Why did you decide to become a doctor? As a child, what profession did you aspire to achieve?
At the age of 13, I decided to become a physician as I followed my father as a role model. My father was an anesthesiologist who worked not only at a large university hospital in Los Angeles as an associate professor of anesthesia, but also as chief of staff at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica in the early 70s. After observing several cases at the age of 13, with my father performing the anesthesia for plastic and reconstructive surgeons, I was intrigued and excited to become a Beverly Hills board certified plastic surgeon. I knew at the age of 13 that this was my calling, and I have not swayed since. All my years of schooling—from high school and college, to UCLA Medical School, and my UCLA residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at St. Francis Memorial Hospital—were swayed immediately to becoming a plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
My first surgery was observing a patient, a young boy, who had a cranial synostosis (a cranial vault reconstruction), at a very young age with a cranial facial plastic surgeon. This was unbelievably exciting to me and gave me the desire with a straight path to my future to become a physician and plastic surgeon. From high school through college, medical school, and residency, I did not take time off. I did not venture to Europe, did not take breaks along the summer, and because my passion was so strong to become a plastic surgeon, I continued straight through all my years of training and fellowship to then become a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Many children have many desires and many likings as to which professions they hope to attain], or they are unclear or undecided until college years or even later. I feel fortunate that at a young age I had the opportunity to see my father as an anesthesiologist who caters to different surgeons, and was able to create the pathway of becoming the Beverly Hills plastic surgeon that I am today.
Despite all the high tech medical advancements, what is one old-school technique you still utilize on a regular basis in your practice?
The most common old-school technique that I utilize in my practice on a regular basis is simply having common sense and judgment. The three things that will get you the farthest in medicine as a physician are having common sense, excellent judgment, and the experience of having performed thousands of surgeries. Having common sense makes sense, but it is not always that obvious. Looking at patients preoperatively; evaluating their blood work, history, and physicals; looking for any type of medical condition problem or ailment that may prevent them from having the surgery that may increase risks or complications, should be obvious. Patients with high blood pressure for example need to be treated by cardiologists, and must be stabilized before having surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding or cardiac problems in the operating room. Patients with diabetes need to be under with their glucose or they could have increased wound problems or wound healing. Patients who have abnormal laboratories need to be evaluated by their internists, immunologist, or rheumatologist in order to be cleared for surgery to rule out any other types of autoimmune diseases or infectious components. Common sense is absolutely essential when running a practice in surgery. Experience is vital in a similar fashion. Performing a similar surgery thousands of times correctly will allow your next patients to have the best possible outcome. Specializing in body sculpting only and not performing facial surgery, I have zoned in on breast augmentation, breast revision lifts, breast reduction, tummy tucks and lipo contouring. Because these are the surgeries I perform weekly, I have been able through my experience to get the best results with the least risks and complications.
Judgment: judgment comes in many forms. We must be able to judge our patients both physiologically and psychologically, as well as judge as to whether they are good candidates for any given surgical procedure. Patients must be mentally stable to have any cosmetic procedure. If a patient is unrealistic or is anti-scar, then a breast lift, breast reduction or tummy tuck could be a surgery where the patient is guaranteed to have an unhappy result. Once again, common sense, experience, and judgment are vital and in my practice as a Beverly Hills board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, in order to develop the best patient care and best surgical results.