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October 22, 2008 > The art of beauty

The art of beauty

The old adage "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" rings true, but usually the first beholder to make this assessment is an individual looking in a mirror. In some cases, cosmetics are used to enhance natural features and direct attention to favorable aspects of appearance. However, for a variety of reasons ranging from inherited physiology to results of accidents, superficial remedies are insufficient. Beyond physically attractive characteristics lies the psychology of self-image which shapes behavior. The difference of demeanor is undeniable when comparing those with high social acceptance and excellent self-image to others with low self-esteem.

The art of Plastic Surgery combines the skill of a surgeon and the vision and sensitivity of an artist. Some aspects of medicine concentrate solely on practical solutions to remedy a problem. The visible difference between a patient suffering from a debilitating ailment and the same individual free of disease and pain is readily apparent but often involves internal changes that manifest in attitude. Physical appearance may change but basic body structure remains. Plastic Surgery seeks to recreate that structure. In some cases, the effects of aging are reversed and in others body sculpting of undesirable physical characteristics is the result.

Cosmetic surgery specialists are highly trained physicians. Plastic Surgeon, Iraj Zandi, M.D., F.A.C.S. has been on the local scene since 1974 and is an example of the character strength necessary to carry this title. His schooling began in Iran where he was the first student from his area to graduate from secondary education and, in 1965, completed medical school. In 1966, he passed a demanding exam to enter internship and residency on the East Coast of the United States. Following residency in general surgery, Zandi was accepted in a plastic surgery residency program. True to his nature, he embraced the test. "I want to do things that are more challenging," said Zandi. "I never had a question in my mind that I would succeed."

After completion of his residency training, Zandi came to San Francisco for a licensing exam. He decided on a road trip to investigate the possibility of opening a practice in California and found himself in Fremont, waiting for a gas station to open with a few hours to explore. He was instantly attracted to the area and a visit to Washington Hospital convinced him that Fremont held a wonderful opportunity. Further travels throughout California convinced Dr. Zandi that Fremont was his top choice.

After three years of practice in Fremont, construction of a new medical building offered an opportunity for Dr. Zandi to include a surgery suite - one of the first in the United States - with his office. Although early regulations of such facilities were not as exacting as today, his surgery suite has always met the highest standards and as strict regulations were instituted, Dr. Zandi's facility has easily met them for all plastic surgery procedures involved including those requiring local and/or general anesthesia. A private surgery suite allows tight control of quality, expense and scheduling. He stresses that personnel in the operating room do not change assuring a well coordinated team.

Plastic surgery procedures require extreme patience and attention to detail. Zandi notes that training includes several subspecialties: cosmetic surgery, reconstructive surgery, correcting congenital anomalies, maxillofacial surgery and hand surgery. Many plastic surgeons eventually settle on a sub-specialty within the category. For the past 15 years, Dr. Zandi has worked exclusively in the area of cosmetic surgery - face, breast and body contouring. He says that one excellent indicator of competency is certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He cautions that some physicians who practice such delicate surgical techniques lack this designation and although legally entitled to engage in these operations have not satisfied the technical requirements for certification. They may cite qualifications as "board eligible" without listing the specialty of such eligibility.

It is essential to review the training of any specialist who proposes plastic surgery and ask for referrals since the consequence of a failed procedure can be expensive and severe requiring extensive repair, if even possible. The American Medical Association, local medical societies and hospital affiliations can give a sense of confidence; referral through The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery or the California Society of Plastic Surgery can be comforting when choosing a surgeon.

Not only is a plastic surgeon required to understand the challenges of reconstructing living tissue, but must also manage patient expectations. "Plastic surgeons have a duty to inform patients of the limits as well as the opportunities of our profession. We must be honest with those who have unrealistic expectations," says Dr. Zandi. "We cannot give them a promise that cannot be delivered." Cosmetic surgery, as any surgery, should not be taken lightly. Critical factors include not only the technique of a procedure but also follow-up and mediation of any complications as well. It is important to be candid with your family physician and cosmetic surgery specialist before deciding on a specific course of action.

Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Referral: (888) 272-7711

Iraj Zandi, MD
2557 Mowry Avenue Suite 20, Fremont

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