuries to fertility acupuncture.  And then I have one large procedure room where I see my cosmetic injection patients.  The lighting and space design is different in each of these rooms based on the procedure intended for the room.  Surgical Artistry has two physicians – myself and my wife, and at this time 4 full time employees.  We like to keep our work environment clean and neat and be a sanctuary for health and wellness.  It has an open feel to the environment for our employees as we want to foster good communication with our team.  We believe in having our patients be beautiful both with health and appearance.

  • What’s a typical day at work like?

As a surgeon who focuses on acupuncture and cosmetic injections, I see patients from 8am-5pm.  I try to start on time as much as possible and I try to stick to the schedule.  I dislike having patients wait.  Half of my usual day is dedicated to acupuncture and the other half to cosmetic injections.  I go from room to room with no break in between.  I find time for my “breaks” when patients don’t show up or are late to the office.  That is when I prepare a batch of Botox, catch up on emails, enjoy some facebook (my facebook page), maybe even grab a quick bite.  I don’t take a formal lunch break.  I usually work till about 5:05pm.  That’s when I start to have time to write my office medical charts which are important to document the day’s work.  This allows me to record for future medical use when the patients come back, and thus, I can improve on their care.  The medical charting usually takes me about 1-3 hours.  Then I go home.  But sometimes I have to take care of business matters especially since Surgical Artistry is my business.  Sometimes there are employee matters, bills that need to be paid, or leaking roof issues.  So at times I don’t go home till 1am in the morning.   This is pretty much most of my days Monday-Friday.  There are a few days per month which I reserve for surgery assisting where I give my staff a break from my daily grind; I am not at the office on that day, I would spend my day at the hospital going from surgery to surgery.  And my staff spends that day catching up on their paperwork in the office.  The hospital and my office are not connected.  I think there are some lucky doctors who have an office inside a hospital.  Or maybe they consider themselves unlucky because they never get out of that work environment.  Regardless, I have to drive to the hospital from my office and I work at a handful of hospitals such as Stanislaus Surgical Hospital, Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, and Sutter Memorial Hospital in Memorial.  on Stanislaus Surgical Hospital’s home page, they actually have a picture of me as the operating surgeon on their header!

  • What are the three most important responsibilities of your job?

First most important responsibility is getting the patient the best results that I can.  Second most important responsibility is to do this as safely as I can.  This involves good technique and good knowledge.  The third most important responsibility is managing patient expectations – which means that I should spend the time communicating well with the patient and letting the patient ask questions, and I should try to think of questions that the patient might not have thought of himself/herself.

  • What technical skills do you need to do your job?

A tremendous amount of technical skills are required.  Skills involved in navigating around anatomy so that needles are placed accurate.  Steady hands are involved to insure precise delivery of Botox or filler.  Plus there is technique involved which help prevent injury to the patient if the patient were to flinch.  And there are techniques involved which ensures a sense of 3D space and tactile feedback at the tip of each finger.  These are skills which I think take many years to develop and I’m still trying each day to get better.  I became a surgeon because I am attracted to technical skills with my hands.  I received my MD degree in 1997 and every day since then, I’ve been continually trying to improve.

  • What people skills do you need to do your job?

To be a surgeon, acupuncturist, or cosmetic physician.  One has to love people and have a passion for other people’s health.  We are teachers to begin with and we need to teach patients about their current state of health and teach them how to improve upon it.  We have to be convincing as well to help steer them in paths which may not be apparent or easy to them – such as quitting smoking or eating more veggies.  We have to have people skills to communicate well.  And we have to have people skills to not only manage expectations, we have to manage our complications.  Surgeons are only as good as the complications that we’ve managed.  But those complications doesn’t just involve technical skill, they involve all sorts of people skills;  We have to listen, empathize, have compassion, instill confidence, communicate effectively, and most of all have patience.

  • Describe a recent problem on the job and how you solved it.

There are always problems, but by being a cosmetic physician and acupuncturist, my problems may not be as life threatening as a trauma surgeon’s problems.  I realize that it is somewhat less stressful for me since 2006.  But I have the same passion for making sure I focus completely on patient problems.  I’ll just describe something from yesterday’s line of work.  I had a patient come into the office for what seemed to be a routine cosmetic mole removal.  However, on examination and further questioning, it was revealed to me that it was a vascular type of lesion which had a history of bleeding.  The patient was worried that it was going to bleed further because when it did bleed, it was very severe.  I decided that I had to postpone some of my patients for a bit of time and take care of this bleeding mole like structure right away.  I first fired a vascular laser at the base of this lesion and then removed it like a mole and found the bleeding artery – which continued to bleed – but I was able to place an old fashioned figure of eight stitch around the bleeding artery and closed the skin incision which I purposely made.  We sent the mole like structure to pathology to rule out the possibility of cancer.  I discussed with the patient that if this lesion continues to bleed at home that he was to call me on my cell phone and I would meet him immediately at my office even if it was the middle of the night.  It bled more than the usual skin lesion removal because this lesion was in my opinion mostly vascular in nature.

I had anticipated this problem and thought the laser would stop the bleeding before I even began, made a decision to act on it right away, and encountered more bleeding which I had a plan which was my old fashioned stitching.  Then, I made plans for aftercare and in case other problems arise after he leaves (having the patient contact me and meet me at the office).  I’m glad I have a background in trauma surgery and bleeding is really not a big deal to me.

  • What kinds of information do you need use, analyze, and/or stay up to date on how to do your job efficiently?

There are medical journals pertaining to acupuncture and cosmetic injections which I read from time to time.  There are also national/international meetings on acupuncture and cosmetic surgery which I attend regularly.  There’s the collective wisdom of many doctors who can share experiences and ideas which will help my patients in Modesto.  Having the latest info helps me with another aspect of being a doctor – advising my patients on alternatives, even alternatives which I do not have.

  • How do you think your job will change over the next 10 years? Why?

I think for the most part the acupuncture will stay the same and perhaps become more popular with patients.  More and more people in the world seem to be exposed to acupuncture and the idea of healing with less side effects.  The art of acupuncture began about 5000 years ago, and I think much of the practice of acupuncture will stay the same.  But I do think that more points will be discovered as physicians are now more open about sharing.  Regarding cosmetic injections.  I think they will become more popular in the next 10 years as patients are looking for quicker procedures, less invasive and less downtime.

  • What technology and special tools are used by you and others at your workplace?

As a acupuncturist, I don’t think I have any special tools except my hands and a collection of acupuncture needles.  For the cosmetic side, there are many tools such as lasers which help with little red veins on the face, etc.  However, in my own preference of what I do at work, I try to rely mostly on my hands connected to instruments which do not require too much technology, except for the technology which rendered the instruments.  I like special needles for all of my work in acupuncture and cosmetic injections.  There is a lot to the property of a needle.  It is very much like a violin bow.  Needles may all look alike, but they have different characteristics – weight, flexibility, length, angle, sharpness, consistency from one batch to another, and the ability to stay sharp throughout the procedure.

  • What written materials are used at the workplace?

We have written materials on the safety of chemicals at the workplace.  We also have written protocols which I follow for some of the procedures that I perform.  Plus we like checklists.

  • What impact dose the workplace have on the local and global communities?

I particularly like it when I get patients who come from other cities and then get to spend some time enjoying our local economy here in Modesto.  For example, I had a patient from San Francisco, who said that she did all her Christmas shopping in Modesto and got to enjoy our lower sales tax rate.

In general, I think I am here to mainly help our patients in Modesto get the best care that they can.  Globally, I don’t think I’ll have much of an impact unless others want to learn my techniques.

  • What academic skills do you need for your job?

The most important academic skill is the ability to keep learning and improving.  My knowledge of the human body and experience with operating on the human body are at play every day in my work.

  • What are at least two ways you apply mathematics at the workplace?

One way is when I have to calculate the cost and dosage of Botox every day.  This is simple addition and subtraction.  But it is in play all the time.  Even when drawing Botox out of the bottle.  Then there’s the mathematics of injecting it out of the syringe.  You have to make sure you push and stop your thumb at the right moment and that’s math.  Botox arrives as a powder and precise but simple math skills are used to convert that powder into a liquid.  I also use math skills to determine how to best use 1 syringe of filler in a patients face.  The filler is a limited resource and we have a job to do which involves symmetry.   Then there’s more abstract and intuitive math which involves angles – especially when using a long needle.  Then there’s the mathematics of getting the procedures done under the price budget laid out by the cosmetic patient.

  • What are at least two ways you apply communication skills at the work place?

I like to have a detailed conversation with the patient in trying to understand their vision of beauty.  I have my vision, and many times the patient has their beauty.  I need to spend time understanding if my vision and their vision align.  If not, I need to really try harder to understand.  Then I have to communicate what I am capable of doing – which sometimes may not be enough for the patient.  And if I get the feeling that I can’t get my message across, or I can’t understand the patient, then I need to communicate that I am not the right person for the job.

  • What are at least two ways you apply scientific principles or social studies concepts in your work?

In cosmetic medicine, there’s the economical social studies concept of meeting the patient’s budget, and dealing with the supply and demand of Botox/fillers.  We also have to deal with the history of the patients responses to various treatments.  In the end, I want to have high yielding efficient results for the patients which they can afford.

We live in a world of science.  And medicine is the artful application of that science.  So I would say that all that I do as a doctor has a foundation in science which ultimately is an explanation of how things are in the universe.  However what we know of science at this point is just small window into how things are in the universe and sometimes we are misled of what we know of science.  But I would say that science is the best of what we know at this time.  As a surgeon, our main science disciplines is the science of anatomy, the science of physiology, and the science of physics.  The anatomy is the science of having identified body parts.  Naming these parts allows us to communicate efficiently with others.  physiology is the science of how these body parts function.  And as for physics, it is the nature of the interaction between surgeon, instrument, anatomy, and its impact on physiology.

  • What opportunities are there to use creativity or art in your job?

There is always creativity and art in my world of acupuncture, surgery, and cosmetic injections.  Every human being is different and every problem is somewhat unique.  Thus almost every solution for a patient requires creativity and art.  This is why I’ve called my medical practice: “Surgical Artistry.”  There are so many different instruments to use, so many different fillers, different needles, different angles, different locations.  Plus with limited budgets for cosmetic procedures, we have to think creatively to get the work done.  Compromises need to be thought of, but always without sacrificing safety.

As for Acupuncture. There are creativity needed in picking effective points for the patient.  Each problem has a unique set of problems.  Back pain patients sometimes even have the problem of not being able to lay on the table a certain way.  So we have to think of ways to get the patient comfortable – perhaps in a chair or perhaps with rolls under their knees, etc.

  • How long were you in school?

First 12 years got me past high school.  Then I did 4 years of college.  Then I did 4 years of medical school.  At this point I got my MD degree – but that’s without any formal surgery training.  Thus to continue on to become a surgeon,  I did 1 year of surgery internship, then I did 5 additional years of surgery residency.  At this point I became a board-eligible Surgeon.  As for acupuncture, I did 1 additional year after all the surgery training.  I think I took the short route compared to other surgeons.  There are many surgeons who spent more years in school.  I consider all those years to be formal schooling for me.  But in many ways I am still in “school” as my patients are my teachers.

  • How does your job affect your life?

My job is my life.  I think I don’t really have much of a life outside of my job.  It was much more this way when I was doing trauma surgery, but I got in the habit of living the job – always.  I married a surgeon too and we love what we do.  I initially picked surgery because I wanted to live that way of life.  Surgery isn’t a job, it’s a way of life.  But I think I need to start learning to live my life in a different way.  Perhaps it isn’t the healthiest way of life for me – I’m starting to realize that and I’m almost 50 years old.  In fact, I don’t really respond to my first name – which is really part of a person’s normal life.  I respond more to “Dr. Lee.”  As that’s who I am and the majority of my life I’ve been called “Dr. Lee.”  I know many people go through customer service and say that people feel comfortable when they hear their first names.  Not so much in my case… it’s usually my parents or my wife who call me by my first name, and usually if they are using my name, it might mean that I was in trouble.  But hopefully as I change my lifestyle and have a life outside of the medical world, I’ll regain my recognition for my first name again.

  • Why did you want this job?

I was drawn to the world of surgery.  I believe it was some sort of calling.  I think I liked it because it requires great responsibility and the capacity to make others happy.  Perhaps also, it was the ability to fix a problem rather quickly.  I also feel that I have a gift of using my hands and wanted to use my gift.  In addition, I was drawn to the world of acupuncture because I wanted to have medical solutions with low cost in terms of side effects – I wasn’t happy with some of the side effects created by medications.  But in the end, I came to realize that acupuncture is just another branch of Surgery.  Blade or needle, either way, we heal with steel.



Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon Expo pictures

Dr. Tammy Wu and I participated in a small way in marathon expos throughout California to spread awareness of the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon.  I was looking to find pictures of the race directors:  Heidi, Karen, and Vickie.  And I found some of these gems which I just stuck together here.  Pictures below range from years 2010 to 2014.  And are taken in cities of Santa Barbara, Fresno, Monterey, Sacramento, and Santa Rosa – oh and of course, Modesto.




not sure what year marathon pic with Heidi and Tammy





That’s Mike.  No spiders were harmed.









In black is Vickie

December 2015 Botox statistics per day

I’m writing this on 12/18/15.  These are basically notes to myself and eventually may be used as a guide in 2016 to help the Botox representatives in their national Botox database.  Allergan/Botox likes to do studies like that.  Data below from Brilliant Distinctions.  However, Brilliant distinctions isn’t used by all of our patients, and thus the data may be somewhat short; meaning that the actual numbers are probably higher than the ones reported below.  I have also found that many of my patients are from Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, CA.  And in general the majority of my patients are nurses.  I think this stems from my history of working at DMC much more than Memorial Hospital in Modesto, CA.

First 14 work days of December 2015 Botox statistics reveal:

  • 3774 units of Botox used.
  • 98 Botox patients seen (this would include Juvederm/dermal filler patients who received Botox.  But this would not include Juvederm/dermal filler patients who did not receive Botox).
  • 65 Syringes of dermal filler used.

How much Botox do I use per day?  269 units.

Using the data above from 14 days of work in December 2015, I come up with the following info:

  • 269.5 units of Botox used per day (per work day)
  • 7 Botox patients per day
  • 4.6 syringes of filler used per day.

What’s our average units of Botox used per patient?  38.5 Units.

  • 38.51 U of Botox is the average number of units used per patient over the 14 days of data collection.
  • 38.27 U of Botox is the average number of units used throughout my entire year of 2015 up to 12/18/15 – calculated from 1340 Botox visits and 51,283 U of Botox used for those 1340 Botox visits.

How much Botox is used per month?  42 Bottles.

  • As a rough estimate, if I take 51,283U of botox used and divide that by 12 months.  I would get 4,273 U of Botox used per month on average which would be 42 bottles of Botox a month on average.

How much filler do I use per month? 54 syringes per month.

As a rough estimate, taking 659 syringes of fillers used this year up to 12/18/15 and divide by 12 months, I would get 54.92 syringes per month.

Visit us in Modesto, California for Botox.

The data here is for my Surgical Artistry Modesto Botox practice.  Please feel free to visit one of my Modesto Botox webpages

a shadow IMG_1036 - with text

Sutter related pages on FaceBook

Sutter-Memorial is one of the hospitals where we have performed much of our plastic surgery procedures:  especially breast augmentations and tummy tucks.  They have decided to partner up with another hospital where we have worked: Stanislaus Surgical Hospital.  All of these hospitals are in Modesto.

stanislaus surgical hospital cover photo
Picture of me on the hospital home page

Facebook pages related to Sutter / Modesto






Arra Yerganian

Chief Marketing and Branding Officer for Sutter Health. “This is a milestone for our organization and for the community. Sutter Health serves nearly three-and-a-half million people in Northern California in over 100 communities, and we couldn’t be more proud to partner with an organization like the Quakes, who embody our spirit as an organization.”

The Sutter Health network is headquartered in Sacrament

Craig Baize.  Modesto, California Area – ‎Marketing and Communications Manager at Sutter Health Central Valley Region – ‎Sutter Health Central Valley Region.

Memorial Medical Center, Modesto
Craig Baize
(209) 572-5908





Cumulative Monthly BOTOX usage reveals 149% change

Comparing 2015 to 2014 in terms of BOTOX growth

I don’t have December yet, but comparing Jan-November, I am lucky to be able to present a 149% change from last year in our Modesto BOTOX usage. I like to make reports for the Botox company, so they can see how the team is doing. I welcome the representatives and Allergan managers as part of my Surgical Artistry team and I want them to feel good about their efforts. I appreciate them very much for all the help they have given me and my patients. Just having fun with an old spreadsheet (2003 Excel – and I use a flip phone with no text messaging).


cumulative botox 2014 2015 with title

Above graph shows the cumulative monthly Botox usage and compares 2015 to 2014.  I am missing the month of December because it isn’t over yet.  But I think it shows a nice trend – and it shows a 149% change (or a 49% growth in the usage of Botox).  I have other Botox statistics from previous posts – be sure to check those if there is any interest under the “Botox Statistics” category section. And there is also another Botox blog besides this one which I sort-of stopped updating recently.  In that blog I have this valuable Botox statistics report for 2014.

And the hard Botox data:

I think sometimes this is called running totals.  So if I look at March’s Botox data – that means the total amount of Botox I used from the beginning of the year to March.

Cumulative data
2014 2015
January 2798 2701
February 4576 5562
March 7401 9983
April 9881 14621
May 12592 18513
June 15803 23864
July 19133 29629
August 22207 33390
September 24130 37377
October 28374 42088
November 31925 47509

About My Botox use in 2014

I felt very proud of 2014’s usage of Botox and at times felt that it couldn’t be any better.  But 2015 proved that we can continue to improve!

Wonderful Comments about Dr. Tammy Wu

I had posted on my public Botox page on FaceBook about an article about Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Tammy Wu on Contentment Health Magazine.  I’m happy to report that I have 1051 likes on that FaceBook page.  We have a separate Surgical Artistry page on FaceBook which has 1878 likes.  All these pages are public and anyone with a FaceBook account can leave comments.

Dr. Tammy Wu hard at work!
Dr. Tammy Wu hard at work!

I wanted to share some of the public comments which were left under my public Botox page on Facebook with the link to that article about Dr. Wu.  Thank you so much for all your support.  My Modesto Botox website is www.InjectionArtistry.com.  And our Modesto Plastic Surgery page is www.SurgeryToday.com.


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15 (three reviews)

Question about Dentists and Botox

I got this Botox question today and I thought I’d share:

I have a question after reading your list of injectors in your area and out of curiosity why would a DDS need to do Botox injections?

surgical artistry full page ad never boring

My Botox Answer:

Hi!  GREAT question!! Some of the best injectors of Botox I know in this world are Dentists!! They know facial anatomy very well. But one of the biggest roles that Dentists play with Botox is injections for TMJ / Jaw pain. Some of the injections are outside the mouth and some of those injections can be inside the mouth. So out of the concept of doing their jobs very well, many dentists have Botox in their stock, and it’s probably convenient for them to consider injecting cosmetic Botox in addition to Botox for pain. But I think due to the cost of Botox and short acting efficacy of reconstituted Botox (meaning it doesn’t stay fresh for a long time), it probably doesn’t seem to be financially a worthwhile thing to do for Dentists (and surgeons for that matter). So most Dentists and Surgeons choose not to focus on Botox at work. I do, because it compliments my wife’s practice very well, and I’m all for supporting my wife’s plastic surgery practice. But if a dentist or surgeon wanted to inject Botox – I think they would do a very very good job, especially if they made it their primary focus at work for whatever reason. I hope this helps answer the question.



Why did I pay double price for OBAGI?

I got this question today:

“I purchased Obagi 7 piece Nuderm kit and 0.05 tretinoin cream from you guys for 600$ and online it is anywhere from 250 to 330 dollars. Unfortunately I did not do any research prior to purchasing but I want to know why I have paid double the price”

This is a good question.  Thank you for asking and giving me an opportunity to answer.

First, apologies for any confusion and it is always my goal to provide best value.  I try to subscribe to the idea that price is what you pay, but value is what you get.

Second, I don’t personally have any experience ordering Obagi from any websites.  Thus I can only comment on our own Obagi products on our physical shelves.

Third, if for some reason the pricing makes no sense from us.  Just return it.  No problem.  Hopefully we’ll all be happy – that’s always my main goal is to have happy patients.

Here’s what I know:

  • $407.70 is the actual price of the Nu-Derm Obagi kit from our office.  This is the original Obagi kit, not the FX kit (which removes the prescription products)  The full size Obagi Nuderm set has 7 products and has a list price of $453.00 plus tax.  We have it priced at 10% off all the time (as of the writing of this blog).  Thus our price is $407.70 plus tax.  (as of 8/2/15 – prices subject to change)
  • 10% off from us on Obagi.  We offer 10% off all the time and sometimes at special events we offer 20% or 25% off.  I can definitely see that the internet might offer 20% off or even 30% off?  But for my medical office to carry Obagi, I feel that it isn’t worth my effort to have more than 10% off all the time for Obagi.  Otherwise, I would just encourage my patients to buy Obagi elsewhere.  But I carry Obagi, so I can be responsible for the outcomes and ensure good results.
  • Free OBAGI follow ups with your MD or our office staff.  I’m hoping what accounts for a better value at our physical location (Surgical Artistry, Modesto, CA) is that we will take the time to explain the products and adjust the usage of the products.  Patients follow up with me (Dr. Calvin Lee) or with Dr. Wu.  Most of these follow ups have no added charges.  I think visits to the doctors office has some value – especially if we can make continued adjustments to the usage.
  • Easy Returns / exchanges.  I also have a hassle free return policy on the patients who purchased Obagi after talking to me about it (Dr. Calvin Lee).  I would say that if you feel the internet is a good purchase, then just return the products to us.  My goal of having Obagi in the office is to help our patients look their best with Botox and Juvederm.  Botox and Juvederm (and now Kybella) are my primary passions in the office.  OBAGI is an adjunct.
  • REAL OBAGI.  We know that our Obagi products are genuine.
  • Doctor’s Presciption for Obagi is included when purchasing from me (Dr. Lee).  We also know that we are following the rules regarding prescription products.  Clear and Blender which are two of the products in the normal kit and some kits have SunFader.  These three products require a prescription from a doctor.  I think there are some foreign countries where a prescription isn’t needed for these products – I am not sure.
  • Travel Size Nuderm Kit?  Sometimes people want the Travel sized Nuderm Obagi Kit.  But we don’t currently carry that.  I don’t have the pricing on that kit, but I believe that it is in the $200’s.  Sometimes the internet pricing is confusing and they might be touting the travel size rather than the full size?
  • Because there are 4 additional key products which we sometimes add to the kit, sometimes people think they paid $800 for the “kit”.  But the Nu-Derm full sized kit at our office costs $407.70.  Then you have to add these other products – which we also consistently take 10% off.  There are four (4) add on products that people like to get.  For our office, we take 10% off the list price which we revealed below
    1. Elastiderm eye cream ($112.  10% off would be $100.80)
    2. Tretinoin 0.05% or 0.10% – ($91-$102 depends on strength)
    3. Vitamin C serum 15% or 20% ($93 – $115)
    4. Professional C Peptide Complex Serum ($113)

But I do agree that the internet has great prices, and I myself have bought many other products from the internet.  But I haven’t purchased Obagi over the internet and I wouldn’t be a good person to ask about how that would go.  These would be my own personal concerns if I were to purchase them (and other skin care products) on the internet.  The pricing is so good sometimes that the prices are cheaper than if I bought it wholesale directly from Obagi:

  1. First, I am concerned about the prescription legality issues.
  2. Second, I am concerned about the genuine vs. counterfeit versions.  Especially if the prices are lower than my own wholesale pricing directly from Obagi.  We have had several experiences with patients who have brought in counterfeit Obagi and patients who have suffered damages from counterfeit “Obagi” products.
  3. Third, I am concerned about return policy.
  4. And Fourth, I am concerned about the ability to follow up with a skin care professional and make continued adjustments if needed – especially if the products require prescription.

Those are just my own hurdles if I were thinking about purchasing skin care items (ie. Obagi) over the internet.  I have to admit, that I have done for other skin care lines for myself (I have bad skin and am guilty of experimenting) and I will admit that I’ve learned (for myself) to regret it.  I also purchased a washer and dryer over the internet – that was a BIG mistake for myself.

I will also agree that sometimes our prices “seem” high – this goes for Plastic Surgery, Botox, Veins, etc.  But with a higher price, I hope to offer higher skill (such as better advice), follow up, better safety, less pain (in this case, less pain in the return process), better attitude from us, better communication and in the end, better results.  That’s my dream practice is to offer these things at the highest level.  I’ve built this practice of ours on highest quality with best value, not on lowest price, and I hope it’s worth it.

Thank you for reading about the Surgical Artistry version of the Obagi Nu-derm Kit.


Please feel free to visit my other web pages:


Did I go to high school in Modesto, California?

Someone asked me on my BOTOX FaceBook (not a super popular page, I only have 596 likes): “Did you go to grade school or high school here in Modesto?”. I’ve gotten this question a few times already. I wonder if they are wondering if I am another person with the same name.

Here’s my answer on FaceBook: When I came to Modesto, I had no connections. I didn’t grow up here nor did I have relatives that I knew about nearby. Same for my wife Dr. Tammy Wu. I grew up in New York City and I went to school in the suburbs there!! I picked Modesto to settle down for our medical practices because it seemed like a place that needed good doctors. It was somewhat random when I picked this place. But much of the decision making had to do with my Trauma Surgery career. There were plenty of trauma with car accidents and stabbings in this town for some reason. After a few years here, we decided we liked it enough to stay. Thanks for asking!!

I think I went into some more detail about how we picked Modesto in my Modesto Botox home page.

Thank you again for asking.


Kybella news: Allergan to aquire Kythera

Allergan to take over Kythera who makes Kybella for the neck.

Here’s an open letter I got from Allergan (the makers of Botox):

June 17, 2015

Dear Aesthetic Provider:

I am delighted to share with you that on June 16, 2015 Allergan and Kythera Biopharmaceuticals reached a definitive agreement under which Allergan will acquire Kythera. Kythera, headquartered in Westlake Village, CA, is focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel prescription aesthetic products.

The acquisition of Kythera would immediately enhance Allergan’s facial aesthetics portfolio with the addition of KYBELLA™ (deoxycholic acid) injection, the first and only approved non-surgical treatment for contouring moderate to severe submental fullness commonly referred to as a double chin. KYBELLA™ was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 29, 2015.

This combination continues Allergan’s rich history of bringing innovation to you and your patients. KYBELLA™ will join a facial aesthetics offering which includes BOTOX®, JUVÉDERM®, VOLUMA, LATISSE® and SKINMEDICA providing you with a more complete offering of products to your patients. In addition, KYBELLA is a pivotal entry point for expanding the use of facial aesthetic products in men.

We are committed to keeping you informed as the combination of Allergan and KYTHERA progresses and are committed to working with you to ensure a smooth transition. We would expect that this acquisition will be completed by the third quarter of 2015. In the meantime, we will continue to operate as two separate companies and so there are no changes in current practices. Any information you require regarding the KYBELLA™ product or training, please visit mykybella.com or contact your local Kythera representative. More information is available on our website, www.Allergan.com.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at IR-AllerganCommunications@Allergan.com.



Philippe Schaison
President Allergan Medical Aesthetics

Allergan to Buy Kythera Biopharmaceuticals for $2.1 Billion

Allergan Plc, the maker of wrinkle treatment Botox, agreed to buy Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. for about $2.1 billion to add treatments for double chins and male pattern baldness.

At Surgical Artistry, we hope to have Kybella in our office soon.


Actavis name change to Allergan!

Actavis purchased Allergan but is changing their name to Allergan.

Please visit our Modesto Botox page for more information.

Botox Blooms 2 - Calvin Lee