Q&A with Dr. Randal Haworth – Answers.com

You’ve been quoted saying, “My philosophy is that in plastic surgery there are doctors who have become artists and artists who have become doctors. I count myself among the latter.” Why do you consider yourself an artist first?
Both visual artists and surgeons have superb hand-eye coordination with the vision – both literally in the sense of seeing and figuratively in the sense of envisioning an end result – providing the navigation. Even with my extensive experience and knowledge of anatomy as guides, my first concern is to deliver an aesthetically pleasing, natural looking result. Sometimes, achieving this is a matter of instinct rather than any hard and fast rules. I have been drawing and painting since I was a child and self-identified as an artist early on; I didn’t commit myself to being a physician until I was 20 years old with the final goal of becoming a plastic surgeon in the end.

When did you know you wanted to be a plastic surgeon?
I first entertained the idea when I was 13 years old after seeing a documentary about plastic surgery on the BBC in England. Though my self-realization was not mature at that point, in retrospect I can say I was instinctively drawn to the field because it appealed to both my scientific and artistic sides.

I came from the old school of medicine when hard work with no shortcuts was the norm. I had to first become a full-fledged general surgeon with five years of experience under my belt before embarking on a plastic surgical path.

Why did you choose to specialize in facial surgery, rhinoplasty, and breast augmentation?
I find facial surgery (including rhinoplasty) fascinating because each face has their own story to tell. For example, even though you may have a clear idea on how a nose will appear when performing a rhinoplasty, often times the face may become even more beautiful than expected. This is a classic example of when the end result is greater than the sum of its individual parts. I specialize in what I call hyperaesthetic facial surgery in which I may perform simultaneous surgery on any part of the face such as the lips, eyelids, nose, etc. In order to create a beautiful result for the patient, the surgeon has to be very proficient technically and aesthetically with all types of facial surgery. The surgeon is similar to a conductor of an orchestra who must know all the instruments intimately. He is aware when an individual instrument produces dissonance and resonance and is able to correct that in order to create harmony-in my case, facial harmony. I discuss this in a lot more detail on my website www.drhaworth.com.

What is the most rewarding part about being a plastic surgeon?
It’s bringing out the best in the patient. Sometimes a positive physical change helps the patient to become in sync with herself in a way that nothing else can. Patients with realistic expectations who approach this process with respect are a joy.

Most recently, you’ve developed an over-the-counter remedy to relieve heel pain, both for athletes sporting cleats as well as red carpet favorites rocking high heels. Why did you take the time to develop an over-the-counter spray?
It was one of those products that just demanded to be invented. I’d been hearing for years from my patients and friends – both fashion forward women and athletes of both genders – how upsetting and disruptive foot pain can be. One friend’s dream trip to Europe was ruined by a blister! She doesn’t remember much about the trip, but she sure remembers the pain!

How did you come up with the idea and the formula for “Heel No Pain”?
My light bulb moment came about a year and a half ago. Though the topical anesthetic lidocaine is FDA approved and used on the mouth and gums by dentists and parents of teething infants among other uses, no one had thought to use it on the feet. So I did the research and found that I was the first to think of using it for the feet. You can learn more about this product from either of our websites www.heelnopain.com/ and www.biochemistry.la.

How do you apply “Heel No Pain”?
It is a spray.

Who would you recommend the product to?
Anyone suffering from temporary foot pain whether from high heels or sports activities. We have formulas for both in the form of Heel NO Pain/Style and Heel NO Pain/Active, respectively. Indeed, the Active formula has also proven to be very popular for those professionals working on their feet all day. I’ve been very proud that Heel NO Pain was chosen to be in the gift bag for the Teen Choice Awards of 2014!

Can we expect to see more over-the-counter products from you?
Absolutely. You can expect the world’s first intelligent sleep bra with double patented B.U.S.T.™ (Bilateral uplift support technology) in the next few months. It is called NightLift™. I love coming up with clever solutions to life’s little problems.

What was it like studying as a teenager at The King’s School in England?
My parents are European and technically so am I, though I have an American accent. Though it was initially a culture shock for me to be put into this boarding school (incidentally, the oldest school in the world founded by St. Augustine in 597 A.D.), in retrospect I did appreciate the challenges I had to overcome which helped shape my character. When I was growing up, it was not at all uncommon for kids to go to boarding school. Think Harry Potter’s Hogwarts but without the magic and you’ve got it in one.

You graduated from the USC School of Medicine with highest honors. What advice would you give to aspiring students in the medical field?
Make sure you really love it because it’s a tough road to get there and an even tougher one to stay inspired.

Your drawings and paintings have been on display in various shows and galleries. Is art more than a hobby for you?
Art is a significant part of my identity, both as a creator and a collector.

Do your creative and medical interests ever overlap in your drawings?
Yes, most of my work involves portraiture and anatomy.

With a hectic schedule that comes with the medical field, how do you find time to paint?
Making art both relaxes me and amps me up so it’s something I always want to be doing when I’m not at work.

You were on two full seasons of “The Swan,” an extreme makeover reality television show on Fox. What was the experience like?
The experience on the “The Swan” was very rewarding. I helped transform peoples lives physically and psychologically with the help of the other team members, of course.

How were the plastic surgery procedures performed on the show different than those at your offices in Beverly Hills?
On “The Swan”, the challenge was to perform often times total body and face makeovers on the patients and have them “revealed” in front of millions of people in the matter of 9 to 10 weeks. Obviously, in my normal practice, my patients and I are not found by these artificial timelines. The show, unfortunately, gave the impression that many of these procedures were performed in one surgical setting. That was not true. Most of the time, we divided the operations into two and sometimes three surgical sessions separated by many weeks.

Because it involved plastic surgery, “The Swan” went further than most makeover shows and consequently received a fair amount of criticism from viewers. How did you respond to the negative feedback?
Anything that bucks the trend will receive negative commentary and “The Swan” was no exception. When one looks back upon that show 10 years later after enduring so much other reality-show pablum that has done nothing but degenerate our culture, The Swan seems positively uplifting and empowering to women. Contrary to the naysayers, the show encouraged increased self-worth through increased self-confidence, psychological and personal growth.

What are the risks involved with plastic surgery? Overall, is it safe?
It’s surgery and as such should be taken seriously. It is as safe as we can make it but it is essential that the patient tell us the truth (about age, health situation) so we know exactly what we’re dealing with. The better a patient’s health, the better and quicker the healing process. Also, the patient needs to follow pre- and post-op instructions to the letter. The procedure itself is only part of the process. The rest involves the healing phase and this is where a patient’s conscientiousness can make all the difference from both safety and aesthetic perspectives.

What can you do to prevent scarring from plastic surgery?
Four factors are at play here. First is how the patient’s skin heals; the tendency to scar is genetically determined. Next is the location; some places show scarring more than others. If we can hide an incision in a fold, for example, the scar has a greater chance of disappearing. Third is the skill of the surgeon. Some surgeons – myself included – take pride in how smooth and discreet their incisions and suturing are which in the long run minimizes scar formation. Finally, there is patient cooperation. We give post-operative instructions for a reason and if the patient follows those instructions to the letter, the better result she’s going to get and this includes the minimizing of scarring.

The good news is that with lasers and resurfacing technologies, even if there are post-operative scars, we now have ways of revising them to near invisibility. Also, the less sun damage a patient has, the more beautifully her skin will heal.

What is the average healing time for most procedures?
Impossible to say; every procedure is vastly different from the next.

How much schooling is required to become a plastic surgeon?
Formal schooling required 11 years of complete dedication and long hours after university. Specifically, four years were required to complete medical school, after which I completed five years of general surgical training at Cornell Medical Center/New York Hospital in Manhattan followed by two intense years in a plastic surgery fellowship at UCLA. However, schooling never stops for a board certified plastic surgeon because he or she must maintain their qualifications through courses, board recertification exams and continuing medical education requirements. Of course, any person who is passionate about their work goes above and beyond even this to become a thought leader in their respective field through in-depth research, discipline and practice.

What’s next for Dr. Randal Haworth?
NightLift ™! By addressing the specific gravitational forces imposed upon the breasts with recumbency and side-sleeping, NightLift ™ helps keep your breasts youthful and perky while playing it’s part to help prevent the need for a breast lift with its attendant scars in the future. By keeping the top breast separated from the bottom, it also helps prevent the formation of the vertical décolleté chest wrinkles. NightLift ™ was designed for maximum comfort with lightweight fabric without underwire with an alluring sense of style for you and your partner. It is easy on your breasts and body while it’s easy on the eyes.

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