"We restore and make whole those parts which
nature or ill fortune have taken away,
not so much to delight the eye
but to buoy up the spirit of the afflicted."

-- Gaspare Tagliacozzi, 1597                                                

So spoke the world's first true plastic surgeon more than 400 years ago. Tagliacozzi recognized that our perceptions of ourselves - as well the perceptions of us by others - often are influenced by our appearances. Who has not wished, at some point in his/her life, for an improvement of his/her appearance? And who among us are most sensitive to physical imperfections and deformities and their corresponding emotional pain, if not children?

What is PIPSqueaks?
PIPSqueaks is a non-profit corporation established by Dr. Richard T. Vagley, Medical Director of THE PITTSBURGH INSTITUTE OF PLASTIC SURGERY (PIPS), to provide necessary plastic surgical care free of charge or at no direct expense to deserving children, 17 years of age and younger, of but not limited to the "quad-state" area (MD, OH, PA, WV).

Why is PIPSqueaks necessary?
Anyone familiar with Pittsburgh knows that the city is a "Medical Mecca", home to world class medical care. Yet, as convenient as that care is to all of us geographically, it often is inaccessible to many of us by virtue of changes in the classification and payment of that care by health insurers. Most notably, the growth of "Managed Care", whose thrust is control of health care costs often without regard to the human consequences of that control, has encouraged health insurers to reclassify many reconstructive or non-cosmetic surgical procedures (such as surgical correction of congenital anomalies or birth defects) as cosmetic surgical procedures, which in turn justifies denial of coverage of them by health insurers. Consequently, even those of us who are insured - not to mention the growing number of us who are not insured - frequently are unable to obtain necessary plastic surgical care. As is usually the case in our society, children are hardest hit by this disparity between availability of and access to necessary plastic surgical care. PIPSqueaks is one small solution to this unfortunate problem. PIPSqueaks can't cure all of the world's ills but hopefully can improve life for a few of our neighbors.

Who benefits by PIPSqueaks?
Obviously the direct beneficiaries of PIPSqueaks are those to whom PIPSqueaks provides free plastic surgical care. And, of course, the physicians, nurses and other medical personnel who provide such services derive personal satisfaction from their charitable endeavors. But, even society as a whole benefits, since children whose self-image and self-esteem are improved through correction of congenital anomalies and other disfiguring diseases/deformities become better students, better workers and better citizens.

How is PIPSqueaks funded?
Dr. Vagley and the other physicians (pediatricians, anesthesiologists, etc.) and the hospitals who/which provide care to PIPSqueaks' patients provide that care free of charge or at no direct expense to those patients and their families. The administrative costs related to PIPSqueaks' operations are borne by Dr. Vagley. Tax-deductible contributions to PIPSqueaks are applied directly to patient care related services, such as the purchase of "implants" necessary to correct physical deformities.

How can you help PIPSqueaks?
Simply by "spreading the word". You probably know of someone who would benefit from the services which PIPSqueaks offers. Share this information with him/her and his/her family. Dr. Vagley and the PIPStaff are available at all times, toll-free 1-800-321-PIPS (1-800-321-7477), to discuss services offered by PIPSqueaks and PIPS or to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.


Dr. Richard T. Vagley, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, is Medical Director of The Pittsburgh Institute of Plastic Surgery and a Contributing Editor of Outpatient Surgery Magazine.

The Pittsburgh Institute of Plastic Surgery | 5989 Penn Circle South | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206-3828 | Tel: 412.345.7477
| Fax: 412.345.7478