After 7 years of aesthetic blogging, I have decided to bring you some vintage blogs I have written over the years. These “vintage blogs” will include some of my favourites and where start but with the first blog I ever wrote, back in July 2008 with the above heading.
I am very fond of this informative but personal blog (it originally came in two parts as it is very long, but here you can read it in it’s wonderful entirety, do be patient and read it all!!) and it describes what aesthetic medicine exactly is. Reading it again today, many things have changed since those long 6 and a half years ago, but it is wonderful to see just how many things have not changed at all…
So what is aesthetic medicine? Well, it is the newest and the fastest changing field of modern medicine and it is quite literally the younger brother of the well established plastic surgery. I saw an interview recently with Britain’s number one tennis player Andy Murray, and in the interview he describes how form a very early age he had a fierce tennis rivalry with his older brother Jamie, but by the time he turned 14 he became better and started beating his older sibling regularly. Well in my opinion, aesthetic medicine is just turning 14!
So what is the difference between my passion of aesthetic medicine and that of plastic surgery? It is a question I get asked by my patients every day and there are many ways to answer it. Simply, aesthetic medicine is the minimally invasive alternative to plastic surgery. Plastic surgery uses the scalpel as it’s main tool, in aesthetic medicine we use small needles, cannulas, peels and lasers. For the Star Trek fans out there, you will remember Dr Mckoy performing surgery, curing ailments and even in one episode reversing the aging process with what looked like a hand held laser. As futuristic as this sounds, that future is already here and I am very sure that the scalpel will soon become very underused and will indeed become a museum relic in not too distant future. We all want less pain, less scarring and smaller risks, and now in many fields of modern medicine, the technology and new modern techniques make minimally invasive procedures a very palatable meal on many people’s menus.
Plastic surgery gives often brilliant but permanent results, the downside being that it involves general anaesthetic and scarring amongst other things. It is important to stress here that plastic surgery is a wonderful field of medicine which was my first love, and many procedures performed will probably never be replaced by aesthetic medicine, rhinoplasty (nose operation) being a very good example. Then again who knows, I am remodelling noses with Perlane every week! Only one year ago I told a patient that breast enlargements may one day become a non-surgical procedure, and now that procedure is already here! This accelerating field of aesthetic medicine is a more natural alternative to plastic surgery for many conditions and it’s main asset is that the treatments are non-permanent. It is this non-permanence which has brought aesthetics to the masses and which has normalised the process. People have realised that there is now a very safe and painless alternative to rejuvenation of the face and body, and because it is non-permanent the fear factor has been taken out. Many of our patients tell us that they would have never considered plastic surgery, and yet aesthetic treatments such as botox and fillers are very acceptable to them.
So where did aesthetic medicine start? Well for this we can look to the discovery of botox and like many of the greatest medical discoveries such as the discovery of penicillin, this was an accidental finding! Since the early 1970s botox was used for the treatment of many medical conditions including squints and blepharospasm (involuntary twitching of the eyes). In 1987 a Canadian ophthalmologist, Dr Jean Carruthers was treating blepharospasm in her patients with botox, and to her amazement she noticed that as a side effect there was a reduction of wrinkles around the eyes! With the help of her husband, who is a consultant Dermatologist, they devised clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of this potential aesthetic treatment and hence aesthetic medicine was born!
To explain my ingrained passion for aesthetic medicine, I briefly have to tell you about my past.
I was born in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. My father, Professor Bosko Milojevic was one of the finest plastic surgeons of his time and was the first doctor to open a private clinic of any kind in that part of Europe. Quite an amazing feat in what was then Socialist Yugoslavia! He was a great man and a brilliant and hugely ambitious surgeon, widely acclaimed to be the best rhinoplasty surgeon of his time. He operated on many of the world’s biggest celebrities and world leaders, all of whom would travel to his clinic in Zagreb, often to combine their operations with a holiday on the beautiful Croatian coast and islands.
Ah Croatia, the wonderful country of my birth! You will have to forgive me, for at this point I have to digress, I just can’t help it! Having moved to this country as a young boy in 1982, England has grown very close to my heart and I support it wholeheartedly through it’s many achievements in fields such as sports and science. However you crack me open and inside you will only see red and white cheques and in fact you don’t even have to do that, for I wear my Croatian heart very firmly on my sleeve. And at the time of writing this blog, your writer is a very happy man because Croatia have just beaten Germany 2-1 at Euro 2008. A magnificent performance, perfect football and I must say aesthetically very pleasing to the eye!
From a very young age, my father’s passion for aesthetics was ever present in my life. I saw my first rhinoplasty aged 2 in my mother’s arms. At 6 – 10 years of age I remember that family conversations around the breakfast table were just as likely to be about plastic surgery, as they were about my homework or my favourite football team Dinamo Zagreb’s latest exploits! My father’s brilliance and passion were so infectious, and from a very early age I fell madly in love with aesthetics.
I studied medicine at The Royal Free School of Medicine in Hampstead, London starting in 1990, and my main aim from day one was to become a plastic surgeon. In 1992, my father suddenly died of a heart attack while playing tennis (the way he would have liked to go), and my life was turned upside down. Not only did I tragically lose my amazing father, but I also lost my role model and mentor.
In the mid to late 1990s during my surgical training, a new ace in the pack of aesthetics started emerging. With a keen interest and great excitement I read about the emergence of these new minimally invasive injectable aesthetic treatments, the leader being botox. At the turn of the century and at the end of my training, I entered this amazing new field and have never looked back. It seemed like a very natural progression for me, as very early on I realised that this was the future of plastic surgery. My father would have been so proud!
So what about the PRESENT? Aesthetic medicine has seen an unpresedented boom in the last few years and despite the depressing credit crunch, this boom appears to be continuing. Why? The UK population is living longer, living faster and feeling younger, and hence the appetite for rejuvenation is ever growing. The treatments are quick, painless and non-permanent, and with no potential for long term side effects. These treatments have become a very acceptable part of our lives, and many people find them just as normal as going to their dentist or hairdresser, and quite rightly so! These non-surgical aesthetic procedures start from as little as £200 per treatment, and even though this is a lot of money, this is much cheaper than the expensive creams and regular facials, and with better rejuvenating results.
The PRESENT and FUTURE of aesthetic medicine are merging in front of our very eyes, with the very recent addition of the non-surgical lower eye bag treatments, and non-surgical breast enlargements. I am so excited about these very effective and brilliant procedures and have already incorporated them into my aesthetic armoury with great enthusiasm.
So what about the FUTURE? There are many exciting new techniques in the pipeline, many new advances in botox techniques, new dermal fillers (soon we will be able to use fillers for penile enhancements!) and the greatest advance I feel will be seen in the improvement and perfection of various lasers which already exist now. The current lasers, which are used for various things including facial rejuvenation, skin tightening, hair removal and laser lipolysis have some good results but are not perfect. The opinions of many doctors with regards to many of these machines change from day to day, and what may be the big star in the team one day, many clinics relegate to the bench the next. Me? I am closely waiting and watching all the various technologies evolving, a lot of them from Israel, and just waiting for the biggest star. Diego Maradona perhaps?
As a final thought for this blog, I want to quote what my sister said to me the other day : What is the point of trying to make us all look much younger when we will inevitably age inside? What a great question and I have a great answer! Ongoing research into stem cells and growth hormones is so advanced, that many experts are claiming with great certainty that in the FUTURE of aesthetic medicine, not only will we look younger, but we will also be able to live very long and healthy lives, with estimates ranging from 100-120 years of age being the average life expectancy during our lifetimes. So there is hope for us all and we may yet live to witness a British Wimbledon champion!