Tampa, Fl-based facial plastic surgeon Edward H. Farrior, MD, FACS, recently took over as the president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), the world’s largest specialty association for facial plastic surgery. This is always a big job, but this year marks the Academy’s 50th anniversary, which means even more fanfare and planning than usual.
Farrior is up for the challenge. He spoke to Beauty in the Bag about his goals for his term in office, his facial plastic surgery practice and the state of facial plastic surgery today.
What do you hope to accomplish during your one-year term as president?
I want to conclude our quest for recognition of our fellowship training by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, an organization that certifies training programs. The Academy has many excellent fellowships for facial plastic surgeons, but this would provide a different path for interested parties.
I also want to create more state plastic surgery societies. Most of the big states have such societies, but a lot of the smaller states do not. For these smaller states, multi-state societies may be an option. State societies help promote patient education and political advocacy. For example, many have been very influential in helping to assure that only qualified individuals perform cosmetic surgery in their states.
I plan to energize the FACE TO FACE: The Domestic Violence Project from the AAFPRS by contacting more shelters. In 1994, the AAFPRS teamed up with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to develop the program that has helped 2,500 domestic abuse survivors. Through this program, facial plastic surgeons provide pro bono reconstructive facial surgeries to women who have been badly injured. Another academy program, Faces of Honor, helps veterans, returning from deployment, gain access to facial reconstruction surgery. Most veterans have access to superb Veterans Affair’s health care. Most of the VA Hospitals have facial plastic surgeons on staff, but there are some veterans who return to smaller towns or communities who can’t commute or don’t want to commute to bigger facilities. I also plan to strengthen this program.
What is your signature surgery?
Rhinoplasty, primarily revision rhinoplasty.
That’s pretty complicated stuff, correct?
Yes, once someone has his or her nose operated on the anatomy can become extremely distorted making the procedure much more complex. You have to think on your feet and be creative in the moment. The more experience the surgeon has the better you are at revision rhinoplasty.
How did you get started in this field?
My father Richard Farrior, MD, now 88, was a premier rhinoplasty surgeon in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. He was my role model and inspired me to follow in his footsteps.
Do you ever run tough cases by him?
Yes, every now and then I will.
Do you have children, and will they follow in your path?
I hope so. I have a son and two daughters. My son is a law student, my oldest daughter has a master’s in teaching and is teaching middle school math, and one of my daughters is a pre-med student. She was going to go to veterinary school, but switched to pre-med. I have my fingers crossed.
Why do you love what you do?
I love the technical aspect. It is is almost like composing or sculpting, and to be creative with living tissue takes a great deal of focus. It’s also one of the few specialties in medicine where doctors and patients can develop relationships. This communication is really paramount. With elective procedures, it is imperative for us to educate and empower patients to make the right decisions and to get to know their lifestyles, their family, and their goals. We don’t have the pressure of having to see five or more patients every hour so we can really build a personal relationship.
What, in your opinion, will be the next big thing in facial plastics?
A reversible permanent filler that you can undo if there is a problem. Facial implants are great, but it takes a surgical intervention. They also come in a variety of sizes but not enough of a selection to fit every facial and skeletal contour. Injectables are nice in that you can customize them and there is no downtime.
What is your tried-and-true anti aging advice?
If you keep skin hydrated and protected from the sun you will need fewer interventions.
The AAFPRS just put out a survey showing that 50 is the new 30. Do women today really feel and look younger than their chronological age?
Absolutely. Today, women in their 40s and 50s are more confident and beautiful than ever before. They have the life experience and knowledge to look as great as they feel. And with the growing number of minimally invasive and nonsurgical options, they are able to maintain their youthful appearance for longer.