Plastic Surgery – Science or Art?
Plastic surgery is an incredibly meticulous and precise field of medicine, but the plastic and reconstructive surgeons at “Gijos Klinikos,” Mantas Sakalauskas, Giedrius Stankevičius, and Karolis Černauskis, state that while there are gold standards, there is also an element of creativity within plastic surgery.
Which aspect is more prominent in plastic surgery – science or art?
Mantas: There is definitely a fair amount of creativity in plastic surgery, but I would say that the scientific aspect is greater. It is a medical field, and surgery involves interventions in the human body. Over the years, certain canons and techniques have been established in plastic surgery that must be adhered to in order to not compromise the patient’s health. Before embarking on aesthetic improvements to a patient’s body lines, a surgeon must clearly evaluate the patient’s health and anatomical characteristics.
Giedrius: I believe it all begins with science. Without knowledge, achieving professional results would be rare. Of course, after accumulating enough experience in certain operations, we can introduce a bit of creativity. This helps us discover new methodologies. Sharing personal experience is the driving force for improving surgical standards and ensuring progress. We are not just creators of beauty. I think that what is beautiful has already been created by nature and its laws. Plastic surgery interventions are only possible to help preserve that beauty for as long as possible.
Karolis: In a way, there is definitely some artistry here. Plastic surgery requires a sense of aesthetics and creativity, but it is also closely tied to science, methodologies, and innovations. Before each surgery, it’s possible to take necessary measurements, but without an understanding of proportions and an aesthetic sense, a good result won’t be achieved. I would say it’s a field where numerous elements intersect, including science and art.
Do you always adhere to “gold standards” when performing surgeries?
Giedrius: Standards are guidelines that we follow in our work, as we are not completely independent creators. However, if we were to only follow them, our work would be formulaic, and the results might appear unnatural. I believe it’s necessary to look at each individual case separately. Everyone has a unique beauty, and to achieve the most satisfying result, we must adapt standards and methodologies to the specific situation and needs.
Karolis: Gold standards do not apply to all patients without exception – what’s beautiful to one might be completely unacceptable to another. This field requires close collaboration between the patient and the surgeon. During consultations, I try to listen to the patient’s individual desires and answer their questions. Then, through mutual agreement, we decide on the desired outcome. I follow a plan that’s been agreed upon with the patient, not just widely-accepted standards.
Mantas: Personally, I don’t shy away from deviating from so-called gold standards to achieve a harmonious overall picture. When designing the future result, one usually needs to assess the entirety, the overall proportions, so that not only the corrected area looks nice but the overall appearance is pleasing to the eye.
Have you encountered unrealistic patient expectations? How do you handle them?
Mantas: It’s rare, but it does happen. In such cases, I have to show patients as many examples as possible and patiently explain based on those examples what changes can realistically be expected in their specific case. Sometimes I suggest that the patient takes a break, considers it, and then we meet again later. Usually, we can reach a compromise.
Giedrius: I have encountered various patient expectations, but years of experience have taught me how to respond appropriately in different situations. Sometimes a conversation with a patient requires a lot of time to logically explain why, in our evaluation, their expectations are unrealistic or why the final result might still not meet their expectations. In such cases, using illustrations or computer programs to show the patient that implementing their desired changes might not actually suit their face or body can be helpful. Dialog with the patient is a crucial part of our work to achieve a flawless result.
Karolis: I’ve encountered, let’s say, unusual situations where a patient comes in with a very specific desire and is already determined about a particular surgery that, in my understanding, considering the overall situation and seeking a good result, requires a different approach. A common agreement can only be reached through discussion when both parties are willing to cooperate.
How do plastic surgeries today differ from those a decade ago?
Giedrius: Technologies are constantly evolving, and innovations help us discover minimally invasive methods. Nowadays, the goal is to reduce the postoperative recovery period, helping the patient to recover faster. Of course, trends also change. Earlier, it was important for the results to be obvious, whereas now the priority is to achieve a more natural change. The focus is often on restoring the body’s proportions or maintaining the allure of youth rather than making drastic changes.
Mantas: I think the most significant change is the attitude towards plastic surgeries. It’s no longer a taboo. Patients are no longer afraid to openly admit that they’ve had a plastic surgery, which I believe is commendable because everyone has the right to a change that boosts their confidence and positive emotions. The techniques for performing surgeries have also improved; plastic surgery specialists have gained more experience and competence. A significant breakthrough is felt in the field of liposuction, where new technology devices have made surgeons’ work easier.
Karolis: Plastic surgery has become more accessible to a wider range of people, not only financially but also due to the spread of information. People openly share their experiences and are willing to give advice. However, each person is unique, and what suited someone else might not necessarily suit you. So, if you’re considering changes, it’s better to consult with specialists.
What do you personally find beautiful in a woman?
Mantas: A woman is beautiful when she likes herself. That gives her confidence, which is immediately visible in her eyes. Generally, all women are beautiful; some just need a little help to boost their self-confidence. As a specialist, that brings me great joy.
Karolis: A woman who is self-assured, happy, smiling, and radiates that smile to others is beautiful to me. It’s not really related to body lines, but it’s about the entirety. I know that in certain stages of life, women lose that self-assurance and smile due to changes in their bodies, but plastic surgery specialists are here to help regain that self-confidence so that their faces radiate smiles again.
Giedrius: For me, it’s also a woman who is self-confident, happy, and smiling. It may not seem directly related to plastic surgery, but sometimes a very small intervention is needed for a woman to bloom in her most beautiful colors. In essence, it’s all about the message a woman projects – if she feels beautiful, others will perceive that message. And personally, the most beautiful woman to me is my wife.
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The article was first published on 03.07.2023 in the Lithuanian version of the fashion magazine L’Officiel. You can find an original version here.