For New York plastic surgeon William Lao, MD, having a background that includes training across two continents has helped him hone his techniques in a unique way that he says ultimately benefits his patients. “I grew up in Taiwan,” he says. “I came to Canada for high school and then to the United States for my undergrad, medical school and residency. When I finished my medical training, I went back to work in Asia for four years at a large academic hospital. I’m board certified in Plastic Surgery in both Taiwan and the United States; and I bring those experiences and techniques with me to treat patients of all ethnicities.”
Dr. Lao says the three procedures where he most employs an Asian influence are rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery and breast surgery.
“For Caucasian rhinoplasty, common concerns are a big hump and a droopy tip. The solution is to shave off that hump and elevate the tip and rotate it. But in Asian rhinoplasty it is almost the opposite. You want to increase the height, sometimes the tip is too short or upturned and needs to be derotated and lengthened, so it’s almost the opposite. The techniques are very different.”
Double Eyelid Surgery
For Dr. Lao, the demand for double eyelid surgery amongst his Asian patients keeps him very busy. “Most Caucasian patients are born with double eyelids, or a natural upper eyelid crease. But only about 50 percent or less of Asians are born with it. My patients are not trying to appear like their Caucasian counterparts in any way, but having that crease is a sign of beauty in most Asian cultures. So, for many patients who don’t have it, they want to make that subtle change without altering their ethnic appearance.”
For breast augmentation procedures, Dr. Lao says the most popular breast augmentation approach in Asia is the transaxillary method, which leaves the incision mark in the armpit.
“In Asia, both saline and silicone breast implants can be placed through an incision made under the armpit using an endoscopic dissection versus the most common approach in the U.S., which is under the breast.” Dr. Lao says it can take longer and is a more technically difficult approach, but his Asian patients and patients with darker skin tones prefer hiding the scar inside the armpit crease due to pigmentation issues with scaring.
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