Meet the Surgeon Who Cares
Jonathan M. Sykes, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a distinguished leader in the field of aesthetic surgery who believes in giving back. Just last fall, he was named president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), in addition to teaching, running a thriving practice and volunteering worldwide to treat children with congenital deformities. His credentials are many: Dr. Sykes is the director of the Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department at the University of California, Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where he has led one of the nation’s most esteemed facial plastic surgery fellowship programs for more than 20 years. He is also a Professor of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at UC Davis and practices with Roseville Facial Plastic Surgery in Roseville, California. He holds certifications from both the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. And if that is not enough, Dr. Sykes has participated in more than 25 humanitarian missions to train local surgeons and correct cleft and craniofacial deformities for children in medically underserved countries including Mexico, Russia and China.
Congratulations on your appointment as president of AAFPRS. Can you tell us a bit about the mission of the academy?
The AAFPRS was founded in 1964 as an autonomous professional society representing the specialty of facial plastic surgery. The mission of the AAFPRS is:
- To promote the highest quality facial plastic surgery through education, dissemination of professional information, and the establishment of professional standards.
- To achieve understanding and recognition of the specialty of facial plastic surgery by the medical profession, hospitals, and other medical care entities, legislative and regulatory bodies, and the public at large.
- To define facial plastic surgery as a specialty that requires intensive training and competence, embodies high ethical standards, artistic ideals, commitment to humanitarian service, and a desire to enhance the quality of human life.
- To serve as the public’s information source on facial plastic surgery.
- To assist members in the practice of facial plastic and reconstructive, guiding them in the delivery of high quality, cost-effective medicine and surgery.
Our mission is to provide our members with the best educational opportunities for specialty plastic surgery in the world. This comes in the form of educational courses, video and online web streaming tutorials on techniques, patient safety, as we aim to provide members with the best information possible
In addition we offer legislative support for our academy members on the state level.
What is your specialty?
I have a combined practice of both aesthetic and reconstructive procedures of the face.
I truly enjoy doing facial rejuvenation surgeries, which include brow-lifts, minimally invasive face-lifts, eyelid surgery, and fat rejuvenation of the face. I also enjoy creating natural proportion and balance of the entire face through rhinoplasty, or nose surgery. Additionally, I find it extremely rewarding performing surgery on children with cleft deformities such as cleft lips and palates.
How has the recession affected the types of procedures requested by your patients?
I think the economy affects everyone who is interested in plastic surgery, particularly aesthetic surgery. I have found that the interest in aesthetic surgery procedures almost parallels the stock market. When the stock market hit its recent low (March 2009), very few people were requesting aesthetic plastic surgery.
The economy does not affect reconstructive procedures as much; however, it still has an impact. The timing of a procedure can still be affected by the economy.
As the market has rebounded, there is a renewed interest in surgical procedures, and all plastic surgeons have noticed an increase in volume.
What new developments in the field do you find particularly exciting?
I think that the developments in injectable materials in the face have allowed physicians to achieve substantial results through minimally invasive in-office procedures. We have more options now including using facial fillers to not only fill a wrinkle or fold, but also to globally add volume to the face, making us look younger without surgical scarring.
Recently, there have been many more fillers that have come on the market, which keeps the prices to the patients relatively low, gives the surgeon more options, and ultimately equates to a better product and better result for the patient.
What are three key points that every potential plastic surgery patient should cover with their doctor?
- First, it is extremely important that patients inquire about their physician’s credentials and board certification. Recently, I met with a patient who was dissatisfied with the results of her facelift that was performed by a local physician. I asked about what details she had about the physician, including his or her area of specialty, education, etc. These were not questions they had covered. I was familiar with the individual however, and though the patient was completely unaware, the surgeon is in fact a gynecologist. Selecting a surgeon that specializes and is experienced in the specific procedure of interest is incredibly important in achieving the best possible results.
- The next topic you should cover during your consultation is the expected healing and possible complications associated with the procedures. It is very important for patients to be fully prepared for the recovery process and all possible outcomes.
- Lastly, the consultation process is not a time for short cuts. An in-depth consultation should serve as an opportunity for the patient and surgeon to develop two-way communication. This interchange of ideas should allow the patient to convey their concerns and desired results and the physician to fully discuss the diagnosis, proposed treatments and various options for those treatments. While technology has opened the door to phone and internet consultations, these should be followed up with an in-person meeting to further establish the patient-physician relationship.
Tell our readers something about your charitable efforts.
Pediatric plastic surgery makes up about 15% to 20% of my practice. Taking care of children with congenital deformities is very dear to my heart. I get to provide this type of care here in the US on a day-to-day to basis, as well as performing operations on over 25 humanitarian missions in other countries including Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador, Bolivia, China, Russia, Cambodia, Belize, and Philippines.
I plan a minimum of one humanitarian trip a year, and I look at it as a great way to share my skill with the world. Sharing what we do with people who are less fortunate is a large part of what medicine is about.