Is it in the genes? Some of my late father’s patients believe that a talent for the “metier” (career) of Plastic Surgery can be inherited. While I am not sure that a predisposition for a certain advocation may always be passed down generations, I am a second generation Plastic Surgeon and have had the opportunity to meet several “2nd gen” Plastic Surgeons and families who have been long term patrons. I enjoyed a unique privilege to have an apprenticeship with a parent which included lessons in technique as well as work ethic and integrity.
Dad relocated to Orange County, from an academic teaching post, at Temple University, Philadelphia, in 1972 to join Dr. Fred Grazer. In that period, Newport was a relatively quiet “beach town”, frequented by Los Angelenos and served by a handful of Plastic Surgeons: Bruce Connell (Santa Ana), Dave Furnas (UCI’s Division head), Fred Grazer (liposuction pioneer), Jorge Luhan, Harvey Heinrichs, John Conover, Leonard Avedian. Of these, two families had children of my vintage, who subsequently became Plastic Surgeons. Throughout high school and university, it was expected that I would learn central sterile supply, chaperone consults, perform clerical functions and assist with dressing changes. I graduated from Corona del Mar High School and spent the next 20 years in medical school and residencies, preparing to return home, to private practice in Newport Beach.
The final year of Plastic Surgery residency included a cosmetic surgery rotation in Miami, with renowned face¬lifter, whose son had just joined the practice. The month’s agenda was slanted towards aesthetic medicine, business of running a practice and a preparation for post¬residency life, provided I could decipher the nuances. The principal surgeons allocated some time for tutorials, during which much was imparted about relationships: patient/physician; employer/employee; surgeon/colleague; surgeon/family.
My father and I ran parallel practices until he retired in 2003. He passed in 2009, after a brief illness. His influence as a parent and senior partner was and continue to be an integral component of my personal and professional life.