MUDr. Jurajem Gajdošem a MUDr. Alim Amirim
BLINDLY FOLLOWING TRENDS IS A PATH TO HELL
In today’s world filled with illusions of perfect people leading perfect lives, it can sometimes be challenging to distinguish reality from mere ideals. Social media has become both a blessing and a curse in this regard. What benefits can we gain from it, and what harm does it bring us? Where will beauty standards head in the future? And what impact do social media have on aesthetic medicine? We discuss all of this with experts from Prague Aesthetic Clinic, Juraj Gajdos and Ali Amiri.
Do you feel that aesthetic medicine has progressed since you began practicing it? What are the latest methods?
AA: Everything is constantly changing. It’s one of the fields that continue to grow due to increasing interest. New methods that are gentler on patients are being explored, surgeries allow for much faster recovery, and, most importantly, better results are achieved. Fifteen years ago, patients couldn’t even walk after surgery, but everything has improved over time. Additionally, we’re pushed forward by companies striving to develop better sutures, machines, and so on.
JG: Every medical field is constantly evolving, primarily by following fashion trends, lifestyle trends, trends on social media, and moving in that direction. A few years ago, prominent trends included pronounced cheekbones, large lips, or a sharply defined jawline. Later, it reached a point where it was too much. Personally, I feel that plastic medicine has recently been leaning more towards a natural look.
What if a surgery doesn’t go well? Can it be reversed?
AA: If a surgery doesn’t go well, which is an unfortunate event, there can be many reasons for it. It could be genetics, oversight in preliminary examinations, or if the patient had previous surgeries, their muscles might not react as expected. In the case where a client is dissatisfied with the results, there can be corrections made. Fortunately, we have never done anything that couldn’t be fixed. It’s because we aim to gather enough information before the procedure to be 100% certain about the outcome. Of course, it also depends on whether the patient follows our recommendations and gives themselves enough time to heal after the surgery before becoming active again, for example, in sports.
GRADUATED IN GENERAL MEDICINE FROM CHARLES UNIVERSITY AND LATER OBTAINED CERTIFICATION IN THE FIELD OF DERMATOVENEREOLOGY. DURING HIS PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE, HE WORKED AT BULOVKA UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL BETWEEN 2007 AND 2012, AND IN 2014, HE BECAME THE FOUNDER OF PRAGUE AESTHETIC CLINIC. HE IS AN EXPERT IN SKIN CARE, DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN SKIN MOLES AND MELANOMAS, AESTHETIC AND CORRECTIVE DERMATOLOGY, AND THE DIAGNOSIS OF SKIN DISEASES.
JG: First and foremost, the pre-surgery consultation is essential. I am quite proud that the rate of unsuccessful procedures with me is minimal, but anything is possible. It can happen due to either my mistake or a post-operative error by the patient that something doesn’t go as planned. It can still be corrected, but it requires the patient’s cooperation and trust in the physician.
AT THE SAME TIME, WE ARE PUSHED FORWARD BY COMPANIES THAT ARE TRYING TO DEVELOP BETTER STITCHING, MACHINES, AND SO ON
IN 2012, HE COMPLETED HIS STUDIES IN GENERAL MEDICINE AT LF UPJŠ WITH A RED DIPLOMA AND AFTER AN ADDITIONAL SIX YEARS, HE OBTAINED AN MBA DEGREE. SINCE 2017, HE HAS BEEN A SPECIALIST IN THE FIELD OF PLASTIC SURGERY WITH A FOCUS ON HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT. HE WORKS AT THE BURNS CLINIC AT KOŠICE HOSPITAL, ENVY CLINIC, AND PRAGUE AESTHETIC CLINIC. HE HAS ALSO UNDERGONE SPECIALIZED INTERNSHIPS FOCUSED ON AESTHETIC, PLASTIC, RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY, AND MICROSURGERY.
How big of a role does psychology play? Can a person develop an addiction to surgeries?
AA: Addiction can be developed to anything. If a person is not sufficiently self-aware and has unrealistic expectations, they might start looking for problems somewhere other than reality. That’s why our field has what we call patient selection, where a doctor needs to understand a patient’s expectations and whether their procedure will meet those expectations or if the patient is at a stage where nothing satisfies them, and it’s better not to operate at all.
JG: Yes, but I think this aspect is already quite well-researched. The power of social media and their promotion of perfect people and their lives can often lead to psychological issues, depressive states, and unrealistic demands on our appearance. It’s important for everyone to understand that people are different and don’t have the same anatomical foundation. With each patient, we can achieve different results.
Have you ever had to refuse a patient?
AA: Of course. I’m quite radical about this, and over the years, since we’ve had the clinic, I’ve built up a certain intuition that something might not work out. I’ve learned to listen to this inner voice because, in my experience, it’s usually right.
JG: Certainly, yes. It doesn’t happen often. I have to admit that thanks to the internet, patients usually have done their research and know what they want when they come to me. They already know what to expect and have a sense of what’s realistic and what’s not. But if my idea of the outcome significantly differs from the client’s, or if the surgery isn’t technically feasible, it’s clear to me that it’s a stop.
What should a client prepare for when coming to you?
AA: The process at our clinic typically involves the client sending an inquiry. We then request information about their medical condition and sometimes photos to understand what procedure would make sense. Subsequently, we have a consultation where the details are discussed. Occasionally, clients come to the clinic with completely different expectations from what is actually necessary. Only when we agree, and the preliminary examination goes well, will the actual procedure take place. The patient continues to come in for check-ups for a few weeks or days to ensure everything is in order.
JG: The foundation of each meeting is to establish a relationship with the patient. It’s not just about the patient trusting me, but also about me knowing that the client will cooperate so that I can trust them too. It’s essential to thoroughly explain to the patient what they can expect and what results we are discussing. As a doctor, it’s crucial for me to know that they understand everything and can take care of themselves in the postoperative period.
In our society dominated by social media, ideals of how a person should look are constantly changing, and we can never meet all of them. What should we prepare for in the future?
AA: Pressure is being exerted on our teenagers and not only on them, both through social media and pop culture. Instagram, Facebook, Netflix, Hollywood… all these platforms give rise to people who become icons for their appearance. They influence millions of people solely with their looks, and that’s not healthy. It’s then up to us as parents to try to raise a generation that knows how to love themselves and can understand that we are all unique. We don’t all have to look the same to be perfect. Teachers and mentors should also play a role in building the self-esteem of these young people and showing them that blindly following trends is not the path they should take in life. We need to learn not to listen to every influencer who creates their own unrealistic image on social media and promotes it to us as reality. So, aesthetic medicine mainly focuses on improving flaws, not on completely changing or distorting one’s face.
JG: It’s hard to focus on one ideal. Everyone likes something a little different, and individualization is necessary, but we’ll still be following a direction set by society. Personally, I think that concerning trends, they will become increasingly subtle and more natural. For example, huge breasts used to be favored in the past, but now it’s more about a slim and athletic physique. As for trends in procedures themselves, minimally invasive procedures are becoming very popular. People are continually searching for devices that can achieve the desired effects with minimal intervention. Unfortunately, there are very few such devices so far, and their effectiveness is limited.
Do social media make aesthetic procedures more popular?
AA: Certainly. This is an issue that should receive much more attention because we’re heading toward a problem. The more we see something around us, the more we think about it, and we’re more likely to turn to something like that. However, not everyone fully understands all the circumstances, as the curtain of social media doesn’t always allow for a direct view and a full understanding of all aspects. This affects all viewers, often predominantly teenagers who are searching for themselves and are easily influenced. The doctor’s approach matters as well. When our profession becomes primarily a business, then medicine as a whole will end. Our society needs more people who promote a natural appearance and the miracle of our existence, showing that we are all unique and that aging can be beautiful. Yes, we need to take care of ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we should fight against every natural thing happening in our bodies.
JG: In my opinion, it’s a combination of reasons because plastic surgery started gaining momentum slightly earlier than social media came into existence. However, due to the speed at which the ideal, not just for the perfect body but also for lifestyle, beauty, wealth, and so on, is spreading on social media, everyone suddenly wants to be equally perfect. But often on the internet, we see cases where the results of surgeries are not even real, and it’s clear that the photos themselves have been modified in some way.
Do you encounter prejudices against plastic surgeons often?
AA: It happens when people don’t have enough information. Prejudices can exist against anything – race, religion, profession, origin. If someone has a prejudice and wants to discuss it, I’m happy to have a conversation and possibly change their opinion. However, if they have no interest in changing their view, there’s unfortunately nothing I can do about it. I myself have encountered many prejudices, even from patients who rejected me as a doctor solely due to my origin. With such people, I’ve learned not to debate over the years because it’s not worth it.
JG: When a plastic surgeon works in a hospital environment, they are often regarded by colleagues as someone who doesn’t care about the health of patients in medicine. Plastic surgery is about how the patient perceives themselves. We can also call it “surgery of the psyche” because we often help the client from a psychological perspective. However, yes, I have also encountered situations where both the professional and non-professional community has condemned plastic surgery, in the sense that it doesn’t provide adequate healthcare. This is mainly because plastic surgery is perceived somewhat incorrectly due to a lack of information in the public.
How exactly do your fields of expertise differ in terms of education?
AA: I am a dermatovenereologist, my field of expertise is skin, dermatological diseases, and venereal diseases, and I also perform aesthetic procedures. I am a trainer in these areas now. What Mr. Gajdoš does is entirely outside my field. Unlike him, I use only local anesthesia, while he also works with general anesthesia. I studied his field, but I don’t perform surgeries.
JG : The difference between a plastic surgeon and a dermatologist is vast in terms of the focus of our respective fields. Both of us have the same basic medical education in general medicine, and then our fields diverge, and we become specialists in something else. The only place where these two disciplines meet is in aesthetic medicine, specifically in the application of botulinum toxin, treatments with devices, and so on.
What would you recommend regarding skincare and overall appearance?
AA: One thing is the health of the skin. I always say that the skin is not just a covering for the body, as it is a living organ. We should perceive it as such and take care of it accordingly. Many diseases manifest first on the skin, so with regular check-ups with a doctor once or twice a year, we can prevent more significant problems. We should protect our skin from the sun, keep it clean, and hydrate it regularly.
JG : When we talk about surgeries on the body, not the face, there are some rules that need to be followed. For me, the most important thing is to exercise and maintain a healthy diet. It’s not good to constantly fluctuate in weight because it can damage the skin with stretch marks, and it won’t naturally tighten back up. If you want to avoid surgery, I recommend being physically active and leading a healthy lifestyle.