Helping facelift patients along their journey has taught me a lot about people and life. In over 20 years of practice, I am reminded time and time again that life is bigger than anything a person may have achieved in terms of success or notoriety. I have had the privilege of treating many interesting and amazing patients, people I never dreamt I would meet. Looking at their lives and their professional achievements, however great, is like seeing dots on a curve. But the whole vast area under the curve is actually what real life is all about and constitutes the real person and the real you. Plastic Surgery is very democratising, I have been privileged to treat everyone from the office worker to the Oscar winner to the Royal. The dots on the curve may differentiate the humblest from the most exalted person but the area under the curve, which is 95% of our lives, is common to all and gives us meaning and purpose. It’s all about the people we knew, our friendships, our family, our loves, and is truly what we all have in common. We all get up in the morning, we do what we have to do as well as we can, and we go to bed at night. But we all have loves, we all have fears, worries, and joys. That is what the journey of life is about and getting through it makes everyone a hero.
What this means for me as a surgeon is that under the veneer of the dots on the curve, all people have greater similarities than differences. It is imperative therefore to treat everyone with equal compassion whoever they are. The journey to undergo surgery makes everyone feel vulnerable. It is easy to understand why because the real person, which is the area under the curve, is easily exposed when the overlying veneer of our achievements evaporates prior to surgery. Understanding this as a surgeon and offering a supportive hand to all the facelift heroes in equal measure has been a huge privilege over the past two decades.