In Hollywood having the perfect face is everything, and as most beauty experts know the nose is the central focal point that can make or break a great face. Thus Beverly Hills most famous cosmetic surgeon specialising in Rhinoplasty (cosmetic surgery on the nose) has almost become as famous as the celebrities he treats, Sought out by patients throughout the US and the world, the leading Board-certified cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Raj Kanodia, specialises in Rhinoplasty and Facial Rejuvenation; with a waiting list that includes the who’s who of the world.
He has performed over 9,000 rhinoplasty surgeries over three decades and his patients include top Hollywood stars, models, politicians and international royalty. Dr. Kanodia is known for his exclusive closed scarless rhinoplasty as well as facial contouring. He is also known for his unique skincare line, Ayur-Medic, which is based on his knowledge of Ayurvedic herbs and anti-aging compounds from his native homeland, India. And he is also building and furnishing one of the biggest homes in Beverly Hills, but we’ll save that for another feature. In the meantime, eniGma’s Editor-in-Chief Yasmine Shihata caught up with the celebrity surgeon at his glamorous Beverly Hills clinic for an exclusive interview.
Read on for the highlights of their fascinating conversation…
Tell us a bit about your rhinoplasty technique and how it differs from how most rhinoplasties are done?
My rhinoplasty technique is unique because we do everything from inside the nostril. That is why it’s called ‘closed finesse rhinoplasty.’ 95 percent of doctors around the world perform what are called open rhinoplasty procedures, whereby they cut at the bottom of the nose, then peel the whole nose, and restructure the anatomythat is close to skin; thus, everybody ends up with a scar at the bottom of the nose. It’s very invasive, very reconstructive, and the nose does not look like the person at all. Compared to my procedure, open rhinoplasty requires doctors to look at the anatomy structure and then stitch the nose, leaving it exposed for about five hours or more and the nose takes up to three to four weeks to heal. On the other hand, I finish the nose surgery in about an hour, and my noses heal in six days. On the sixth day, I remove the bandage and my patient can immediately go out in public for dinner or work.
Why aren’t more surgeons using the closed nose technique that you do?
About 25 years ago, open rhinoplasty started out as an experiment and became a teaching tool, because when you open the nose and peel the skin away it’s easier to teach younger students how to do a nose job. Closed rhinoplasty, however, has a much longer learning curve because the surgeon has to step away and allow the vision to go inside the nostril for students to observe. Basically, students in plastic surgery training don’t have enough time to receive enough training on noses because they are also required to learn how to do breast augmentation, liposuction, reconstruction and cancer repair etc. Simply said, the nose itself does not receive the needed attention. With that being the case, in order to teach them quickly, the open rhinoplasty procedure became the only teaching tool for noses. Of course, in very complex traumatic cases where the whole anatomy is completely distorted, resorting to the open approach may be the most appropriate. That being said, my personal philosophy is that when a beautiful young girl comes in, and her nose is beautiful but has a little bump, or it is just a little long and needs a minor adjustment, it should be treated with my closed rhinoplasty approach. That is one of the reasons why people come to me from all over the world. They always request not having a scar, and I am probably the only one who can do finesse rhinoplasty through the inside of the nostril and who can provide a method that guarantees a fast healing process. Thus, it becomes a very necessary method for people who don’t want scars and want to heal faster.
A lot of people who have nose jobs have folds near their nose when they smile, why is that?
The folds you are talking about are either due to the fact that the nasal bones were not narrowed properly, or they were not narrowed at all. In these cases, surgeons just narrowed the bridge, the tip of the nose, sculpted it and left the bridge alone. If you can narrow the bones and shift them much towards the center of the face – doing it very artistically – there should not be any tell-tale sign. That’s why my ‘finesse’ approach to rhinoplasty is the best. I am very targeted, very minimalistic in my approach to make sure that my patient, his/her relatives, husband, wife or friends would not know what we did, whilst also accomplishing face harmony and balance. My mantra is that I want to fool the mother’s eye, since she is the one who knows her children’s faces and noses very well. I tell my patient, “wow, your tip is beautiful, I won’t touch that; it’s just that your bridge is a little bit strong, so we will dial it down, and you are done.” So it’s just a little touch here and there.
Mothers always wonder, what is the right age for a child to have surgery?
I’ve been doing noses starting 14 years of age; it is actually very important to do this sort of surgery at a young age. Some 14 year old patients are intellectually and emotionally evolved and perform at the age level of 18 and 19 year old young adults. They look at photographs – now that there’s the selfie technology and all those photographic features – and don’t like things in their noses; like the bump, or the bubble’s tip. They can get really depressed about that. It affects their lives, affects their school experience, and it affects their growth. I see this a lot. So if it affects their psyche, they need to get it done. If they need the procedure, it’s best to do it at an early age and not waste time – in order to give them confidence. Again, as I keep repeating, most cases just need minor artistic adjustments and finesse.
I do a lot of rhinoplasty procedures for teenagers, specifically from ages 14 to 17. I have witnessed the enormous changes in their attitudes and smiles, and the overall confidence it brings to their lives. This confidence helps them feel that they can conquer the world and that nothing is holding them back.
You are very famous for your nose jobs, but do you do other cosmetic surgeries as well?
No, I only specialise in noses. I used to do all these other surgeries, such as breast augmentation, cheek implantation, and I am capable of doing them, but at the moment I have stopped. For example, I stopped cheek implantation because fillers now produce a wonderful effect without surgical interference. I used to do a lot of blepharoplasty, but then I found out that Dr. Michael Grog, is the best; he’s better than I am, so I refer patients to him. I find that one of my duties and responsibilities towards my patients is to refer them to the best doctor according to the specialisation. If a patient wants a breast augmentation, I refer her to doctor Fischer; if she wants a blepharoplasty, I refer her to doctor Grog and I do the rhinoplasty.
If it is a joint case, is it all done in one procedure?
Yes as that is best for the patient. In order to prevent patients from having to undergo several procedures, which would entail multiple dosages of anesthesia and surgical preparations, we as a team of doctors, and me being the senior surgeon, we carry on all procedures together in my center.
How much can you do now with injectables to avoid surgery?
My concentration is injectables to fine-tune the face and the anti-aging aspect of the injectables; whether its Botox or fillers. There’s a lot of art involved and that is what I specialise in.
I started practicing 39 years ago, and back then we did not have injectables, Botox or fillers. The only type of filler we had was silicone and that was not a good filler. I would say, that all the way up to the early 1990s, we were doing facelifts at the age of 45 and 50. Now we use Botox, which prevents a pull down on the muscles and prevents their crinkling. We also use fillers to replace the baby fat that exists under the muscles. When you put fillers to replace the fat loss, you will be able to preserve the contours of the face. Now, my attitude is that up to age 60 we can easily preserve and delay the facelift by 15 years. Thus, I am a very firm believer in maintaining natural contours, whereby facelifts can be delayed.
There are three anti-aging tools besides exercise, drinking water and healthy living, which are critical. In terms of injectables, Botox is very important and should be done every three to four months to avoid losing natural expression. The second tool is, Fillers; done in proper places to maintain the youthful contour of the cheeks, lips and jawline. If done two to three times a year, you’re replacing the lost baby fat. The third tool is lasers. There are mainly two types of lasers. One is to polish the skin and the other one is to tighten the muscle, particularly in the jawline and in the neck. Neck muscles should be handled with proper Botox. Though it is not a common practice amongst doctors to do the neck with Botox, it is a very important Botox procedure. If you do a clever Botox injection in the neck, you will be able to prevent the downward pull of the neck muscle and you will get the desired upward pull effect that you want. But about 95 percent of doctors don’t do neck Botox.
Can neck surgery therefore be prevented?
Yes, it can be prevented, if you start doing neck Botox at the of age 30, you can prevent it for at least 15 years. In terms of the laser technique for the neck, we like to use what is called Fractora. However, the treatment has to be continuous and consistent. For example, if you are 40 years old, you need one laser a year; if you are 45 years old, you need two lasers a year; and if you are 50 years old, you will need three lasers a year and so on. Again, it’s a preventative procedure that helps with the two other modalities, Botox and Fillers. To sum up, the three great anti-aging tools are Botox, Laser, and Fillers. Of course, the skin has to look polished and so for that, we have Clear and Brilliant and skin care products.
Have injectables now become as important a part of your business as the rhinoplasty?
Absolutely. I am considered on of the top injectors in the world, so in certain circles they want my expertise.
You also have a sought after skin care line, tell us about that ?
Amla is this Indian food which has been in Indian literature for thousands of years.
In literature, Amla is mentioned as the food of the Gods; it’s a miracle fruit, elixir of life, and it has been part of the Indian culture. It has been cooked with molasses and ghee in a paste whereby people consume one to two teaspoons a day for anti-aging. However, I realised that’s not the best way to ingest Amla for our purposes, so I went to some scientists and we created a pure extract that penetrates through the brain, heart, and liver cell membranes. I consider this a miracle because it is food based; and now I have mixed it with some other great ingredients like turmeric. I am also constantly changing the formula for better results. The other two herbs I added recently are called Mangista and Neem, which are considered natural antibiotics that constantly heal you and fight bacteria. I am very proud of it. I personally feel that every human being aged 14 and above should take Amla. It’s something I really strongly believe in and we sell it on our website. We ship worldwide.
We have also created a serum for the skin, a moisturising cream, and two pills; one for the morning like Amla and turmeric; and one for the evening which includes Amla and two other Indian herbs that help you relax and sleep. So instead of taking melatonin, you can take this herbal supplement, which is all natural and helps restore your cells and is a hundred percent natural. The University of Oslo in Norway, conducted a study on Amla which concluded that this natural fruit holds an antioxidant value index of 261, whereas pomegranate and blueberries both hold the value of four, and they are considered the most antioxidant fruits.
Tell us a bit about your professional journey and how you ended up with such notoriety in Beverly Hills…
I was raised in India and I came here to finish my schooling in plastic surgery in Chicago after the University of Norway. I came here to study under one of the most famous plastic surgeons in the world, Dr. Parkes, and I was so fortunate that he chose me as his last fellow. That launched my journey in Los Angeles. Working under Dr. Parkes, learning from the best was very important. That’s one of my philosophies in life: to be the best you have to work under the best. You evolve and develop your thoughts and techniques by learning from the master. If you go back to our ancient cultures, this is how you did it, whether you’re a flute player or a carpenter or a perfume maker. I was very lucky and fortunate to do the fellowship with doctor Parkes. Now I am a mentor to Dr. Duver, my pupil and he’s doing really well. He joined me about three years ago and I’m very proud of his success. I also used to teach and I used to be a consistent participant in conferences; about four major conferences every year, Monaco, Paris, London, Barcelona and everywhere.
Some surgeons fly to the Middle East and London to do surgeries. Is that something you do or do all your patients come to you here in Beverly Hills?
I do meet patients for consultation in different parts of the world, but surgeries are always performed in Los Angeles. In the past I’ve done some royal family members abroad, but now I feel that in order for me to deliver the best results they need to come here, since my whole team is here to maintain the rhythm. I believe these surgeries are like a symphony and the best symphony is right here in my center. Recently, I have been approached for a major possibility in Dubai. The ruler of Dubai wants to create the best Wellness Beauty Center in the world in Dubai. Dr. Fisher, Dr. Matlock and myself are the top three surgeons that he has chosen. At the moment we’re helping them recruit 27 other surgeons. Once the facility is built we will be traveling there. I believe the facility will be ready by 2020.