10. I love living downtown. I walk a lot more, meet a lot more people than when I lived in the suburbs. Not everyone needs to live downtown, but maybe everyone should visit downtown Indianapolis once in a while.
9. I do not do those operations at which I do not excel. Rhinoplasty, hand surgery, hair transplant surgery. There are plenty of surgeons who excel at these things. I can help you to get to them. Major body contouring after weight loss, breast augmentation and breast lift, abdominoplasty, I excel at.
8. I laugh and I cry. The older I have gotten, the more I have learned to take emotions in fully, to own them, then to wait for calm. None of us needs a cold, distant doctor.
7. I am ambidextrous with an emphasis on dexterous. To have good hands is actually not a requirement to be a good plastic surgeon, but it certainly helps.
6. I am inclusive. It is no longer quite the thrill to go into the operating room. It is always a thrill to wonder who I will meet in my office the next week. My transgender patients taught me to hold off on judgement until I have heard the whole story, then hold off on judgement indefinitely. My bariatric patients showed me that I must do to get and stay healthy. They are winners. My young augmentation patients taught me the importance of feeling normal in one’s own skin.
5. I get it. The modern attitude is about maintenance and health. We are more interested in our diets, in food additives, the right exercise than ever before. Likewise, with plastic surgery, waiting until I need a large operation is not as good as doing small maintenance, or corrective things all along. Even though I am expert at some of the biggest plastic surgery procedures, it does not mean I will recommend something like that if there is hope that less will do. I call it, “tweak, not shriek”.
4. I learned to talk at a very early age, but it has taken me a lot of my adult life to learn to listen. I now believe that the correct ratio of speaking to listening is less than one.
3. I am now an artist. After 15 years of metal working lessons and 7 years of drawing classes, I see my patients in a different, more holistic light. As an artist, I use my improved perception to help my patients. I believe this so much that I now provide the residents in plastic surgery at Indiana University drawing and sculpture lessons through the Indianapolis Art Center.
2. I like plastic surgery and I love my patients. Television and the internet are the devices which create “attention deficit”. My patients are real people who bring fears, hopes, misconceptions, judgements, and joys to my office regularly. I was taught in medical school, and continue to believe that if I listen to my patients long enough, then the diagnosis and treatment are easier to get right, and much more satisfying to them.
1. I have been at plastic surgery for 28 years. I’ve seen fads come and go. I have thrilled at what we thought was a flash in the pan and it turned out to be the Mother-Lode. Thank you, Sydney Coleman, for persevering in fat grafting research until the rest of us skeptics could no longer deny. Thank you, Ted Lockwood, for pioneering bariatric plastic surgery. I am the best at what I’ve done the most of. And I’ve done a lot of this. If God wills, then I’ll do some more with joy.