an exert by Vanessa Jezin (Brea Progress)
Brea plastic surgeon Dr.
Frederic Corbin has been helping correct birth defects
of children and adults in Third World countries for
For people born with physical deformities, life can be an agonizing and often lonely struggle for acceptance.
For those in Third World countries who lack even the most basic medical care, there is often no choice but to live, however painfully, with the birth defect.
But thanks to a Brea plastic surgeon, some of those people have hope.
Dr. Frederic Corbin has been correcting birth defects of adults and children in Third World countries for more than 15 years through an international relief organization Operation Smile.
Every few years, Corbin spends two weeks traveling to foreign countries at his own expense to perform corrective surgeries at his own expense.
"The mission of the organization is to teach doctors how to perform surgery, but practicality is that these countries don't have the money to spend on surgery," Corbin says.
Through Operation Smile, Corbin has traveled to such countries as Africa, Ecuador and Mexico to perform a variety of operations.
Burn victims, car accident victims and people with congenial birth defects such as cleft lip and palate deformities are just a few of the types of defects Corbin commonly treats. Children and adults, he said, walk miles just to be seen by the doctors.
"When you correct a cleft palate, you are correcting (the person's) speech," Corbin says. "For children in these countries it has a great affect because now they won't be considered dumb."
On the last mission he went to Ecuador where Dr. Corbin treated about 10-15 patients per day - a load normally carried by two doctors.
Burn victims are the more common types of patient in Third World countries. Because of the lack of electricity in homes, families are forced to rely on fly netting and kerosene lamps.
Twelve years ago, Corbin came to Brea to help out a colleague's under-staffed practice and decided to stay.
At the time, he was performing plastic surgery at a hospital in Los Angeles and at his own practice in Beverly Hills.
"I became disenchanted with HMOs. I liked performing surgeries, not restrictions," Corbin says.
So, he left the hospital and opened a second practice on Central Avenue.
After graduating with a bachelor's degree in biology from Brown University in 1965, Corbin received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1969.
In between residencies and fellowships, he served as a staff surgeon in the Army.
The ability to change the quality of someone's life is one reason he entered into plastic surgery, he says.
"Plastic surgery is different. It's the only specialty that deals with the whole aspect of the body, the sexes and all ages," Corbin says. "It's the quality not quantity of life - that's what I liked about it."
Locally, Corbin also performs a variety of surgeries.
Corbin performs procedures that are not normally performed by plastic surgeons, nurse Becky Fiene says.
A recent example is a patient who was told by doctors that he would need to have his leg amputated. After Corbin looked at it, he concluded that the leg could be saved with a unique procedure that he developed.
The leg was saved by a method in which Corbin transfers tissue from one part of the body to another, including the tissue, artery, vein and nerves.
Corbin also performs emergency surgeries.
Louie Mendoza had sustained a severe dog bite to his left leg and was refused treatment at a few emergency rooms, because he didn't have insurance. He phoned a friend who advised him to call Corbin. After calling Corbin's office, he was told to come in at once. He was immediately operated on and the surgery prevented scarring and infection.
"I will forever be grateful," Mendoza says.
"You treat the problem and then you worry about it later," Corbin says.
A car accident victim whose face had been severely smashed had his whole face wired shut. The patient used a fake insurance card, and never paid for the service. Corbin never saw him again.
"I travel to foreign countries at my own expense, and perform bizarre procedures," Corbin says. "And I come back to the U.S. and what are you going to do? Not treat them? I would be a hypocrite."
Corbin provides a full gamut of plastic and reconstructive surgery and is not limited to cosmetic surgery.
Beverly Hills Times, November 4th, 2003
by Jill Garneski
Dr. Fred Corbin earns accolades for his charitable work in third world countries, but says his most important gift is his ability to change a patient's life in a positive way.
Visitors to the Beverly Hills or Orange County offices of Dr. Fred Corbin are greeted by a friendly, professional staff, with comfortable reception areas. Men and women from all over the world come to seek Corbin's expertise...
The Pros and Cons of Nip and Tuck
by Dr.Fred Corbin
Plastic surgery is in the news, on television, on the Internet, in movies, in magazines, in books and just about everywhere you look. Society places a high value on youthful, healthy, slim images of women and men. Today, looking and feeling younger has never been easier. With antiaging programs, a healthy diet, a regular exercise regimen and plastic/cosmetic surgery, one can turn back the hands of Father Time..
Click here to read more...
Dr. Corbin's work appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Sept. 16, 1999