Joe Niamtu III, DMD – Cosmetic Facial Surgery

“Saving” Frank Sinatra

Recently, Open Source RVA posted a story by David Brumfield on entertainers that were injured in Richmond over the years.  Sort of a recap of mayhem that befell star performers that graced our city.

One of the items was Frank Sinatra collapsing on stage at the Mosque on March 6th, 1994 and being attended by  several Richmond doctors including me,  and then taken to MCV (now VCU) Hospitals.  This brought back some memories and chuckles and demands a blog recapping the events of that evening.

I had the chance to see Elvis while in school in Cleveland and did not go because he was a bit out of touch by then, but when he died I lamented on missing that chance to see a legend.  When I heard that Frank Sinatra was coming to Richmond to perform at the Mosque (now the Altria) I remembered old Elvis and bought 4 tickets.

I forgot that the concert was on the same day as my semiannual Advanced Cardiac Life Support recertification and I was also on call for facial trauma at the local hospitals.  Despite these two obligations, I managed to finish my certification in time and took a friend and another couple (well-known Richmond photographer Bob Jones and his wife Beth) to the Mosque.

I had good seats in the first row of the right balcony right next to the exit door.  Sinatra came on stage and was backed by his son Frank Jr.’s orchestra.  Frank was almost 80  then and although he was a little slow he cranked out many of his greatest hits.  He had a giant prompter in front of him with the words to the songs streaming across like a giant Karaoke machine and occasionally seemed to forget some lyrics, but after all, he was “old blue eyes and the chairman of the board”, so he was allowed some slack out of respect.

He sat on a plain barstool and had another stool next to him with a clear glass with brown liquid which he sipped through the performance.

About 20 minutes into his act I noticed that he was a little wobbly on his stool and I jokingly said to by friends “hey, if Frank falls off of that stool and hits his face, I am on facial trauma call for the local emergency rooms and lucky for him, I just recertified in ACLS today”  No sooner did those joking words leave my lips, when BANG, Frank collapsed like a rag doll and smacked his head on the big monitor that was in front of him.  It was a pretty big noise and we all looked at each other for a second when his son asked “if there was a doctor in the house?”  There was a policeman or guard standing at the exit that was one seat away from my chair and when I raised my hand he literally whisked my down some steps and there we were center stage with the real Frank Sinatra lying at my feet.  I was the first and only person on the stage except for his people.  Time seemed to warp into slow motion and I looked out at the sold out crowd and there was gasping followed by absolute silence.  It was a creepy and eerie feeling.

I got down on my knees and Frank was unresponsive.  His toupee was crooked and his pot belly was hanging out of his shirt that became untucked.  I lifted his arm and remember that he had a large pinky ring on his little finger.  I lifted his chin to see if he was breathing and felt for a pulse.  I remember that there were some very large men that could have been called Sal or Guido that were next to me, obviously Frank’s bodyguards.

Although this seemed like an eternity, it was probably only 60 seconds and then the conversation from the crowed began to increase and you could hear people crying.  By now a large crowd with several local doctors began to gather at the front of the stage and several jumped up on the stage.  From stage right came the paramedics and the late well-known cardiologist Tommy Thompson.  He and I helped the paramedics set up the EKG and Frank began to arouse and mumble.  I also noticed that there was a table stage left with a bottle of whiskey, ice and glasses.

I think by now the Mosque closed the red velvet stage curtains as concert goers wandered aimlessly contemplating his fate.  The EKG was normal and Frank regained his facilities and he or someone with him wanted the crowd to see that he was alright.  They now transferred him to wheel chair and the curtains opened and Franked waved goodbye to the fine people of Richmond.  At his point, someone took a picture.  This picture (shown below) made it to people magazine in the 3-21-94 issue.  My bald head can be seen behind Frank under the yellow arrow.

Frank was then transferred to a yellow stretcher to be transported to the MCV emergency room.  I think Tommy Thompson was in contact with them telling them that Frank Sinatra was on his way.  His EKG continued to be normal and I still have part of his actual EKG.  I tore off a piece and gave it to Tommy Thompson as a souvenir of that evening.  Guess I will put it on Ebay someday.

By this point, the paramedics told Frank and his handlers that he was going to be taken to MCV and he pretty much wigged out!  He said, with many expletives, that he was not going anywhere but home.  He said something like “I want to get out of this dump” or something similar.  He was pissed and most probably “pissed” in the British sense of the word, i.e. intoxicated.

At this point there was a circus as they were loading him into the ambulance and someone was contacting the hospital administrator at MCV to alert them of the whirlwind that was en route.

I went back to find my friends and by now people were leaving and a lot of folks came up to me asking what happened.

As the ambulance drove away the event was over and the story was that Frank did not want to go to MCV and they had to really persuade him to do a head CT scan.  Although they wanted him to stay overnight he refused and the story goes that he was transported to the airport with some MCV people in vehicle and he was mad as a hornet and the car pulled over and his people asked them to exit the vehicle.  Not quite sure how they got back.

I did not get home till about 11:30 and then got a call from Channel 12 and they came over after midnight for an interview and I did an interview and other local stations followed the next day.  My phone rang all night with media outlets as far as Australia wanting an interview on the events of the night.  Pretty soon, I quit answering the phone as I had surgery in the morning.

The actual People Magazine article is still online but does not have the original pictures.




Dr. J under yellow arrow




Warning:Do not view this video if you are going to laugh at my then, hair :)


Actual People Magazine Article from 3-21-94


Guess that was my 15 minutes of fame.


Joe Niamtu, III DMD

Cosmetic Facial Surgery

Richmond, Virginia




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In Memory of Dr. Richard E. Fitzpatrick

On the Shoulders of Giants


gold 15  Fitzpatrick, Dick

Dr. Rox Anderson on left and Fitz on the right in March of 2014 and at the ASLMS laser meeting several years ago.

I was extremely saddened to see the passing of Dermatology and Human icon Richard E. Fitzpatrick. In every profession, you can sift through the total membership over decades and find thousands of names. In that pile of names lay a small group of truly special and talented individuals that have made exceptional contributions to the specialty and to life. “Fitz” is at the top of that heap in Dermatology. Not only was he truly a pioneering individual but he was truly an exceptional individual. Dick was the type of person that this world needs. As famous and well-known as he was, he always had time for the little person or the student. You could stop him cold walking down the hall at a major meeting to ask for advice and he would treat you like you were related. He always made time for everyone and the reward for that time was his impish smile as well as his wisdom.
When laser technology hit the market there were not “user manuals” and the learning curve was exponential. Dick and several other colleagues led the charge to “figure out” this science and make it predictable. He was the Thomas Edison of lasers.
Anyone who knew Dick was well aware that along with any dispensed wisdom would come a joke or funny story. I shared a podium and social evening with him in early March and he appeared quite healthy. He showed me a picture of him in a hot pink and outlandish outfit the he wore to a Halloween party one year. He told me one of his patients lent it to him he liked it so much that the patient gave it to him. What made the story special was that his friend and patient was Ike Turner who along with Tina Turner strutted that suit on stage in the 70’s and 80’s. Typical Fitz story!
They say that leaders see so well because they stand on the shoulders of the giants that preceded them. We have lost one of the biggest giants ever and anyone whomever shared knowledge or laughs with Fitz will feel void in their life.
Thanks for all you did Dick. We will never forget you.

Joe Niamtu, III DMD
Richmond, Virginia

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The Diagnosis and Treatment of Protruding Ears

Protruding ears are a physical and social problem that affects children (and later adults) and is a common deformity.  Children are often teased and or bullied by peers and this can affect the child’s self-esteem and produce body image disorder that can last a lifetime.

Otoplasty is one of my favorite operations and it is the only truly cosmetic surgery procedure I perform on children.  This is a complex procedure to learn and and even more complex to master, but it is very rewarding to improve the looks and self image of children.  I also commonly perform otoplasty on teens or adults adults that did not have access to this treatment in childhood.  I recently made this educational video for patients and their families considering correction of protruding ears.

Over the years we have assisted children from low income families who could otherwise not afford this procedure.



For more information about otoplasty or cosmetic facial surgery by Dr. Joe Niamtu, III visit

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Dr. Niamtu is Keynote Speaker at The Science and Art of Facial Makeover in Brussels, Belgium

Belgium 2014
Teaching is one favorite parts of my profession and I generally speak 10-20 times a year in different cities and or countries.  All speakers realize that every time they attend a meeting to speak, they also are listening to other lectures and hence learning.  Learning is a part of teaching and I love doing both.

It was my honor to be the Keynote Speaker at The Science & Art of Facial Makeover which is an international meeting in Brussels Belgium.  Dr. Maurice Mommaerts is the organizer of the meeting and is very a very well-known European surgeon.  Jorge Perez who is a well-known plastic surgeon from Ft. Lauderdale is the other keynote speaker and has given some great talks.

I opened the meeting this morning with a 90 minute presentation “Lids, Lasers, Cheeks and Chins” which was obviously about cosmetic eyelid surgery, laser resurfacing, and facial implants.  Dr. Perez also presented on blepharoplasty and there we other really interesting talks from other surgeons from across the globe.  These included great lectures on nose surgery, liposuction, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and facelift.

On the second of the conference I spoke on otoplasty (cosmetic ear surgery), brow lift and facelift techniques.  Dr. Perez spoke on facelift and I had another great day of learning from listening to the other speakers which included transgender surgery, facelift, makeup techniques body dysmorphic disorder.  Like most international meetings there were surgeons from all over Europe and Asia and I made many new friends.

Brussels is a beautiful city and has many structures from the Middle Ages, so if you are a Game of Thrones fan you can identify.  I also had the ability to visit my plastic surgery friend Alex Verpaele and his wife Helga in their hometown of Gent.  This is another beautiful city that is very similar to Amsterdam in its canal system and architecture.


Plastic Surgeon Alex Verpaele and his wife were great hosts in their hometown of Gent, Belgium


Dr. Jorge Perez, a well-known plastic surgeon from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida found some good wine in a city of beer.

One the last day, Dr. Mommaerts was kind enough to provide a personal tour of Brugge.  There is no more “European city” that I have ever visited and none as story book as this.  Truly memorable.

IMG_2589‘Dr. Mommaerts was not only a great meeting organizer, but a gracious host.


Dr. Mommaerts’s hometown of Gent is a fantastic European city with many structures over 1,000 years old.

Also Belgium has over 250 types of beer and they are really serious about it!  Their culture rotates around it and each type of beer is always served in a special glass typical to that brand.  Belgian waffles and exquisite chocolates are on every corner, but it is french fries (served with mayonnaise instead of ketchup) that should be the national food.  The come with every meal and between every meal.  I would imagine that no leaves Belgium weighing less.

By the end of the trip I was looking forward to getting back home to the US and my sons, staff and patients, but Brussels has provided some great lifetime experiences for April and me.


Joe Niamtu, III DMD

Cosmetic Facial Surgery

Richmond, Virginia

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How was your Facelift Experience?

Facelift surgery is my favorite procedure and I performed almost 100 of them last year.  I think that facelift is the ultimate cosmetic surgery procedure for many reasons.  First and foremost, our face is our face!  Yes, the face is the seat of our senses and emotions.  You can hide poor boob, belly or butt surgery, but the face is there for everyone to see.  I don’t think any other procedure can make patients look and feel younger and better than a well done, natural looking facelift.

The buyer must beware, however, as there is a lot of hype about “miracle” facelifts as seen on TV etc.  There is no bargain or compromise on facelift surgery.  Any short cut to try to make it “easier, quicker, shorter recovery” etc. will always have a consequence of less result and or longevity.  Like any other surgery, there is a right way and a “less than right way” to perform facelifts and those surgeons whom take the time and effort to perform the procedure properly have happy, natural looking patients with long lasting results.

This video show an interview with a facelift patient after her surgery and shows her stages of recovery and before and after pictures.

For more information about facelift or other cosmetic facial surgery by Dr. Joe Niamtu, III visit


Joe Niamtu, III DMD

Cosmetic Facial Surgery

Richmond, Virginia

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Chin Implants: Contemporary Surgical Approaches

A weak chin is a trait that many people want to fix and chin augmentation is a very common procedure for both men and women.  Patients with weak chins are more prone to have excess neck skin and “double chin” as they age and many patients simply want a more normal or assertive profile. Although there are numerous ways to augment the chin, silicone chin implants have been the leading choice for 40 years.  Silicone is very bio-compatible and is used in numerous medical devices.  Dr. Niamtu  secures all  facial implants with micro screws, which means they cannot move or migrate and have much less chance of causing problems with the underlying bone.  Although chin implants are a permanent solution to profile enhancement, they can be easily changed or removed if the patients desires.  The procedure is generally performed with IV sedation and takes about 25 minutes to perform.  The recovery is generally about one week.

The following videos show live surgery and may be graphic for some patients.

The following video shows Dr. Niamtu placing a silicone chin implant via the submental approach, which is through the skin under the chin.

Chin implants can also be placed through the mouth so there is not visible scar and the following video show Dr. Niamtu placing an implant through this approach.

For more information on chin augmentation by Dr. Joe Niamtu, III in Richmond, Virginia click here


Joe Niamtu, III DMD

Cosmetic Facial Surgery

Richmond, Virginia


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Dr. Niamtu wins 1st Place for “Best Cosmetic Surgeon” for 4th Year in a Row.

This has been another great year.  Several weeks ago we won “first place for Best Cosmetic Surgeon” from Virginia Living Magazine for the 3rd year in a row and last week we were awarded “First place for Best Cosmetic Surgeon” by Style Magazine for the 4th year in a row.  This is a great honor and a great winning streak for me and my staff.  As always, I have to credit my staff as they come to work every day with a smile and compassion and they treat my our patients sooooo well!  No surgeon can do it alone.

I also have to thank the Style Readers and our patients that voted.  During my 30 years of facial surgery, I have had one constant and that is amazing patients.  This is why I love going to work.  After this extended holiday weekend, I was really pumped to come to work and perform facelift, eyelid, laser and facial implant surgery.  I can’t imagine not doing this, I love it and I love making patients look and feel better.  Again, I think I have the coolest job in the world.

My staff and I work very hard in the pursuit of excellence of cosmetic facial surgery and to be voted “First Place for “Best Cosmetic Surgeon” 8 times has set a standard of excellence that we strive to continually improve.  Nothing is more important to us than our patients and we remain committed to excellence in cosmetic facial surgery.


Joe Niamtu, III DMD

Cosmetic Facial Surgery

Richmond, Virginia

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Dr. Niamtu and Staff Win “Best Cosmetic Surgeon” Award from Virginia Living Magazine for Third Year in a Row.

VA Living 2014

Cosmetic facial surgery is my passion and I am lucky to have the best staff and patients in the world.  I am honored to have been voted “Best Cosmetic Surgeon” for the third consecutive year in a row by Virginia living Magazine.  I don’t take this honor lightly as it does not come easy.  It involves a total commitment to excellence by me and my staff.  As hard as I work (and trust me, it takes a lot of work) I could not provide this level of excellence without a quality staff.  No doctor can achieve excellence without a great team behind them.  Like any team it takes continual practice to stay on top.  This includes communication skill, office cleanliness and sterility, medical emergency training and practice, anesthesia and recovery knowledge and many more facets.  There is one thing, however, that is among the most important qualities of a winning team and that is compassion.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by these compassionate and energetic ladies who truly enhance my life and that of my patients.

I want to thank the readers of Virginia Living Magazine and our patients for their confidence of being “the best”.  We try harder than you will ever know.


Joe Niamtu, III DMD

Cosmetic Facial Surgery

Richmond, Virginia

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Little Girl, Huge Inspiration

kaylee Kosco Op SmilePro bono surgery and charity involvement has always been a priority in my practice and that of my partners.  Giving back to the community is a joy.

Once in a while you get a big surprise and I got one yesterday.  At the end of a long 12 hour day, I was still at my office and trying to catch up on patient charts and email and I noticed an unusual envelope on my desk.

I opened it and all the stress of the day vanished and a huge smile came to my face.  Enclosed was the a ziplock sandwich bag with 2 dollar bills and 4 quarters and a hand drawn card encouraging Operation Smile patients with the phrase “you can do it”.

This was accompanied by the following note from the sender’s mother.

“Hi there my name is Gabriela Kosco and my daughter’s name is Kaylee.  She was very touched to see an operation smile commercial on TV and she is sending you money that she did slave for to help raise money for children’s surgeries.  She wrote a note for the kids waiting for surgery saying “You can do it”.  I asked her why she wrote that and she said ‘to cheer them up and hang in there while they get their surgery”.  I picked her up early from school today and she wanted to personally go to the post office and send her envelope and the letter to the kids.  She also prays for them. Blessings, GK”

I am not sure how old Kaylee is, but she is obviously a young child with the heart full of love beyond her years.  Her mother Gabriela has obviously done an exemplary job instilling care and compassion in her young daughter.  It is pretty amazing that Kaylee saw this on TV and asked her mom to take the time to find me.  I have hosted several fund raisers for Operation Smile over the years and admire their humanitarian efforts.  They make a difference and Kaylee also has made a difference.  I am taking this $3 and turning it into a $100 donation to Operation Smile in Kaylee Kosco’s name.  See Kaylee, caring about people inspires others to do the same and the effect can become magnified.  Your three dollars turned into $100 in several minutes and will help the children served by Operation Smile.

You can do it!  Perhaps Dr. Bill Magee and the staff of Operation Smile can adopt Kaylee’s phrase as an official slogan for the children undergoing surgery from Operation Smile.  It would make a great tee shirt!

Thank you Kaylee, I hope to meet you in person sometime.


Joe Niamtu, III DMD

Cosmetic Facial Surgery

Richmond, Virginia


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10 Buccal Fat Pad Reduction

Buccal fat pad reduction is simple procedure to slim the lower cheeks.  It is not a substitute for weight loss and works best for patients with full cheeks or round face.  The procedure can be performed with local anesthesia or IV  sedation and the recovery is usually less than a week, although the final results may not be apparent for 6 weeks after the procedure.  The result is generally subtle although some patients have very large fat deposits in the cheeks and will have a more dramatic result.

For more information about buccal fat pad reduction or cosmetic facial surgery by Dr. Joe Niamtu, III in Richmond, Virginia, visit

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