Virginia Beach Dermatology

Virginia Beach Dermatology

Dr. Arnold Oppenheim provides over 30 years of expert cosmetic skin care and anti-aging technology, along with the finest dermatological and esthetic care in Hampton Roads.

Operating as usual

[09/27/18]   Tragic Story
Sometimes, my mind will recall a case from the remote past and wonder if today, with medical advances, things might have turned out differently, instead of the sad ending which ensued.
I was new in dermatology practice. losing more money than I was making. So, I took a locum tenens for a month. A family practice in South Boston Virginia, a small town in the central part of Virginia. South Boston is mostly known for its to***co production and if you follow NASCAR the home of the Burton brothers. I worked with one family doctor for two weeks while the other was on vacation and switched, partenering with the other physician for the second two weeks. All and all a very enjoyable experience.
One day, since I was a board certified dermatologist, I was asked to perform a consult on a young patient at the local hospital, Halifax Regional Hospital.
When I walked into the room, I was struck by how healthy the patient looked. She was a strikingly attractive blond girl of 17, hovering between adolescence and womanhood. Sweet and soft-spoken with the syrupy Southern drawl which, at that time, was new to me. For her, South Boston, was the big city as she was actually from a small hamlet which can be found only on the most detailed of maps.
Being summer, she had been swimming at one of the small ponds that dot the landscape. After swimming, she felt a lump in her armpit. Her parents took her to the local general practitioner, who told them that she had a swollen lymph node and reassured them that she most likely had an infection. The young lady was placed on an antibiotic for a month. When the issue remained unresolved, her doctor referred her to a surgeon in South Boston. He performed a biopsy on the lymph node which proved to be metastatic melanoma.
My job was to find the primary melanoma. While she had numerous freckles, she actually did not have many moles. Only a few. I did biopsy a couple of the slightly suspicious ones. They came back benign. Most likely she had a melanoma which came up, resolved, but dispatched its vicious cells elsewhere in the body.
Her physicians treated her as best they could and she was referred to Duke Medical Center. Later, I inquired about her case and learned she had lasted only about four months. Occasionally, I still think about that tragic loss of life at such a young age.
How the Duke physicians treated her, I do not know. There was actually very little that could be done. Mostly radiotherapy for palliation; maybe some chemotherapy that probably did nothing more that make that poor innocent sick.
Nowadays, we know so much more about melanoma, and the use of targeted therapies can prolong lives and bide time waiting for even more effective treatments to emerge. By determining the genetic makeup of the tumor, the appropriate drug can be matched to fight it. I am not sure if this young lady would have been cured, but these drugs would have given her a fighting chance.


Hand Rejuvenation
Many of us noticed from the days when we were children, the dichotomy of aging in many older celebrities. Their faces may look young but two regions are tattle-tales that the celebrity has been the recipient of plastic surgery: the neck and back of the hands.
The neck can deform in a number of ways. Turkey wattles can devlop, or double and even trouble chins form...sometimes aging leaves patients with no chin at all. Platysmal bands, the strips of muscle that begin at the base of the neck and run up right and left sides of the neck all the way to the jaw, make a person look older than they would like.
The back ( dorsum) of the hands are not spared either as we age. We lose volume as the subcutaneous fat regresses making the tendons and veins appear more prominent. Exposure to the sun and movement causes the skin to look wrinkled and creapy. Lentigines ( liver spots) dot the skin of the back of the hands.
Now modern cosmetic science has found remarkably effective tools to remedy both problems. Kybella, liposuction, lasers, and Botox have supplemented surgical techniques to improve the appearance of necks.
Now a new weapon has been added to our arsenal in the quest to rejuvenate the back of the hands: Restylane Lyft. Recently, the FDA approved Restylane Lyft which is now the first hyaluronic acid filler given the nod for use on the back of the hands.
Radiesse (calcium hydroxyapatite), was previously FDA approved for the same use. Radiesse has been around for awhile and has been met with generalized acceptance.
It will be interesting to see which of these two agents patients and physicians prefer. Having injected Radiesse to the back of the hands on a number of my patients, it seems that most patients solidly like the results, though a few have been disappointed. Hyaluronic acid is softer and my guess that some patients will prefer this route. However, Radiesse definitely lasts longer so that looms as an advantage. While none of my patients experienced a lump, theoretically a Restylane lump should be much easier to remove than a Radiesse lump since Hyaluronidase can be injected into the former.
With either agent, I would strongly recommend an IPL treatment as part of hand rejuvenation. The IPL can have an anti-aging effect in itself but more importantly can obliterate the liver spots and other superficial skin imperfections.


Virginia Beach Dermatology

Lowest prices of year:
Botox: $9 a unit
Xeomin: $7 a unit
Administered in our office by Board Certified Dermatologist ( me)
Prices good until 1:00 PM on 12/28/16. Must schedule before then.
Pay at time of injection in January or February.
First 10 patients to schedule an appt. get a gift.

[12/28/16]   Lowest prices of year:
Botox: $9 a unit
Xeomin: $7 a unit
Administered in our office by Board Certified Dermatologist ( me)
Prices good until 1:00 PM on 12/28/16. Must schedule before then.
Pay at time of injection in January or February.
First 10 patients to schedule an appt. get a gift.

( or My Bizarre Weekend in Franklin PA)
The recent tumult and tragedy of the murder of poor Cecil the Lion recalled a long ago weekend spent in Franklin Pennsylvania.
This small city, nestled in the hills North of Pittsburgh, was actively recruiting me to become the dermatologist for the area. This was back in 1981.
There seemed to be some sort of rivalry in the medical community pitting the American born and trained physicians and the foreign born M.D.'s. The American born physicians were especially eager to have me join their ranks.
The weekend began auspiciously enough as I was feted to a lovely dinner in a historic, ornate bank building. Meeting many of the illustrious citizens of the town, I felt honored. They were gracious and hospitable.
This was followed the next day by a visit to the local hospital and interviews with a number of physicians. Typical recruiting. I tried to turn on what little charm I possess.
This was followed by an appointment with a real estate agent. She showed me a few homes in the area. One home or should I say, mansion particularly impressed me. This was a large , grandiose dwelling overlooking the town. The mansion was Victorian, sprawling grassy and wooded acreage enclosed by a tall steel picket fence. I remember such features as a large ballroom, a small bowling alley and ornate molding. The wooden floors had a rich texture and gave a heavy look. No laminate here. The home was an incredible value something in my memory tells me about $110,000. I had the feeling the house might be haunted, but the real estate agent told me, the price was low because 1) real estate in Franklin was low to start with and 2) the present owners had let the place run down.
There were other similar homes overlooking Franklin, as Franklin and some of the surrounding towns had once been some of the wealthiest in the United States. This was back in the 1860-1890's after oil was discovered in the area. Edwin Drake had struck black gold in the Titusville, not far from Franklin in 1858. The ensuing oil boom drew thousands of speculators and the cities grew exponentially. I was shown a historical marker where the assassin John Wilkes Booth had established the Dramatic Oil Company. Probably better success in this failed venture would have changed the course of history.
Though this tour was certainly interesting the most memorable part was a visit to the home of one of the town's wealthiest men: a dentist. He lived in one of those big old houses. Updated of course. Though the architecture was nice, the "feature" was a huge living room with numerous exotic game heads. Over the large fireplace was the stuffed head of a large Lion. Though intrigued, at the same time I found it repulsive and oddly eerie. I wondered how he could live with the sullen stares of those magnificent animals peering down at him day after day. There were also stuffed heads of other beasts such as gazelles and a rhino, but the lion was his showpiece. He told me his planning to go back to Africa in the Spring for his fifth safari. Rather than tell him my true feelings of repulsion I took the (coward's) easy way out and wished him luck. Then he proudly showed me his gun collection, though I knew little about guns, and after a quick snack we left.
The rather bizarre weekend came to a climax on Sunday morning. I heard the joyous sounds and shrieks of the townspeople. I looked out my hotel window, overlooking French Creek. Below me were hundreds of folks participating in an activity that appeared to be bobbing for watermelons. At first, I thought this must be some strange tradition. In the middle of Winter, the citizens of Franklin must hold a festival, part of which is the bobbing for watermelons. In actuality, the answer was much more mundane and tragic.
A truck, laden with watermelons, had illegally taken a short cut through the town, and due to the steep incline, had broken though a barrier and hurtled into the River. One of the truck drivers was dead and the other missing.
After having breakfast, though I found Franklin very interesting and my hosts as gracious as could be, I decided to take my dermatology talents elsewhere.


Virginia Beach Dermatology

The Champ and the Kid

It was late morning and my father was driving us home from a house call. I don't remember much about the house call which must have meant that the patient was either contagious or not too friendly, at least toward pesky children. I must have patiently waited in the car.
Anyway, as we turned a big bend in the road, my father suddenly decelerated the big black Buick. (Incidentally, for those that do not know: the Buick was traditionally the car for doctors, nice, comfortable, and established but not ostentatious).
He then asked me with slight urgency to roll down the window. I did as he said.
Then, driving the car even slower, and to a crawl, he said: "When we pass the running man, tell him hi champ."
With my high pitched 7 year old voice, I yelled out, " Hi Champ".
The man, who had a few men running with him, gave me a brief wave and yelled back, " Hi Kid"
As our car pulled away, resuming normal speed, I asked my Dad who the man was.
He's the champ, Rocky Marciano, my father replied.
Does that mean he can beat anyone up, I inquired.
My father nodded and said yes.
Even President Eisenhower?
Yup, him too.
Much later, I learned that Marciano, who always stayed in shape while boxing, helped maintain his high level of fitness by sometimes, running from Brockton to Rockland. Most likely he was training after attending early Mass.

Much later, after Rocky's tragic death in a plane crash, my father resurrected his Marciano ties.
He was called on to perform an insurance physical on Rocky's mother, Mrs. Marchegiano. The two hit it off, and Mrs. Marchegiano, who already had a doctor, asked if my father minded doing house calls on her. He said gladly.
My father recounted that Mrs. Marchegiano, was a kindly, warm, lady who would always have some sort of pasta for him when he called. Mange, mange she would say in keeping with that genre of Italian women of the era.
I am not sure whether he ever told her what a thrill, her son had given his son that Sunday morning about sixty years ago.



5320 Providence Rd, Ste 202
Virginia Beach, VA

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:30
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:30
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:30
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