Joseph Niamtu III, DMD—or “Dr. Joe” to his patients—lives and breathes facial cosmetic surgery. He loves what he does and his passion and enthusiasm are contagious. A fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Niamtu is board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. His Midlothian, VA-based practice is thriving, yet he finds time to lecture about 15 to 20 times a year, write, teach, and spend quality time with his wife and two sons. “Sounds nerdy, but on Sunday night, I get excited about going to work on Monday,” he says.
How do you define beauty?
Beauty is youth and youth is beauty. By this definition, we really can’t create youth, but we can improve aging.
That said, how do you improve aging?
There are several ways that we can improve aging. We can restore lost volume with facial implants and fillers, tightening excess skin with eyelid surgery and facelift, correct skin aging with laser and chemical peels, and control skin damage with neurotoxins and skincare.
What is your signature surgery?
Facelift surgery is hands down my favorite procedure because no other procedure provides so much cosmetic and emotional impact. You can hide mediocre breast, belly, and butt surgery, but the face is there for all to see. We are our face. Improving it for patients is a great service and feeling for the patient and surgeon.
How did you get started in the beauty business?
I performed a four-year hospital based maxillofacial surgery program, and the cosmetic part of facial surgery became my passion.
What sets you apart from others in your space?
I am lucky that my vocation is my avocation. I love what I do and I am hard to compete with because I work about 16 hours a day. I never accept the status quo and continually strive to be better and provide the best patient service. I feel that I am at the top of my game, but it is no coincidence. I have been performing facial surgery for 30 years and I am continually learning and modifying my techniques.
What do you do during the other eight hours of the day?
I work out five or six days a week and I am a bass fisherman and bow hunter. I can’t do much with my sons because they have severe cerebral palsy, but in the summer we go in our pool every night after work. They love it. My wife takes care of these guys like nothing is wrong with them. She is a saint!
Who is your beauty inspiration?
I see beauty in all people and in all things. I have two vintage XKE Jaguars, and they are classically beautiful in their lines and design. I have beautiful guitars. I am an avid outdoorsman and I see beauty in everything around me. Most talented surgeons I know see beauty in many things beyond their profession. I am lucky to have a beautiful wife, I study her facial features and those of everyone I see. I am at 7-11 and say to myself “that clerk has great cheeks.”
What is your beauty mantra?
Always do what is best for the patient! Never perform a procedure on a patient that you would not do on a family member. Always strive to be the best, never settle for average. Back up your work. It takes a lot of energy, as excellence is a journey, not a destination.
What is the procedure you find most challenging?
Any procedure can be easy in some patients and challenging in others. I do a lot of large combination rejuvenation surgeries. It is not uncommon for me to perform a facelift, eyelid surgery, brow lift, cheek implants, and laser resurfacing simultaneously. This can be a four to five hour surgery with a several week recovery. It takes skill and patience on the part of the surgeon, staff and patient, but when the healing is complete, you have really transformed someone’s life. That is a great feeling.
What charities do you support?
I have two severely disabled children, so most of my charity work is with organizations that assist children. I have also won awards for assisting Operation Smile and a local domestic abuse shelter. I have done scores of pro bono cases over the years and continue to do so. The feeling you get from assisting these people is the biggest paycheck ever.