Ellenbogan is NOT a "Hero"! Los Angeles, CA

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I saw all these 5-stars ratings, that always make...

I saw all these 5-stars ratings, that always make me wonder about the integrity of RealSelf reviews (for ANY doctor.) As if he is so perfect that not a single patient has ever had a bad experience? Not likely.
For instance, I never had heard of him or his "fame" but just had a friend who had had a bad experience with Fraxel recommend him as somebody who knew all about fixing damage and had done a great job on her face. I really did not even want a face lift, but illness with tooth loss & inexplicable jaw bone deterioration had dramatically aged me from always being told I "looked young for" my age to lookng at a haggard, gaunt "old woman" in the mirror, almost overnight.
When I went to see him, I had been told I could come in a few days before for 1st consultation since I was from out of town. I had also been quoted a cost of approximately $20,000 to $25,000 for basic facelift with fat grafting. Dr. Ellenbogen is very outgoing with a strong personality and a gift for B.S. (to make everybody feel "special"). Somehow after he had seen me the cost soared to $35,000, and he was extraordinarily convincing that all he said absolutely was necessary considering my extreme weight loss and how the face had hollowed out with skin sagging everywhere. In fact, I felt much worse about my condition after seeing him even than I had before! Most of all, he said, my face was too thin and much too long. Well, of COURSE it was too thin! I already knew that, it's why I was there. But "too long"? I was devastated. He assured me that the only alternative was to combine the face lift, neck lift & fat grafting with a brow lift as well. Not because my eyes needed it (they had somehow escaped damage), but simply because it was the only way to shorten that much-too-long face. I'm sure he can read patients quite well, and he knew how fragile and malleable my self-worth was at that time and played on it well. I agreed to add the extra $10,000 ti $15,000 to my credit card, because he had convinced me it was absolutely necessary at that point.
As it turned out, the following year I was able to regain the weight, which I should have realized was a possibility. Dr. Ellenbogen should also have realized that. After that, my face looked bottom-heavy. Also, the scar he had assured me would be almost undetectable at the hairline ended up being obvious and made it so I could never wear my hair back without bangs to cover it again. After all, he closed it up with staples, & it doesn't look like much effort at all was made to make it less noticeable. However, don't expect him to admit to ever doing anything wrong. Like these fishy reviews, he sees himself as perfect, and his jovial personality disappears when he no longer needs to sell you on something.
I have gone to a different plastic surgeon in the last few years, and have grown to trust him above any others in the country. He, too, agrees that such a scar was completely unnecessary. Not only that, the brow lift never actually "lifted" anything! All it did was make my forehead shorter and leave that scar. I don't even have my natural hairline any longer! It's much thinner on the right side than the left. All I know to do now is to look into hair transplantation to create a new hairline.
Another thing that happened at the time was that the fat graft in my left cheek "sank". Within less than 2 months post-surgery it became apparent that something hadn't quite "taken" on that side, because I had an indentation running diagonally across my cheek. The doctor had said he would fix anything like that, which might occur right after surgery, but when it came right down to actually doing it, somehow my emails went unanswered and phone calls unreturned. In other words... "tough luck. I got my money, now I want to be left alone." I suppose if I'd offered to pay enough extra for him to fix it, he might have considered it. As it turned out, that "dent" grew deeper each year until I finally found my current surgeon who has fixed it.
Not only that, my friend who recommended him in the first place, telling me that he had only charged her $20,000, had the damage to her face return! At that point, Dr. Ellenbogen shrugged it off and said, "That happens to some people, and unfortunately, you're one of them. The only treatment is for you to come back each year for another fat graft." So that "bargain" $20,000 "fix" ended up meaning $20,000 extra per year into Dr. E's already overflowing bank account.
So, I'm not saying he's a bad surgeon or that he hasn't had a lot of success and has talent. I'm just saying that there is something lacking in the ethics department with him and the "great compassion" act he puts on for new patients is just that: an act. Don't buy into it. I hope this might save one or two or several others the same pain and loss it caused me and my friend. There are other plastic surgeons out there every bit as talented as Dr. E, but just not as "famous". In fact, I believe a number of them are much MORE talented. Dr. E. just lucked out, probably due to location, by being selected to be on a TV show and having a personality that has the effect of pulling in suckers like me.
That's all. You should keep looking. It's even worth it to fly across the country to get the best surgeon, when it comes to your face!
A hint: in WA, DC, is somebody you can't go wrong with. Although his name says otherwise, he is a man who is BIG in humility, talent and compassion.
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
1 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
1 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
1 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
1 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
1 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
1 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
1 out of 5 stars Payment process
1 out of 5 stars Wait times
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