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Cosmetic Surgeons as Artists in the Operating Room

Published by Leon Tcheupdjian

From the desk of Dr. Leon Forrester Tcheupdjian, M.D…

My background as an artist is invaluable as a cosmetic surgeon

Professor Michael Esson, who teaches art at both the University of New South Wales and the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom has created an art class exclusively for plastic and cosmetic surgeons in an attempt to provide new perspective on the nuances of the human body from an artist’s perspective.

I can’t stress enough how great of an idea this is and how valuable an art class can be for cosmetic surgeons. Years ago, as young and hungry cosmetic surgeon I saw it as my duty to take art classes, including sculpting, painting and photography. When you take a step back and look at the human body in its purest element you can really learn a lot about the movement of the human body, the anatomy, how the human body interacts with clothing and the elements of nature.

That’s not to say that an artist simply can take a few classes, step into the operating room and perform a perfect liposuction, breast augmentation, tummy tuck or any other cosmetic surgery. That’s impossible. However, when a trained cosmetic surgeon steps out of the OR and into the studio it allows him to see the body in a completely different and exciting medium.

It allows that surgeon to experiment with the body. What works and what doesn’t. A recent BBC report on Professor Esson’s class details an assignment he gives in the class to paint self portraits, with the caveat being that the artist/surgeon must break the face up into four different quadrants and create four separate paintings, only merging them all together at the completion of all four paintings.

The perspective of the cosmetic surgery patient should always be considered

Putting a cosmetic surgeon through this exercise, in my mind, is genius because it forces the artist to see the human face as a figure built up of several smaller parts, while at the same time keeping the entire face in mind for the final result. Faces, especially those aged with wrinkles and loose skin, are never symmetrical. When I treat a face, more specifically the nasal labial folds for instance, I know the left one might need a little more treatment than the right, or vice versa. Trying to accomplish complete symmetry is next-to-impossible. I really need to keep the artistry aspect of the treatment in mind.

Similarly, Esson forces his students to create clay breast reconstructions, but again there’s a caveat. The surgeons must position themselves so they’re looking down on the sculpture, from the perspective of a woman looking down at her own breasts.

That’s an important lesson, as I’ve noticed that the majority of women in my office who receive breast implants do not ask to see their new breasts immediately post surgery in a mirror. Rather, they lift up their garment and look down on their new breasts. It’s the first and most important perspective in a woman’s mind. And it’s a perspective I often take in prior to completing a breast augmenation, breast reduction or breast lift.

As cosmetic surgeons, we’re artists who sculpt the human body

I’ve performed tens of thousands of liposuction procedures, and I can report first hand that an understanding of the human body, and how it can differ from patient to patient, required me to develop that artistic eye as a cosmetic surgeon. And with newer, more intricate liposuction procedures emerging, like the new high def Vaser liposuction, water lipo, tickle lipo and many more, the artistic surgeon’s eye is more important than ever to achieve the desired cosmetic surgery result.

These are just a few examples of how artistry can enter into the equation that makes up the cosmetic procedures we perform daily, but the truth is artistry is importantly with everything we do. You can be the best, most well-trained cosmetic surgeon in the world, but if you don’t have an artistic eye, it’s all for naught. Keep that in mind as you chose your cosmetic surgeon.

-Dr. Leon Forrester Tcheupdjian, M.D.

-Leslie Forrester, R.N.

-Liposuction and Cosmetic Surgery Institute


If you have a question for Dr. Tcheupdjian, you can always contact him by filling out our online form. Click here to fill out the form.

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