Dr. Sameer Jejurikar: “Learn to focus on your best qualities — not your worst”

First and foremost, I think it’s important to see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you or looks up to you. That will help connect you to your sense of inner beauty and self-worth. You are almost certainly a source of inspiration for somebody else. Learn to see yourself through their eyes and […]

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First and foremost, I think it’s important to see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you or looks up to you. That will help connect you to your sense of inner beauty and self-worth. You are almost certainly a source of inspiration for somebody else. Learn to see yourself through their eyes and you will learn to see everything beautiful that exists about you.

As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Sameer Jejurikar.

He is a board-certified plastic surgeon, practicing in Dallas, Texas, with an emphasis on aesthetic procedures.

Dr. Jejurikar received his plastic surgery training at the University of Michigan and did additional training in cosmetic procedures of the face, body and breasts in New York City at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. His practice now focuses on innovative surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. The goal with all of Dr. Jejurikar’s surgeries is to create solutions for each patient that optimize results and minimize downtime.

When he’s not working or recording a new episode for his podcast “3 Plastic Surgeons and a Microphone”, he loves spending time with family, which includes his wife, his three children, and his dog, Harold.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve always loved working with my hands, and I consider myself a creative person. When I was in medical school, I was drawn to surgical subspecialties. I thought I might be a general surgeon or even a vascular surgeon earlier on in my career. I liked many things about these specialties, but I did not love delivering bad news to patients, nor did I like operating on the same regions of the body repetitively.

As a fourth-year medical student, I changed my career focus to plastic surgery. Within the first week of my service, I observed operations performed on the head and neck, breasts, trunk, upper extremities, and lower extremities. These included both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. It became apparent to me that as a plastic surgeon not only could I help people live their best lives and feel good about themselves, but I would continually operate on different regions of the body with the goal of creating improvement, whether functional or aesthetic. Being able to change up my routine as well as offering patients good news was a huge draw-in for me.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

In 2005 to 2006, I did an aesthetic surgery fellowship at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital (MEETH) in New York City. One amazing thing about training at MEETH was that you never really knew who you would encounter on a given day.

One day, I was startled on my way out of the operating room. A very well-dressed man in a three-piece suit was massaging a man I could not identify. This was not something I had ever seen before and I have yet to see it since.

Later that same day, when I was up on the hospital ward, I encountered the same man. He was looking for medical supplies. Eager to find out who he was, I offered my services and he introduced himself to me as the personal physician of the Dalai Lama who was there for non-aesthetic surgery. After a brief conversation, he offered me and several nurses the opportunity to meet his patient. About an hour later, we were granted an audience with the Dalai Lama. The encounter was brief and very few words were spoken. One by one, he blessed us, and, in less than three minutes, the encounter was over.

Although the meeting was brief, the peace and tranquility in the presence of the Dalai Lama was unmistakable. The feelings I felt then have never left me. I have never been around anyone so magnanimous and generous of spirit. He was truly the physical embodiment of goodwill and peace, and his blessings have made me want to strive to be the best person I can.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

I was more concerned with impressing prospective patients at the beginning of my career, and I would gauge my relative success by whether they would choose me to be their plastic surgeon. As time progressed, I became more comfortable with my knowledge and ability. I stopped worrying about whether patients would like me or choose me to be their surgeon and focused entirely on telling them the truth, as least as I perceived it, about their expected results, their expected recovery, and anything else relevant to their surgery — including when I didn’t think they should have surgery.

I recognized that solely focusing on what I perceived to be the truth would allow me to speak with passion and conviction to patients. My relationships with patients became much deeper and much more meaningful. Patients began to see me as someone who was not concerned about being a salesman but as someone who was truly motivated to help them achieve their goals. I started deriving greater and more profound satisfaction out of my relationships with patients, and successful results became so much more affirming.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My wife, without a doubt, has been my greatest help over my career.

She has a background in the aesthetics industry as an aesthetician and also has extensive experience in the medical spa sales industry. When I first started my practice, I was fortunate enough to hire her as my office manager. She poured her heart and soul into building my practice and, in the process, we fell in love. Over time, we stopped working formally together in the office.

Even though she’s no longer a physical presence in the office, she’s the sounding board for every major idea I have both in my practice and in all aspects of my professional life. She gives me the freedom to work long hours and to pursue other passions, including supporting me while I pursued my MBA and maintained a full-time surgical practice.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

Advances in aesthetic technology over the past few years are nothing short of remarkable. Two technologies come to mind when I think about the phrase “cutting-edge”.

First, improvements in non-surgical laser treatments have come so far. It used to be that patients with darker pigmentation, like myself, really were not great candidates for laser treatments, as the technologies would cause changes in pigmentation that would look worse than existing aesthetic issues. Over the last few years, improvements in non-ablative lasers, or lasers that heat the skin without removing the superficial surface, have allowed patients like me to reverse early signs of aging and sun damage.

My favorite non-ablative laser is the MOXI laser made by Sciton. I have recommended this treatment to my patients and have received MOXI as a patient. The results really are impressive, and I’ve seen noticeable improvements in my own skin.

The other technology that comes to mind are improvements in radiofrequency technology. Radiofrequency uses energy to heat the skin, causing skin tightening without making any large incisions to cut and remove skin. There are several different modalities through which radiofrequency can be applied, some of which are done in the operating room and some of which are done in office. Both situations have created a degree of skin tightening that we could not have imagined years ago.

The most popular treatment among my patients is Morpheus8 made by Inmode, which combines radio frequency with microneedling to create new collagen and promote skin tightening. The procedure is done on conscious patients with topical anesthesia. I also use Morpheus8 in the operating room, often in combination with liposuction, or FaceTite and BodyTite, also made by Inmode.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

Getting people to accept and love themselves for who they are sometimes can be quite difficult when they have underlying unhappiness and depression. Patients sometimes misguidedly think their superficial appearance will change deep-rooted mental health issues.

This obviously is not true.

No plastic surgeon has a window into a patient’s soul, and it’s important to assess the patient’s goals for surgery and to ensure that these goals are realistic. Furthermore, it’s important to inform patients that the technology or procedure offered will only change the external appearance. The goal is to make the patient happy with the results of their procedures; it is not to cure underlying unhappiness with life in general.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

Absolutely. The first thing is that non-invasive technology is continually improving. Radiofrequency allows tightening of the face and body without surgery, newer lasers allow for reversal of aging with less down time, and Botox and facial fillers plump lines and add volume lessening the signs of aging. All these improvements are gradually eliminating the need for more invasive surgical procedures.

Secondly, With the advent of 3D imaging utilizing AI-machine learning algorithms, communication with patients prior to a procedure has never been better. The projected results of procedures, including breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, liposuction and facial fillers can be demonstrated to patients prior to these procedures, allowing them to make more informed decisions.

Finally, the acceptance of surgical and nonsurgical procedures has exploded over the past few years. Given the frequency with which prospective patients see before and after photos and better understand the procedures themselves (thanks to social media), patients have a better understanding of the pros and cons of various procedures well before they seek out a consultation with a plastic surgeon.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

Like anyone in the medical industry, I always have concerns about the consequences of my actions. For one, I do not think there is enough concern about the long-term consequences of certain procedures.

Smart phone apps have allowed us to create profoundly distorted appearances of our waist, hips, buttocks, and breasts — not to mention our facial appearance. Sometimes, the resulting appearance can look cartoonish or exaggerated in ways that do not look remotely natural. An increasing number of patients are coming in seeking these types of distorted looks, and many providers are helping them achieve this. Although they are achieving what they want in the short run, reverting to a more natural appearance long term may prove to be impossible, and they might regret that in the future.

Additionally, patients have such intimate access to surgery photos on the internet and social media, surgery is now seeming more approachable, less intimidating, and sometimes, less risky. I’ve noticed more and more patients ignoring the relative risks of surgery and viewing procedures to be more akin to getting their nails done or their hair colored. Ultimately, all surgical procedures, including aesthetic surgeries, have inherent risks, and it’s important that patients fully contemplate them before embarking upon surgery.

Finally, I do believe that a failure to accept one’s self sometimes drives the desire for cosmetic procedures, which can lead to bad long-term outcomes. Depression and self-loathing are real problems for many of my patients. These are psychological disorders that require therapy and sometimes medication. Surgery to look like someone else will not fix these disorders, but many patients and providers fail to recognize this.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

First and foremost, I think it’s important to see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you or looks up to you. That will help connect you to your sense of inner beauty and self-worth. You are almost certainly a source of inspiration for somebody else. Learn to see yourself through their eyes and you will learn to see everything beautiful that exists about you.

In the same way, learn to focus on your best qualities — not your worst. We all tend to focus on things we dislike about ourselves. When we do that, we gloss over all the positive things that we do and the positive attributes that we have. Celebrating the good in yourself helps you see yourself in a new and positive light. Another way to accomplish this is to create! In the process of writing, drawing, dancing, cooking, and other creative pursuits, you recognize that your intelligence, spirit, and inner beauty have huge merit and come from you and no one else!

As far as physical things go, you should also get enough sleep and exercise. With sleep, your body produces new collagen and turns over skin cells. This ultimately helps prevent skin sagging, wrinkles, and fine lines — not to mention a worse disposition.

Aerobic exercise enhances circulation and provides a healthy glow to your skin. Furthermore, it helps clear your pores, limit inflammation in your body and prevent fine wrinkles. The beauty benefits of exercise are immense and cannot be exaggerated.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think everyone, regardless of the way they look, should put self-love first.

In the era of Facetime and Snapchat filters, it is very easy to envision ourselves as someone different. There is nothing wrong with envisioning potential changes to ourselves, but we need to recognize that plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures are not a substitute for loving and accepting ourselves for who we are.

Striving for self-improvement is to be commended, and aesthetic procedures can provide some self-improvement changes. However, the lack of self-acceptance is unhealthy, and plastic surgery almost never changes that. You must first learn to love yourself and accept yourself for who you are. Only after that happens, will the benefits that arise from aesthetic procedures truly be healthy and beneficial for you.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.” — Forrest Gump

Life has a way of bringing unforeseen challenges to all our lives. Mine has certainly been no different. I have encountered challenges in my personal and professional life that seemingly arose out of nowhere.

Strong faith, amazing family support, and an incredible network of friends have helped me through all of life’s challenges. It would be foolish to think that life won’t throw additional challenges my way, but rather than try to prevent the inevitable, my goal is to cultivate the relationships that have allowed me to deal with my previous challenges.

How can our readers follow you online?

Readers can visit my website if you want to learn more about me and the work I do. I’m always happy to speak more about this subject.

I’m also part of a podcast with two other amazing surgeons. It’s called “3 Plastic Surgeons and a Microphone” and you can listen to it on Apple Podcast or anywhere you listen to your regular podcasts. We discuss the basics of plastic surgery, trends, myths, and more, and I have a great time recording it with the other surgeons. Check it out if you’re interested in aesthetic surgery and tips!

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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