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Photo Credit: drkimfacialplastics.com


04-05-15 | Posted by

Ask San Francisco Facial plastic surgeon David W. Kim, M.D, what his favorite procedure is and he won’t hesitate –it’s rhinoplasty. Kim, a double-board certified facial plastic surgeon, has a busy practice focusing on all aspects of facial plastic surgery, but rhinoplasty is what he enjoys most largely because of the complexities and nuances involved. In fact, he is the co-chair of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery’s 2015 Advances in Rhinoplasty Course in Chicago.

Dr. Kim received his B.A. in human biology at Stanford University Stanford, CA and his M.D. and surgical residency training in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of California, San Diego Medical School. He completed his specialty training with a fellowship in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2003, Dr. Kim was appointed as Chief of the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, where he served until 2009. He  is also a member of the board of directors for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Dr. Kim sat down with Beauty in the Bag to talk about his love of all things rhinoplasty, the importance of choosing a qualified facial plastic surgeon and how social media is affecting the way his patients see themselves.

Here’s what he told us:


 1. What is your signature procedure?

Rhinoplasty (nose shaping) without a doubt. Rhinoplasty is so difficult because of the complicated three-dimensional anatomy and the small aesthetic margins in the nose. Also, there is such a diversity of noses that no two rhinoplasties are the same. The high difficulty of rhinoplasty means that the best surgeons can distinguish themselves based on the quality of their results (and not simply by promotion or marketing). I think this fact has allowed my practice to grow and succeed and has allowed me to derive great personal satisfaction from my career.

 2. How should patients choose a facial plastic surgeon?

At minimum, patients should make sure the surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. They should do their research on line, but should be critical of self-promotional information. Patient-generated review sites are not perfect but taken as a whole can provide more authentic information. Before-and-after photos may also help one assess the quality of work.

All of the “homework” above is important but nothing will replace an in-person consultation. Getting more than one opinion is a good idea to get a sense of different approaches and styles. In the end, one should rely on an educated assessment about the surgeon’s character, experience, and commitment to excellence.

3. How has social media influenced facial plastic surgery seekers?

This is the age of the selfie. Increasingly, young patients are motivated to improve the appearance of their image on social media, rather than to improve themselves. This skews the motivation from internal to external. I believe this invites comparison of oneself to others, which can increase self-scrutinization. When I work with younger patients, I find myself spending more time exploring motivations and setting expectations.

4. What is new and exciting in nose reshaping surgery?

Rhinoplasty is not an operation that is driven by technology. Instead, the advances in rhinoplasty historically have been based on changing philosophy and technique. This has meant that improvement has occurred slowly as the “word” of new methods pass through writings, courses, and eventually training programs.

In the past decade, however, digital advances have made it much easier to disseminate information. Surgeons are better able to learn modern techniques through improved teaching and media. Patients have unprecedented access to all aspects of information related to rhinoplasty through the Internet. More detailed information is exchanged during consultations through the use of ever-improving digital photography and morphing software. These forces have driven expectations and results towards higher levels of quality at a faster rate than in the pre-digital era. This is an exciting sea change which benefits patients and surgeons alike.

5. What role do minimally invasive procedures play in your practice?

Although much of my time is spent in surgery (consultation, operations, and follow-ups), my practice provides office-based aesthetic procedures to a diversity of patients. Because every patient who sees me is motivated by some desire to improve his or her appearance, there is very frequently an interest in one of our minimally invasive treatments: Botox, injectable fillers, light or laser based skin treatments, and skin care. Our non-surgical practice has grown every year I have been in practice, in large part because these treatments are so appealing in effectiveness, cost, and recovery.

 6.Tell us about your practice philosophy.

It has always been about excellence, but the basis of this motivation has changed somewhat through my career. When I was starting out, I was driven to become one of the top experts in the field. I thought it was a worthwhile goal to strive to be the best. Since getting the best results was paramount to this, I put considerable time and energy toward this goal.

Over time, however, my priorities have shifted away from me and more toward the well being of my patients. I think this has come with age and maturity and a sense in me that I want to “do good” and feel like what I do is meaningful and in line with my values. Now I spend more time thinking about how I can help my patients feel better about themselves, rather than just to get to the “result”.

This shift has helped me look at each patient as a whole person rather than simply through a lens of his or her cosmetic issues. I think this has helped me to become a better facial plastic surgeon and a better physician.




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