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The Power of Beauty

Wisdom is the sum of the past, but beauty is the promise of the future. -Shakespear


There is an ancestral need for beauty in mankind. Signs for this quest go back to prehistoric times: tattoo's, rings through the ears and nose, the wrapping of Oriental women's feet; many other tribal and cultural customs were for the purpose of enhancing beauty. More contemporary and sophisticated methods are obvious . hair dying, cosmetics and make-up techniques, as well as the use of physical adornments such as jewelry, earrings, clothing and hair styles in thousands of forms. All of these are for the single purpose of improving the appearance of creating beauty.

"Why," we say. Improved self-image through improved appearance has proven to people over the centuries to be a means of 1) better realizing ourselves as human beings, 2) influencing other individuals, 3) communicating better in our lives and, finally 4) a means to gain power, if you will, and to obtain things. This urgent need threads its way through history as a mechanism for man to increase his level of acceptance. In other words, feeling good about ourselves and our appearance assists our goal for optimum wellness and survival.

A more attractive and beautiful individual always appears to have a better chance to ascend the social scale; to improve in his or her own fields of endeavor and perhaps more desirable, to reach new emotional and sentimental heights. Every man and woman searches for absolute truth through many pathways. However, beauty is almost always found in any of these as a constant, and therefore, as an important infrasctructure for the personal growth of the individual.

In this search, man sometimes lives mechanically as a machine with a set routine or he aspires to be human with complex inspirations for living. In either case, beauty and attractiveness are efficient means to help select the most appropriate option. This ability to exert options is evident in our selection of clothes, accessories, hairdos, cosmetics and jewels.

When none of these produce adequate satisfaction we may turn to a more transcendental solution in the hands of the aesthetic plastic surgeon. This, then, often becomes another manifestation for the search for a balance that will create the capacity to experience life to its fullest extent.

Aesthetic plastic surgery is the surgery of harmony, good taste and the beautiful attitude. The surgeon first trains his hands in the practice of general surgery. He then must further refine his talents and techniques as a plastic surgeon in order to combine his artistic with his scientific judgement. In this way, he evaluates the tissues' capacity to resist the surgical action of being "sculptured." But, the aesthetic feeling can only be acquired with intense acts of seeing, hearing, feeling and studying. This is why plastic surgery is the surgery experience, wisdom and personal realization.

Aesthetic plastic surgery is also art. It searches for a way to feel, to create or recreate forms that will inspire the innermost vibrations of the soul or what which we may ultimately call happiness.

Aesthetic plastic surgery requires a knowledge of life, man, art and the intimate study of how these elements intensely interrelate in our everyday living.

It is important that all plastic surgeons be able to judge each patient as an individual. If a patient is trying to regain beauty, it is necessary to know what beauty represents for that individual. To understand the patient's emotional needs, the aesthetic surgeons needs to spend a great deal of time focusing on psychological communications, evaluations, considerations and communications. It is only by such means that the plastic surgeon shall be able to understand their patients and the complexities or simplicities of their desires. On then can they determine whether the candidate is suitable for the emotionally charged alterations from aesthetic surgery. It is therefore by such means that the plastic surgeon shall be able to integrate into his surgery all of the critical factors that flow from art, science and philosophy.

This search for beauty is not restricted to Southern California or even the United States. It is easy to observe that this need exists for all mankind and throughout all cultures. Many plastic surgeons have developed their reconstructive and aesthetic talents throughout the world in various voluntary programs such as Project Hope, Interplast, Care Medico, Project Concern and at many independent missionary hospitals such as the Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti.

Communication creates understanding. The goal, therefore, is to share these thoughts with patients prior to their consultations. Hopefully they can help us as surgeons to understand each other and thereby create a mutually satisfying aesthetic, as well as surgical experience for both of us.


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