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Thursday, Feb 2, 2023
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Plastic Surgeon With a Laser Focus

The Grossman name carries weight in the medical community worldwide – but particularly in the San Fernando Valley where the family pioneered techniques for treating severely burned patients. Dr. Richard Grossman, the family patriarch, died last March, but his legacy has continued through his son Dr. Peter Grossman and the Grossman Burn Center, a chain of hospital-affiliated skin reconstruction clinics headquartered in West Hills. There’s also the non-profit Grossman Burn Foundation, which helps individuals and families worldwide who have suffered from burn injuries. Unlike his father, the younger Grossman has ventured into the world of cosmetic plastic surgery to the point where he developed a celebrity practice and was even named by entertainment industry trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter as a favorite of the showbiz crowd, with its appetite for facelifts and tummy tucks. Now, he is taking his skills to the masses. Earlier this year, he opened Grossman Laser Spa which offers non-surgical procedures, including laser tattoo removal, facial rejuvenation and scar and wrinkle reduction. The idea that he might be further leveraging his name for commercial gain didn’t escape him. While Peter Grossman was planning to open his new laser spa last March, his father Dr. Richard Grossman died at age 81, leaving behind two sons, a fourth wife … and a soap opera setting for an estate battle. Following Grossman’s death, his descendants – eldest son Jeffery Grossman, younger brother Peter and grandchildren Nicholas and Alexis – were surprised to learn that their forebear’s residence, originally left to them, had instead been turned over to the deceased’s fourth wife Elizabeth Grossman, who married him 12 years before his death. The estate includes both real estate and financial assets, but the crown jewel is Brookfield Farms in Thousand Oaks. The 60-acre property has a 6,700-square-foot residence with three bedrooms and six bathrooms, and includes four guest cottages, a gym, pool and an equestrian complex. It has a listing price of $24.5 million. According to his sons, the farmhouse had a special place in Richard Grossman’s heart and he wanted to keep it in the family. The farm was also a means of financial support for 55-year-old Jeffrey, who suffers from a neurological and psychological disorder similar to autism. “My father has been taking care of my special-needs brother all of his life, and he never would have left him financially unsupported,” Peter Grossman said. “We believe that there was elder abuse and undue influence (which resulted) in his estate completely changing to go to his fourth wife.” Peter and Jeffrey Grossman filed a lawsuit last August in Ventura County Superior Court accusing the widow of manipulating her ailing husband, committing financial abuse and taking the property for herself. The boys are hoping to take back possession of the property, especially since Elizabeth is attempting to sell Brookfield Farms. Alex Weingarten, an attorney representing Grossman’s sons with the firm Venable LLP in Los Angeles, said it would have been completely uncharacteristic for Grossman to leave his estate to his fourth wife, because all of their finances had been handled separately. “It was Richard’s intention to make sure that his farm, which he considered to be the embodiment of his life’s work, would stay in his family and go to his children and his grandchildren,” Weingarten said. According to the complaint, Grossman’s trust had been set up since 1997 to go to his children, and soon after, his grandchildren. It wasn’t until 2012, around the time he became ill and was hospitalized with complications following kidney transplant surgery, that the estate was redirected to his fourth wife, Weingarten said. However, Elizabeth Grossman’s attorney, Peter Wakeman of Wakeman Law Group Inc. in Westlake Village, said the deceased was well-aware of his decision, and that he wanted his wife to manage the estate in his absence, especially on behalf of his eldest son. “Richard thought Elizabeth would be in a better position to take care of Jeffrey than Peter would be, that’s why the money was left to her,” Wakeman said. “She has a background in financial management and worked on Wall Street and it was Richard’s opinion that she would do a better job at making sure Jeffrey would be taken care of.” The family dispute ended up in mediation last November, which was unsuccessful, and the case should go to trial this year, according to Weingarten. At that point the lawyers of both Grossman’s widow and his children will determine his original intent for his estate. – Champaign Williams “Though I was concerned about my reputation associated with the Grossman Burn Center and didn’t want to sully that reputation, I do get an equal amount of enjoyment from providing cosmetic services for patients that make them feel good about themselves and achieve better physical and emotional health,” said Grossman, 52. The spa, which officially opened in January, is an extension of the 7,000-square-foot facility of Grossman Plastic Surgery, his private surgical practice, located at 7325 Medical Center Drive on the grounds of West Hills Hospital & Medical Center. Grossman’s new business is part of a larger shift in the cosmetic sector toward medical spas that typically offer non-surgical procedures including Botox injections and laser hair removal, and are often operated by licensed practitioners or nurses. That allows doctors to increase their revenue without attending to patients personally. Traffic at the spa is slowly gaining momentum, but it’s at a slight disadvantage because unlike competitors, which are typically in malls and clinics, the Grossman Laser Spa is hidden inside a medical office building. And even with the name, the business has gotten tougher since similar medical spas started popping up within the last decade. A report from IBISWorld, a market research publisher with U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles, found that the traditional $14 billion plastic surgery sector has seen a proliferation of the spas. “Competition has been especially prevalent with medical spas. As competition heightens, operators (surgeons) have been forced to reduce prices on numerous procedures, limiting the growth of profit margins,” the IBIS report stated. Expensive gear Grossman’s decision to start a laser spa did not come to him suddenly. It developed gradually, inspired by his work with burn patients. His father founded the Burn Center in 1969, and the company has expanded with locations in West Hills, Bakersfield and Kansas City. Peter Grossman purchased the surgical practice from his father in 2002, after spending seven years performing cosmetic and reconstructive surgery in his father’s office. While working on severely burned patients, trying to minimize the scarring and disfigurement, Grossman attempted to use a laser designed for cosmetic treatment to improve the scarring. When he noticed the laser could improve scars by 20 to 30 percent, he began to invest more money in better equipment. It was then that he decided – with the equipment in tow and the expertise at hand – that he’d go entrepreneurial and open the spa. “I tell everybody that once you have plastic surgery that doesn’t mean the clock has stopped, we’ve just pulled the clock backwards,” he explained. “Your body is dynamic and it’s going to continue going through environmental damage and changes.” Grossman employs two nurses, a physician’s assistant and an administrative assistant, all of whom run the entire practice. This is especially helpful when managing the laser spa because the nurses can perform a majority of the procedures by themselves, and Grossman does not have to be present. The facility features an earth-tone decorated waiting room, an examination room and several offices. Grossman has stocked his spa with state-of-the-art laser machines and equipment. For example, the PicoSure laser from Cynosure Inc. in Westford, Mass., is the latest technology for tattoo removal. It delivers pulses of energy at ultra-fast speed to shatter ink in the skin. Unlike previous tattoo removing lasers, which heat up the skin to break the ink into smaller pieces that can be absorbed by the body, he said the PicoSure is less damaging to the skin and requires less downtime for the patient. But the technology comes at a price – Grossman has invested $1.5 million to $2 million in equipment. “The technology used for the laser spa is expensive and we’ve got to get people to use it in order to pay for it,” he said. “Marketing is key in the beginning.” The spa has launched an online advertising campaign using search pay-per-click ads and social media, in addition to partnering with local tattoo parlors for referrals. Grossman also plans to refer his plastic surgery and burn patients to the spa, and he has an impressive client roster to draw upon. Among his celebrity clients are Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and actress Frances Fisher, who worked closely with Grossman and his father after her hands were burned during a house fire. “Dr. Peter Grossman was the most compassionate, skilled and intuitive doctor who ever treated me,” the 62-year-old actress told the Business Journal. Inspired business The spa prices vary by procedure. For tattoo removal, Grossman charges $1,600 to $3,200 depending on the size of the tattoo. Facial rejuvenation, which comes in a package of four treatments, is $550 per treatment. It removes scars, spots and wrinkles. The spa also offers permanent sweat gland reduction for $1,500. Elizabeth Philips, the spa’s registered nurse, said the PicoSure for tattoos and the PicoFocus, used for facial rejuvenation, spots and wrinkles, are the most popular machines among customers. “They want that less invasive treatment with minimal downtime, where nobody is going to know that they’re getting something done,” she said. “That’s why lasers are so appealing to people, because before your only option was something surgical.” Risa Goldman Luksa, president of medical marketing firm Goldman Marketing Group in Burbank, said Grossman’s largest challenge will be differentiating himself from his competition, many of whom are surgeons as well. “In this day and age, the way for doctors to make money is changing. This laser spa can help add another source of revenue for his practice; however, he’s stepping into a market that is very competitive and very saturated,” Luska explained. “There are a lot of different types of doctors who could open similar laser centers to bring in a cash-based business model to their practice. Since the field is so saturated, there is going to be a lot of costs as far as marketing and he will need to establish a strong online presence.” Celebrity Laser Spa and Surgery Center in Los Angeles offers similar services as Grossman’s Laser Spa, including facial rejuvenation for $575 per treatment and approximately $300 for a 6-inch tattoo removal. New Look Skin Center in Glendale has equally competitive prices, charging $300 for skin rejuvenation treatments and $45 per inch for tattoo removal. Grossman is aware that his name could carry a double legacy, as both burn doctor and businessman, but he feels both careers are part of one whole. “Whether it’s a burn patient or a cosmetic patient, there’s a big feeling of contentment when you can help somebody,” he said. “It sounds kind of corny, but that’s what this is all about.”

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