Photo Credit: beautyinthebag.com
Dr. Ben Talei is an uber popular double board-certified facial plastic surgeon at the Beverly Hills Center for Plastic and Laser Surgery He received his medical degree at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine (UCSD), and is well-known for his rapid healing times, natural, long-lasting results and unique facial aesthetics.
Not only a renown facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Talei is an avid author and humanitarian. His publications on advanced face and neck lifting techniques and revision rhinoplasty are used to teach doctors nationwide. He travels several times a year on various surgical missions to perform procedures on patients in less fortunate countries. He is also an avid fundraiser for two organizations he reveres and works with intimately – the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) Face-to-Face: The National Domestic Violence Project, a program that offers pro bono facial plastic and reconstructive surgery to domestic violence survivors.
BITB caught up with Dr. Talei to hear about the modern field of aesthetics and how he envisions facial plastic surgery evolving in the next decade.
What inspired you to become a facial plastic surgeon?
I wanted to be a doctor since I was about five years old. I was inspired originally by my pediatrician cleaning out my ears. Going through medical school I always thought I was going to be a heart surgeon, but once I saw the intricate nature of the face during head and neck surgery, I knew that I wanted to stay above the clavicles. My goal is to remove cancers of the head and neck and reconstruct them. After three years, this became very difficult for me as I had to tell patients far too often that they had cancer and we would both start crying. I then decided to just stick to the reconstruction, and the more I saw of it, the more I loved it. Soon I realized that the more difficult surgeries were actually the cosmetic surgeries. I started working days and nights in my residency in order to see as much as possible from different surgeons. After my fellowship in facial cosmetic surgery, I did a second one for pediatric plastic surgery and vascular birthmarks. I have always loved technical practices and I’ve worked with my hands since I was a kid. I’ve been doing carpentry and upholstery since a young age. I’ve worked on cars and boats as well and even made lamp shades. This is my dream job.
Tell us about some of the top trends in aesthetics today and what your Beverly Hills patients are asking for most frequently
Patients around the country and even around the world have become much more accepting of plastic surgery. I have also become much more realistic about the expectations and what can be obtained. With this, we are seeing two new trends. One is that more and more people are actually seeking plastic surgery because they feel safer knowing that they have reviewed their doctor thoroughly and they can get natural results without having to do repeat treatments. The other is that another group of patients is trying to stay as natural as possible by using non-surgical treatments such as fillers, skin tightening treatments and preventative treatments.
The advent of social media and its rapid growth in the past three years, along with a widespread use of smart phones, has really helped connect the world. There are also review sites like realself.com where patients share their experiences in detail. I believe this has really raised the bar for plastic surgeons and expectations for patients. Patients now see what can be achieved, and if you’re a doctor not performing the most natural or advanced treatments, your practice will soon start to dwindle. Patients want natural, they want significant and they want fast recoveries.
How do you envision facial plastic surgery changing over the next decade?
Plastic surgery tends to evolve much slower than other specialties in medicine. If the new blood pressure medication comes out with a lower rate of side effects and higher efficacy, almost every doctor switches over immediately. Unfortunately, this is not the case with plastic surgery. Plastic surgeons are much slower to evolve. However, now that so many surgeons are showing their work on social media, patients and doctors alike have a greater understanding of what can be achieved and who it is getting the best results. This leads doctors to immediately step up their game even if they have been complacent for years.
I’m very excited to see all the advances to come; however, we forget it is really the past three years that social media has taken off so dramatically and become prevalent in everyone’s lives. Along with that, the rate of improvement in facial plastic surgery has been quite dramatic in the past three years when compared to the rest of history.