Author Topic: My experience with Pensler and Bermant  (Read 3025 times)

Offline bliss9k

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Well, I've lurked here for a few years while I debated whether or not to do anything about my gyno. This past Thursday, I finally took the plunge! Considering all of the help I received from this forum, I wanted to add my two cents. Keep in mind that this is just an account of my own personal experience.

After reading many of the posts here, I originally decided to go with Dr. Bermant for my surgery. He seemed to be the most highly qualified and reasonably priced. However, when I first called the office, they informed me that they did not take credit card. I was eager to have my phone consultation (which is $200), so instead of waiting to mail a check, which was my only other option, I chose to go with the only other option they offered, a Western Union payment (You can also wire money directly to their account, but this too is expensive). This alone seemed pretty ridiculous. Western Union is a giant waste of time as well as expensive. Why a doctor's office can't take credit cards is beyond me. I even payed the extra $12 to have it sent the same day so I could have my consultation sooner. I had a time scheduled two days later for the phone consultation but had to cancel due to work reasons. I rescheduled and was told Dr. Bermant might have time to call me Thursday afternoon, but if not then, then I would receive a call Saturday Morning. I didn't receive a call either day. I called the office and rescheduled another phone consultation for the following Tuesday, which we did have.

Dr. Bermant definitely knows his stuff. He talked to me for 45 minutes off of what seemed to be some sort of script he has written for gyno patients. He wasn't a particularly warm personality, but I really didn't care about that. I just wanted the best doctor performing my surgery. The phone call felt rushed, especially for it costing $200, but even that I was fine with. Things seemed like a good fit and I was confident in him as a surgeon.

Since I was scheduling so soon, Dr. Bermant's office needed the entire sum a week prior to my surgery date. This wouldn't have been a problem except for the fact that their office A) doesn't take credit cards and B) offers NO financing options. Apparently many medical lending services require a small kick back from the provider when they loan money to a patient, and Dr. Bermant's office does not participate in any of these offers. I spent some time on the phone trying to see if there were any other financing options that they could recommend, but they had none. 0. I then asked "So how do people go about paying for a $8,000 surgery without financing?" I was told "They just save up". What a joke.... Between the travel expenses to Virginia from Indiana (where I'm from), very limited contact with Dr. Bermant himself (just that 45 min $200 phone call), and the fact that his office offered 0 financing options, I canceled my surgery date.

This is when I looked into Dr. Pensler in Chicago. I was a little nervous going with him originally because I'd heard mixed results on this board, but as far as the midwest went, he seemed to have the most experience. Let me just say, I'm very happy I did!

From the very beginning, his office was a pleasure to work with. I initially inquired about having the surgery, sent in my photos, and Dr. Pensler himself emailed me back the same day. He then gave me his personal phone number and told me to contact him that evening so we could talk about my condition. That night I had a conversation with him while he sat in his kitchen with his dogs. He gave me a solid 45 minutes of his time, all without ever seeing a dime of my money. He then told me to call him after work any time if I had any other questions, again, I had yet to pay them a dime.

He says he does about 150 of these surgeries a year and this year is looking to do 200, so he also knows his stuff.

And Dr. Pensler's office DOES take credit cards. They also offer financing through a company called Care Credit, which i was able to get 6 months no interest on the portion of my surgery I financed. To make a long story short, I traveled to Chicago, stayed at a hotel next door to Dr. Pensler's facilities (The nurse actually wheeled me back to my hotel room bed), had the surgery done, and was on my way the next day. His office and nurses were top notch all the way.

I get to see what things look like tomorrow when I get to take off this damn vest to shower :) But from what I already saw at my follow up, I'm very happy thus far!

So all of that being said, I'm not saying don't go with Dr. Bermant. He has a great reputation and obviously does great work. I just found his billing policies hard to work with. Perhaps they will again offer financing in the future, because if they would have, I would have went with them. However, he was going to charge me $7,500 (This price fluctuates depending on the severity of your condition) for everything. Pensler charged $5,500, offered financing, and was a 3 hour drive away. It just made more sense in my case.

I just wanted to write this in case there was someone else out there contemplating Dr. Pensler and possibly feeling a little hesitant just because he isn't as widely known on these boards.

If I get around to it, I"ll try to post some before/after photos. And thanks again to everyone here who has taken the time to post their own experiences. It certainly helped me.


Offline alphajc

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Not accepting credit cards would be a challenge for many to pay for the procedure.  Although I had the resources to pay for the surgery in full, I chose to use a credit card with my surgeon just to ease the expense into my budget (and since I had 1 year 0% interest on it).  I am a bit surprised that any surgeon doesn't accept them, but if cash is king for a surgeon and could still get globs of patients like Dr. Bermant does, then it's working for him.

Dr. Pensler does have a good reputation on this board and he does appear to dedicate a good part of his practice to gynecomastia, I think he's pretty well known in this circle.  I'm pretty sure your results will be good and congratulations on joining the "other-side" after gynecomastia.

Offline bliss9k

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Thanks man. I'm already feeling better about things. I agree, Dr. Bermant certainly doesn't appear to be hurting for business, and seemingly rightfully so. I just wanted to let others out there that might be in my position know that there are other skilled PS closer to home that can do a nice job and may be a little more financially friendly to work with.

Offline George Pope, M.D.

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    • Orlando Plastic Surgery Center

I'm glad you had a good experience with Dr. Pensler.  He has a great reputation.

Dr. Pope, MD
George H Pope, MD, FACS
Certified - American Board of Plastic Surgery
Orlando Plastic Surgery Center
Phone: 407-857-6261

Offline Paa_Paw

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To any and all.

One of the problems with a phone consultation is the possibility of omitting something. Many business people prefer to use a check list or a script to ensure that nothing is missed. This may result in the person sounding detached or impassive but it is sometimes the price of accuracy.

Costs can be highly variable, as was observed. The greater the demand for a particular persons services, the more they can effectively charge. I was a skilled technician who always charged a high price for my services. Even so, my reputation for good service was such that I had to turn down a lot of work. (I'm now retired)

As to the issue of credit, I don't like it either. Cash has never "bounced" in my experience.
Grandpa Dan

Offline gyno021292

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Hey man, congrats on the surgery. If i end up getting surgery anytime soon, my first call to a surgeon will be Dr. Pensler.
If you get around this website again, which many people who have surgery done don't, please try to post before and after pics so i can see what im getting myself into. Appreciate it, i hope it went as you hoped.

Offline Dr. Elliot Jacobs

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Have heard some good reports about Dr. Pensler -- would recommend guys in his area to check him out!

Dr Jacobs
Dr. Jacobs 
Certified: American Board of Plastic Surgery
Fellow: American College of Surgeons
Practice sub-specialty in Gynecomastia Surgery
815 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10021
Telephone:  (212) 570-6080

Offline bitter

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Hey Bliss thanks for the write up!  havent heard much in the midwest but pensler seems to be the man as other dr.s have attested to.  would love for you to attach some post op pics so we can see the results.  i have always been very skeptical that surgery would work for me.  throw me some motivation ;]

Offline bliss9k

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Well I thought I'd write a follow-up for anyone who might be interested. So I'm 10 months post-op now. I was hoping for better results than I was able to achieve, but so goes it. My skin didn't end up contracting nearly as much as I would have liked following the first procedure, so I went back for a follow up where Dr. Pensler tried a few different techniques to get more contraction. This procedure did help, but one side continued to sag considerably more than the other. I went back again for a skin excision on that side, which did help, but I'm not also left with a rather large scar. Although the scar really doesn't bother me. It's that I still have loose skin surrounding the area where the gynecomastia was. I'm 29 years old and I guess I just had the condition for so long that the skin wasn't able to bounce back to it's original shape. So in the end, for anyone who might be in my shoes, here is what I've concluded.

Dr. Pensler is a great surgeon. I have minimal scaring from both of the original procedures and the gland was removed successfully. If you live in the midwest, I would recommend his services. However, in my case, just taking the gland out wasn't enough. Now I was somewhat of an odd case. I'm thin, had an average to slightly above average case of gynecomastia, and have also had a pectus surgery in the past, which basically means my chest is slightly sunken. My skin also didn't contract like most. I'm confident that if I would have been slightly younger and not ever had the pectus, that my results with Dr. Pensler would have been better. But in my case, I may have benefited from the expertise that Dr. Bermant seems to have with all ranges of gynecomastia, since it seems to be the majority of what he does. The guy is just everywhere on the internet, his website is very informative, and he is constantly answering forum questions (no doubt also drumming up business), but also answers questions that don't directly benefit him. So I probably misjudged his colder tone for just being a busy man, because he does seem to go out of his way to answer people's questions and concerns on more forums than just this one. I have no idea if he has since started taking payment plans, but again, he doesn't seem to be hurting for business, so more power to him. I was initially upset with my experience with Dr. Bermant, but in the end, I think I misjudged, for what it's worth.


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