When one has known what his calling was since he was a child, every thought and action related to that endeavor is engendered with a profound, solemn, and unparalleled seriousness of purpose. And so it is with plastic surgery and me. I was twelve years old when I decided that I was going to be a plastic surgeon. Since that precocious proclamation, I have developed an infinite passion for the discipline and the empowerment cosmetic surgery can bring to the lives of patients. Over time, I have developed a deep recognition of the fact that when patients come to me with the desire for physical change, they also bring with them their hopes and dreams for the future. This is inescapable and must always be respected. I do, always, and thus I embark on every patient interaction, and every procedure, with a determination to create the highest quality experience, deliver the highest quality results, and achieve the highest levels of happiness. This is my quest for a Different Kind of Excellence.
It is the Product. It is the Result
A different kind of excellence refers to the fundamental premise that underscores my intent and actions as they pertain to patient care in plastic surgery. I recognize that sole reason for the existence of my practice and career as a plastic surgeon is to care for other human beings. More specifically, when it comes to cosmetic surgery, the entire reason I exist as a plastic surgeon is to make people happy. I seek a different kind of excellence as it pertains to patient experience and results delivery by keeping the main focus on generating more happiness.
Patients seek cosmetic surgery to improve their appearance in order to develop more confidence in themselves, so they can experience more happiness in their lives. Patients seek cosmetic surgery to erase some blemish or dissatisfactory feature that caught the attention of a bully, so that they can experience more happiness in their lives. Patients seek cosmetic surgery in order to look as young as they feel, so that they can experience more happiness in their lives. I don’t mean to say that cosmetic surgery can make an unhappy person happy, but in many ways happiness is the real result patients seek. Thus when shaping the nose, rejuvenating the face, contouring the body, and enhancing the breasts, I never forget that a quality result is only part of the process. Attention must be paid to generating patient’s happiness. Seeking patient happiness stems from the following:
- Having an empathetic understanding of the manner in which the patient experiences the aesthetic problem.
- Developing a patient empowerment rapport enhanced through genuine education.
- Creating the connection-rich and trust-laden doctor-patient relationship.
- Adhering to a commitment to quality results.
- Truly recognizing patient happiness as the ultimate goal.
The Product of Education, Experience, and Raw Desire
Quality results in cosmetic surgery stem from a myriad of factors. Chief among them are naturalness of final appearance, durability of transformation, profundity (yet subtlety) of the change, and safety of execution. That is to say that a quality cosmetic surgery result is one that creates an appearance that has minimal evidence of the surgical process creates a meaningful and enduring change without being obvious and without causing the patient harm or subjecting the patient to undue risks. The foundation of the quality result is the nature of the education of the surgeon and his/her experience since training and most importantly his or her sheer desire to provide quality results. One guiding principle in the delivery of quality results is the adherence to sound scientific principles. The plastic surgery literature is awash with numerous findings, precepts, and dictums that guide sound surgical practice. Knowledge of these and integration of them into practice facilitated yielding solid quality results in a predictable fashion.
The Focus is the Patient
In my opinion Luxury as it relates to cosmetic surgery is derived from creating an environment that is not merely comfortable but is actually pleasurable. Pleasure, enjoyment comes from knowing that you are understood. Each patient, each cosmetic problem, and each solution is unique. Thus, for every patient to enjoy their experience, they must be understood.
In my practice significant time is spent developing a relationship with the patient. When I speak of a relationship I mean a direct relationship between myself and the patient. I do not rely on so-called consultants or nurses for the initial face-to-face interaction. When a patient comes to see me, the consultation ultimately is with me. I meet with every patient for an extensive period of time, as long as it takes for me to understand the cosmetic problem at hand and the patient’s feelings and desires associated with it.
An extensive face-to-face interaction between the patient and me on the first encounter sets the tone for the on-going connection-rich experience that unfolds for the patient during the course of their treatment with me. I truly desire the development of a deep relationship steeped in mutual understanding, trust, goodwill, concern, and appreciation with all of my patients. In as relationship characterized by those traits that I can truly delivery what it is I discover that the patient is looking for. That type of a connection-rich relationship truly speaks to the heart, and the heart drives me to excel in providing what the patient needs.
A deeper and stronger connection between me and the patient allows me to develop a surgical plan that is designed specifically for that unique patient. Furthermore, the true connection compels me to carry out the surgical plan with the precision and exactitude required to deliver the quality results that every patient desires and more importantly deserves. Thus, in my practice true luxury is derived from absolute customization of one’s plan and the steadfast meticulousness in its execution. This is true for the first consultation, the day of surgery, and subsequent follow-up encounters. Luxury is a perception of the experiences being designed solely around you – I strive to make that perception a reality. I believe you will find this to be true.
Great Results, an Enduring Annuity
Value exists at the intersection of quality and price. That is to say that generally lower quality at a lower price may offer equal value as higher quality at an increased price. However, the paradigm is utterly different in the realm of cosmetic surgery. In my opinion when considering cosmetic surgery value relates to the quality much more so than it relates to price. The focus should always be on the quality of the result. Price is important but secondary to the quality of the result and the quality of the experience.
High quality results are more costly to deliver than the alternative, low quality results. More time is spent during the pre-operative planning or the surgery and consulting with the patient. There is more time spent in the operating room creating the result. And there is more time spent after the surgery guiding the patient through the recovery. These things result in higher costs but also ultimately contribute to increased quality and thus increased value. Quality often costs more. These principals are seen in the luxury car, travel, handbag, and housing industry. In my opinion, the same can be said of cosmetic surgery. Again, when considering value in cosmetic surgery focus on quality, not price. Price is momentary. Quality is enduring.
Woven in my Essence
I grew up in the suburban Washington, D.C., on the Maryland side. I became interested in plastic surgery at a very early age (12 years old). At that time I saw a documentary television program that chronicled an ear reconstruction for a high school girl who was born without ears. I was struck by the powerful impact her surgery played in her life in terms of providing her with an increased level of confidence in dealing with her peers and an increased level of happiness overall. I knew at that very early age of twelve that I wanted to be able to participate in the delivery of life experiences, through the practice of plastic surgery, that have a profound transformational quality.
Beyond the Standard
I attended Swarthmore College outside of Philadelphia, PA, which at the time was and at the present is considered one of the best small colleges in America. Due to my interest in Plastic Surgery and a strong tradition of Plastic Surgery advances and education in Houston, I decided to go to Baylor College of Medicine. I stayed in Houston at Baylor for my plastic surgery residency in order to take advantage of the immense training opportunities that existed there and at the world famous Texas Medical Center.
I developed a strong interest in cosmetic surgery and decided to pursue additional training in that area in the form of two cosmetic surgery fellowships. Thus, I spent one additional year after the required and customary residency plastic surgery program to have specialized, focused, and highly sought after training with several of the world’s authorities in cosmetic surgery including Bahman Guyron, MD, Mark Codner, MD, Foad Nahai, MD, Rod Hester, MD, and Sonny McCord, MD. The focus of this additional training was rhinoplasty, facial rejuvenation surgery, oculoplastic surgery, and cosmetic surgery of the breast and body. I chose to do this for the sole purpose of delivering the best patient care I would be able to deliver to patients in the realm of cosmetic surgery.
Advanced Cosmetic Surgery
Fundamentally, I exist as a plastic surgeon to deliver the highest quality and most customized cosmetic surgery I can. There are a couple of things you should know about my practice of plastic surgery. As you can tell from other parts of this site I am obsessed with, and committed to, the pursuit of excellence as it relates to cosmetic surgery. I aim to deliver quality results based on sound scientific and artistic principles and knowledge.
Furthermore, it is my conviction that value stems from quality more so than price. I believe this in my heart. With that said, I understand that when people pay for something they seek value. I strive to provide value to my patients by delivering amply on the quality side of the equation. I do not seek to be the least expensive plastic surgeon in town. In fact, in order for me to deliver what I consider to be quality results with which I will be happy and with which I believe my patients will be happy, you will find that my prices will be considered to be at a premium for the local market.
Premium pricing may make my practice inaccessible to a certain segment of the population. I understand that, and I am not daunted by that fact. I do not aim to be the busiest plastic surgeon in town, especially if it requires selling on price alone. I am far more concerned with quality. I aim to spend ample time with each patient in order to deliver experiences and results that increased his/her enjoyment of life. Instead of being the busiest in Austin, I aim to be considered the best by each patient with whom I have the privilege and honor to interact. Spending the time to create the desired experience and the cherished result is what I consider part and parcel of advanced cosmetic surgery.
Natural, Balance, Profound, Refined
I am a plastic surgeon who emphasizes a natural balance of features and proportions in my approach and results. I spend a lot of time with my patients observing their faces or bodies, and often both, depending on the area in which they desire improvement. I seek to truly understand their aesthetic strengths and I search out their aesthetic liabilities. I look for harmonizing relationships among the features of their faces, among the features and proportions that characterize their bodies, and between features of their faces and bodies. I also note where these relationships are not leveraged or maximized in an aesthetic sense due to a flawed feature flaw or unbalanced relationship.
When the flawed feature or unbalanced relationship aligns with the desire for changes as expressed by the patient my interest is piqued. This alignment suggests and predicts a strong potential for therapeutic success (i.e. – happiness). By seeking to naturally correct the flawed feature and/or restore balance to proportions and feature relationships, I aim to provide results that are profound yet refined. Powerful and meaningful impact can be generated from both significant change and from subtle change, depending on what is required. Both degrees of change are profound if they are natural and restore balanced anatomy, relationships between features, and appropriate proportions.
I think it is important for you, the prospective patient, to know that my practice is not exclusive to cosmetic surgery. I am a plastic surgeon who focuses on both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. There is a good reason for this. My involvement in both aspects of plastic surgery makes me a better surgeon in each individual discipline. The experience I gain in both the cosmetic and reconstructive realms have a synergistic effect on my perception of the problem to be solved and my skill set employed to solve it. There is a historical basis for my claims. The majority of cosmetic surgery has its roots in reconstructive surgery and reconstructive surgery continues to be a benefit for the advances seen in the cosmetic arena. On a personal level, my reconstructive efforts are improved by my involvement in cosmetic surgery because of the emphasis on technique and visual results. My experience in reconstructive surgery makes me a better cosmetic surgeon because of the in depth exposure to relevant anatomy and the emphasis on exacting technique.
Elevation of the Art and Science
In many ways I feel the current state of the field of cosmetic surgery as a whole is devoid of passion. There appears to be an over reliance on and a preoccupation with marketing and hype. I have observed this trend with some degree of disdain and fear. I understand the need for promotion and advertising as the field becomes more and more competitive. Furthermore, qualified plastic surgeons find it necessary to distinguish themselves from the less experienced and untrained or under trained practitioners who seek to encroach on the procedures and techniques plastic surgeons have gone to such great lengths to learn, improve, and ultimately perfect.
In my opinion, surgeons who have a cosmetic focus should have a deep passion and respect for human beauty and a true desire to understand the underlying fundamentals and principles of human attraction and attractiveness. Understanding the human mind and how it perceives and experiences beauty and attraction is as important as knowing the complex techniques of surgery we as plastic surgeons implement every day in the operating room.
Coming to understand the true importance and impact beauty and attraction plays in our everyday lives helps one develop an elevated level of respect for a surgical discipline centered on enhancing beauty and attraction. A heightened level of respect is a requisite for conducting oneself in that discipline at a level of true excellence. That is to say, if one has true passion for beauty and a true understanding of the phenomenon of human attraction, his/her work as a cosmetic surgeon serves to elevate the discipline both as an art and a science.
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