(Updated) Yuval Levental: Plastic Surgery and Autism – The Final Treatment?

Update: I got a second opinion about the surgery from a doctor at Mid-Michigan Ear, Nose, and Throat (https://www.mment.org/).  He said that the plastic surgeon that I consulted with didn’t provide a good solution because he didn’t warn me about the side effects, and that his method was far too invasive.  For now, I have put any future nasal surgery plans on hold.

 

The following blog is written by Yuval Levental, a reader and contributor to our blog site. At present Yuval, who is on the autism spectrum, completed a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and is interested in doing research on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). He started a job in Information Technology where he answers questions and repairs computer hardware and software. Yuval has previously written an essay at corticalchauvinism.com where he discussed his life, views on neurodiversity, and a couple of autism symptoms (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2015/01/14/visualizing-neurodiversity-breathing-for-treatment/).

I asked Yuval to describe himself so that the reader would get to know him better. This is what he said: I am a person on the autism spectrum who advocates for treatment or a cure, because the evidence for autism as being positive is meaningless in most cases. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from ESIEE Paris. Through researching the cause of my autism, I have developed interests in physiology, cellular biology, and neuroscience. In the quest for a cure, I have successfully progressed by attempting to introduce more potassium and less sodium in my diet, and have recently undergone Botox which mitigated my symptoms. Additionally, I like to spread awareness of arguments against Neurodiversity through social media and Wikipedia. Other hobbies of mine include recreationally solving complex math puzzles, traveling, eating new foods, and learning about different cultures.

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In the last article where I talked about potential future treatments for autism (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2016/07/21/yuval-levental-plastic-surgery-and-autism/), I wrote about why I wanted a cure, namely that the unemployment rate for autistic individuals was significantly high, and that even proponents of the neurodiversity model claimed that they supported it because they couldn’t find another possible solution for autistic individuals (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2017/04/03/the-challenges-and-myths-of-high-functioning-autistics/).

I also wrote about my discovery of a 2011 study (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/children-with-autism-have-distinct-facial-features-study/), which claimed that certain autistics had different facial features than non-autistics.  I then went to Michigan Plastic Surgery (http://miplasticsurgery.com/) in East Lansing, Michigan to get a consultation.  The doctor there said that the muscle on top of my nose was working too hard, potentially causing a lot of the autism symptoms I have.  He said that to relieve the pressure, he would inject Botox in the muscle area, which would weaken it by blocking neurotransmitters for three-four months.

Up to now, I have had four botox injections; they were on July 18, 2016, December 20, 2016, April 20, 2017, and July 31, 2017.  Following are pictures of my face before and after the four injections:

YuvalPicture1 

Picture of my face, July 15, 2016

Yuval Picture2

Picture of my face, August 15, 2017.  Notice that the muscles at the top of my nose are far less tense, shorter in width, and not as thick as before.

Additionally, I wrote a follow-up piece discussing that how my obsessive routines faded or completely disappeared, and that I also became more organized (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2016/10/17/yuval-levental-autism-and-the-pursuit-of-knowledge/).  I started to see learning less in terms of awards and academic prestige, and more in terms of the joy of discovery, being that infinite knowledge is impossible.  Before the treatments I couldn’t sit still for two hours at a time; now, I can sit still for as long as is needed.  The only downside is that I cannot do mental arithmetic in my head as fast as I used to be able to, but the tradeoff was definitely worth it.

On August 15, 2017, I went to another plastic surgeon, Rick J, Smith, MD, also in East Lansing, MI (https://www.rickjsmithmd.com/).  I discussed my findings with him, and after setting up a future meeting with a pre-operative nurse on September 18, 2017, he suggested that I should have surgery on September 27, 2017.  He now said that in addition to the top of my nose being too thin, that another problem is that my forehead is putting too much pressure on the top of my nose.  He is planning to smooth my forehead and my nose to relieve pressure.  The surgery will cost around $5000, but I am able to pay for it.

Yuval Picture3

Proof of the surgery consultation, August 15, 2017.

I am not entirely sure if I will be fully cured after this surgical procedure.  I know the reduction of my forehead muscle already tremendously helped me, and hopefully, my personal experience will be influential in scientific research in the future, autism or otherwise.

After the surgery, I am looking forward to doing a follow-up piece about what further experiences I will have, and what I will have learned.

 

11 responses to “(Updated) Yuval Levental: Plastic Surgery and Autism – The Final Treatment?

  1. Hello, Yuval. I don´t know any information the effects against autismo of this type of surgery. I find it very, very odd. I think this surgery can be useful for decrease intra-craneal pression, but I don´t belive it have any permanent effects versus autism symptoms.

    I´m sorry to say to you this, and I don´t want to bother you, but I really do think that the improvements you perceive could be a placebo effect. You should know that placebos “function” better when you have more hopes and illusions on it, or you made a great effort. Of course, spent a lot of money in the surgery you have suffered could be a placebo intensifier, because you give to it an increased importance.

    It is only a personal opinion, and you should not believe me. But if you didn´t make the surgery payment yet, you can do a simple test: wait a few months and verify that the effects that you are feeling are persistents in time. I would do this before spent an important amount of money (and hopes).

    Moreover, I think that memory and arithmetic capacities are connected with introspective statements. Is possible you are in “euforic” time and your mind would be a bit scattered. I know perfectly these sensation… Please proceed with caution. Cordial greetings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your response.

      “But if you didn´t make the surgery payment yet, you can do a simple test: wait a few months and verify that the effects that you are feeling are persistents in time.”

      The last article I wrote about this was in July 2016, when I started (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2016/07/21/yuval-levental-plastic-surgery-and-autism/). Ever since that time, people have noticed dramatic changes in me, even people that I haven’t seen in years. I can walk in a straight line without much tension, and I can sit still for at least two hours at a time. I am far less anxious around people, and my communication is more fluid.

      It might not help 100% if I spend the money on surgery (or it might) but based on my treatments from last year, I think it is well worth it.

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  2. Well, I wish to you the very best of luck, Yuval!

    I think that many of the changes you experimented derive from a change in your mental attitude. It may be related with your personal developement, you know that there can be regressions (or progressions) with regard to autism´s manifestations. And the enviromental conditions we are living can have influence on it, of course. But is perfectly possible that the plastic surgery would produce positive effects for you in one way or the other.

    I believe that you are a courageous and intelligent person, and I´m sure that you can take the best decisions for the future.

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  3. Hi Yuval,

    These are my questions. First: Which symptoms did you have in order to be diagnosed in the “spectrum”?

    Second: When you visit Michigan Plastic Surgery, in East Lansing, how did the doctor there reach the conclusion that “the muscle on top of your nose, which were working too hard, was causing a lot of your symptoms of autism? Which “autistic” symptoms exactly was this muscle causing?

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    • First: When I was younger, I was a late talker. I had problems communicating and socially interacting with people. Additionally, I have problems with organization, productivity, and abstract reasoning.

      Second: He said that the muscle, working too hard, was causing sensory overstimulation, leading to the discomfort which caused my symptoms mentioned above.

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  4. Wow! The plastic surgeon really said to you that a face muscle cause sensory overstimulation and autism´s symptoms? He suggested to you that he was able to cure this autistic symptoms with the surgery?
    I don´t know if he wrote a medical report explaining this diagnostic and the treatament indicated in your case, but I have strong reasons for think that he didn´t.

    Yuval, perhaps you are not aware that in most legislations (in Europe, and I supose in USA too) make these type of claims lookiing for an economic benefit can be considered as a criminal conduct, and I can observe at least two aggravating facts. In my country, for example, this unethical conducts can carry sentences of professional disqualification, economic penalties or prision, depending on the circunstances.

    Of course, I´m speaking just from a juristic perspective.

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  5. Hugo, if what you’re saying is true, just about anyone who has offered an autism treatment, including ABA, occupational therapy etc. would be subject to criminal prosecution based on that standard.

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  6. Depending on the circunstances. There are a lot of frauds related with serious pathologies, included cancer or autism. I think that certain “treatments” (chelation, for example) should be pursued by law.

    In this case, a plastic surgery -not an autism´s specialist or psychiatrist- is making pledges in a medical field outside his competence. In my country there have been different prosecutions to “traditioal healers” and homeopathy therapists by this reasons.

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  7. Pingback: Yuval Levental: Cranial Deformities, Sinus Difficulties, and Autism | Cortical Chauvinism·

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