The proboscis files

  @FortuneMagazine October 10, 2013: 7:53 AM ET
NOS28 denenberg

Steve Denenberg, MD, in his Omaha operating room


Steve Denenberg, 58, is an unassuming Midwestern guy. Unless you've been in the market for a nose job, you've almost certainly never heard of him. He grew up in Omaha, and after graduating from Harvard and doing a medical residency at Stanford, he returned home to open a practice as a plastic surgeon 29 years ago. He married late -- to another Omahan -- and has five kids under 11. He drives an '05 Honda Pilot; he takes bridge lessons three times a month; he subscribes to Sky & Telescope; and he really gets Playboy for the articles. After discovering the Chinese domino game pai gow in Las Vegas, he spent years writing a 600-page treatise on the topic. When he's exasperated -- like by his engaging parents, who live just around the corner in the house he grew up in -- the most he says is the Yiddishism, "Oy vey ist mir!"

So this is probably not the fellow you'd expect to be leading a crusade. But Steven M. Denenberg, MD, may be the most important plastic surgeon between Hollywood and Manhattan's Upper East Side. For the past decade he has been waging an intellectual-property fight against the worst kind of nose job -- that is, the misappropriation of his patients' online before-and-after photos. Denenberg's tale is about the astonishing reach of the web for a small business and the ease with which scoundrels can take advantage. It's also a pretty funny story.

Join the Conversation
CNNMoney Sponsors
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.