American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) President Robert M. Kellman, MD, has devoted much of his time in office to making the “R” in the AAFPRS count. Kellman, the Professor and Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, is first and foremost a reconstructive surgeon, but he knows that to be successful, form must travel together with function.
“I worked very hard to make the reconstructive a little more central to the Academy and bring the facial reconstructive surgeons back into the fold,” he tells BeautyInTheBag.
Do you consider yourself cosmetic or reconstructive facial plastic surgeon?
My leaning is definitely in the reconstructive realm.
What is your signature surgery?
I am best known for putting together broken faces including those people who have been in motor vehicle accidents and had their faces smashed. Another niche is patients who have been kicked in the face by horses.
Wow. Is that common?
I wouldn’t call it common, but there are a lot of people who own horses around here. The impact is rather impressive and the damage that horses can do is rather remarkable.
What other reconstructive surgeries do you perform regularly?
I also do a lot of functional rhinoplasty in older patients.
Is that challenging?
Yes, many breathing problems become more exaggerated with age. And just as other parts of the body lose support with age so too do the fine cartilages and tissues of the nose. The tips of many older people’s noses hang lower than the tips of younger people’s noses.
How do you balance form and function in these cases?
It’s a very fine balance to get in the aesthetic comfort zone and allow people to breathe well. The key is to have the middle third of the nose wide enough for airflow without making it too wide.
What does a ‘Robert Kellman ‘nose look like?
My noses look natural. If one looks a little ‘done’, I am disappointed.
What are people in Syracuse looking for in terms of facial plastic surgery?
In Syracuse, people do prefer a natural look, but there is a geographical variation in what people want.
Is cosmetic surgery on the rise, in your opinion?
We are seeing a growth in our country and society in the acceptance of cosmetic surgery. There used to be some degree of embarrassment about plastic surgery and people tried to hide the fact that they had some work done. Now, people are encouraging each other and it’s very acceptable to say ‘yes, I have had injectables’ or ‘yes I have had a rhinoplasty.’
You are the current president of the AAFPRS, the world’s largest association of facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons. Has this affected your practice?
I live to serve, but I don’t let it interfere with my practice. This does mean that my days are longer.