A Few Minutes With Dr. Milind Ambe

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When the subject is building beauty, we call on Dr. Ambe

With television shows like Nip/Tuck and Extreme Makeover plastic surgery seems hotter than ever. We spoke to Dr. Ambe about the science and craft of beauty and how potential patients can have a safe and satisfying procedure.

Plastic surgery seems so much more popular these days. What’s driving that? Part is the aging population. Baby boomers in their 40s and 50s are now seeing themselves as excellent candidates for facial rejuvenation: facelifts, eyelid lifts and neck lifts. Another major motivation is when patients see what they perceive to be a deficiency and want it changed. Breast augmentation is very popular. The number of breast augmentations performed in 2003 tripled the number that were performed in the early ‘90s.

Are there any trends in plastic surgery? Many more patients want a more natural look for their face, breasts and eyes. They are moving away from a “surgical” look.

What’s the difference between plastic and cosmetic surgery? Plastic surgery developed from reconstructive surgery. So think of it as taking something that is not normal-general deformities, breast reconstruction, for example. In cosmetic surgery you are working with something that is normal and looks fine, but improvements are desired.

How can patient’s evaluate their choices in care? It’s an important thing to learn the difference between a plastic surgeon who is truly trained in plastic surgery as opposed to someone who is just calling themselves a cosmetic surgeon. The key is that they are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, which ensures the physician’s level of training and standard of care.

Why is that important? I’m a member of the board, and one of our big educational campaigns is to make sure that the public not only knows what procedures are available to them, but that patient’s know to find someone specifically trained to perform the desired surgery. Potential patient’s need to do a careful job of educating themselves. It takes diligence to make sure their surgeon is appropriately qualified.

You’re really sculpting beauty. Can you study for that? After completing my training in plastic surgery, I went on to complete additional training in aesthetic plastic surgery. We study faces of beautiful people to learn what makes a face aesthetically pleasing, what the dimensions are, and the symmetry. You pick up some tricks in sculpting class, but the other part is an intangible artistic skill that a surgeon has to have-and not all surgeons do.

It seems like an art form as much as a science. There is a lot of artistry and attention to detail that is essential for creating good results. I was trained a concert pianist. I studied for about 16 years and was actively pursuing a career in music. It made sense to pursue a career that combined science with art. Being able to see things three dimensionally, to create while being exact in what you create-some of those abilities can be developed through training. But, I think that some are innate.

I hear congratulations are in order. You and your wife have a new addition. Yes, Jayden Laine was born on December 6, 2003.