The links between the worlds of art and plastic surgery are powerful and prevalent. It’s not a coincidence that many practicing plastic surgeons have a background in art, which classically includes studying the human figure via drawing and sculpture. To successfully create a beautiful work of art, it’s important to have a rich understanding of human anatomy and this holds true for both art and plastic surgery (1). Plastic surgeons have to be able to visualize the changes to a human form in the way a sculptor would. From the perspective of the surgeon-as-artist are the plastic surgeons who market their activities in artistic terms (including surgery practices with “sculpt” in their title, and those offering body contouring (as the 4D Hi-Def VASER Liposuction) and facial sculpting (Buccal fat removal, FaceTite and NeckTite, for instance). More typical are the many plastic surgeons who have an active interest in art (practicing as painters and sculptors).
Dr. De La Cruz attending a sculpting workshop instructed by Phillippe Faraut in New York City.
While a plastic surgeon’s education and training provide an understanding of anatomy and how proportion, symmetry, and balance work together to create an attractive aesthetic, there is another resource that can help further enhance plastic surgical skill: sculpture. Nowadays, plastic surgery programs are offering art classes to increase the understanding of facial symmetry and the aesthetics of the human form through art (2). There are several reasons a plastic surgeon might want to obtain formal training in figurative sculpture (sculpting artworks that are clearly derived from real object sources). The most obvious reason would be to perform better liposuction of the human body while performing High Definition VASER Liposuction procedures. Having a more detailed understanding of musculoskeletal anatomy from a sculptor’s perspective can only enhance plastic surgeons’ analysis, treatment plan, and results when performing body contouring procedures. Plastic surgery is a combination of art and science. This discipline allows plastic surgeons to help patients with the mindset and eye of an artist, and the precision of a scientist.
(1) “Figurative Sculpture and the Cosmetic Surgeon”. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/news/figurative-sculpture-and-the-cosmetic-surgeon/
(2) Wendland Tegan. “Sculpting Plastic Surgeons”. http://kimbernadas.com/artist-press/sculpting-plastic-surgery/