Photo Credit: beautyinthebag.com
Dr. Patrick Byrne has an international reputation for excellence in aesthetic and functional rhinoplasty surgery. Following medical school at the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Byrne completed a five year residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, training under nationally recognized leaders in the field and gaining expertise in facial cosmetic surgery, rhinoplasty, and reconstruction.
Dr. Byrne’s clientele of rhinoplasty patients extends far beyond Baltimore; he treats patients from across the northeast, DC, western US, and even Europe and the Middle East. He was awarded a prestigious fellowship position in the highly competitive Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship program administered by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS).
BITB spoke with Dr. Byrne about his passion for his career and his predictions for the future of facial plastic surgery.
1. Tell us about your passion for your career. Who / what inspired you to become a facial plastic surgeon?
As a child, I was really into art – especially drawing, and portraiture in particular. I would try to draw the faces of the elderly, of people from different backgrounds. When I was in medical school, I became fascinated very early by the anatomy of the face, head, and neck. I was amazed by how our identity is completely wrapped up in our faces, the delicate structures ability to convey human emotion, the changes that occur with age, and disease. The face is unlike any other area of focus in medicine – it is personal, intimate, and impossible to be completely rational about. During residency, my focus was largely on facial reconstruction, and I decided to pursue additional training after residency encompassing the gamut of facial aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. My career has been endlessly fascinating, trying to enhance, improve, correct, and restore human faces in all their complexity and variation.
2. What are your patients requesting most often and how has that changed in the past 5-10 years?
Patients continue to ask about non-surgical means – particularly new ones – to rejuvenate and improve their appearance. So injection rhinoplasty techniques, Kybella for the neck, radio frequency treatments, and the like are often asked about. At the same time, I believe that over the past ten years, patients have actually become less influenced by “fads” (not to say any of those mentioned procedures are fads), or new technologies that appear in the lay press. They are, I feel, more sophisticated and knowledgeable than years ago. Most have a pretty good sense of what is realistically achievable. In my practice, this often means surgery.
3. What are your predictions for the future of facial plastic surgery in the next decade?
I think it’s interesting to consider both the supply side of the question—what new technologies will exist in three decades—as well as the demand side. What will people need?
In the next decade, a dizzying array of “biologic products” (reconstructive materials derived from living organisms) will enter the mainstream of our field. These materials will enhance our ability to restore soft tissue and healthy skin. Medical breakthroughs will slow and perhaps even reverse the aging process—including the external manifestations of aging. These breakthroughs will yield pharmaceutical and dietary treatments that will modify cellular apoptosis (programmed cell death) as well as collagen breakdown and other skin and soft-tissue changes that result in an aged appearance. Each of these innovations will spur additional demand for treatment. Demand, of course, isn’t static. We already see far fewer devastating facial fractures in recent years as a result of seat-belt and air-bag laws. Will the driverless car dramatically alter the practices of the urban trauma surgeons of the future? Will dramatic advances in cancer treatments reduce the need for reconstructive surgery? We can hope. One source of demand will not change, however. The desire to look young and attractive will not abate. Thirty years from now, there will be much more demand than now as our society not only ages, but also does so with greater vitality than ever before.