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Surgeons slash at each other in Hollywood

There is a sharp battle going on among some of Hollywood's top scalpel artists.

The Medical Board of California said Monday it is investigating Dr. Steven Hoefflin, arguably Hollywood's top surgeon-to-the-stars. He has sculpted Michael Jackson's face and rejuvenated Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller.Hoefflin, 51, is accused of fondling, disrobing, photographing and ridiculing his anesthetized patients. Investigators are also looking into claims of drug abuse.

Hoefflin denied the accusations and said they stemmed from infighting between himself and two former surgical partners, Drs. James Hurvitz, 50, and Wallace Goodstein, 51.

"I am appalled by these totally false and outrageous statements," Hoefflin said. "This story is old news and represents disgruntled individuals who in the past created false charges to hurt me."

Goodstein said he recalled one incident when Hoefflin "had a very prominent male star in the recovery room. He exposed the guy's genitals and made some comments."

Goodstein said Hoefflin set out to destroy his reputation by calling him mentally unstable and a drug user and by attacking the subdermal liposculpture technique he developed.

"You've got a guy whose success corrupted him. He's a long-term drug abuser and he's got a character disorder," Goodstein said.

Hurvitz declined comment Monday.