As I approach my 60th year I am more conscious than ever of ageing and the challenges this brings. One principle governs all others; the healthier you are, the younger you look. Healthy does not necessarily mean thin, athletic or without wrinkles. In the last five years, as I reflect on my career in plastic surgery, I have come to the conclusion that ageing attractively is all about staying healthy, happy and grounded.
At a recent conference in Belgium, I heard an excellent lecture by Dr Charles Verheyden of Dallas. He was describing the many and variable stigmata of bad cosmetic facial surgery. Some of them he had created, in the long process of refining his art and craft. His experiences and reflections were a breath of fresh air compared to the self-promoting behaviours of some of his younger colleagues also presenting on the panel.
The most important advice I can give to anyone considering surgery to help them age attractively, is to chose a doctor with an appreciation of art as well as medical science.
In an effort to more precisely evaluate the multiple methods and techniques for restoring youthful contours and appearance, I have recently collaborated with Dr Kumar Mithraratne PhD at Auckland University’s Bioengineering Institute. He is using human anatomical data and MRI scans to build a computer-generated model, with which we hope to be able to simulate with mathematical accuracy the changes of facial morphology caused by ageing. This same model will help predict which method actually fulfills the goal of restoring youthfulness, that is congruent and natural. Contour, volume and facial expression are key factors.
Without doubt, the best techniques are not the most radical nor expensive. The ideal methods of facial rejuvenation stimulate regeneration and continued improvement with time. This was taught to me by Dr Lawrence Ho FRACS, my mentor, now retired in Sydney. He is also collaborating with us behind the scenes.
I use these principles in the pursuit of excellence at my facial surgery clinic in Epsom.
Words: Michael Klaassen