Understanding the Role of Artistry in Cosmetic Surgery and Enhancement

Pablo Picasso Studio

One of the greatest compliments that I received was from an Italian plastic surgeon who flew from Italy trusting me to work on his wife’s face, which I performed in front of him.  I undertook a fat transfer on her face to make her look more youthful and attractive.  He said to me that U.S. plastic surgeons are very good technicians but very bad artists; whereas Italian plastic surgeons are very good artists but poor technicians.  I would have to agree with him in many respects.  When I see the work of many of my colleagues at meetings I would say technically it looks very good but aesthetically it looks dreadful.  An example is a brow that is elevated upward to a near perfect position but in fact it just looks ugly, fake, and silly.  In fact, that week he trained with another plastic surgeon from UT Southwestern at a course and remarked that his fat grafting was a 30 second procedure of putting some fat quickly into the cheek with a large cannula.  This lacked any sculpting, taste, or design work that would have otherwise led to a favorable, balanced facial rejuvenation.  When one is a good artist but cannot reproduce that work with technical competence then the effort becomes a hit or miss proposition.  When one is technically competent but is not artistic, the results can look unattractive or unnatural.  When the two are combined, i.e., artistry and technical competence, then one can have an amazing result.

Samuel M. Lam, MD, FACS is a board certified plastic surgeon in Dallas, Texas. For more info about Dr Lam’s fat transfer procedures, or to schedule a consultation please call 972.312.8188. If you would like to ask Dr Lam a question please visit our plastic surgery forum.