Dr. Raj Kanodia is a leading plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California and specializes in noses and injections. His reputation for enhancing beauty brings patients from across the globe and spans generations. Dr. Kanodia has 34 years of experience in his field and demonstrates a vast appreciation of beauty in all forms. During his career, Dr. Kanodia has performed over 7,000 nose enhancements, injects about 60 patients every week, and teaches at several conferences each year.
How did you decide to become a plastic surgeon when you were in medical school?
It is an interesting story. I am very obsessed with beauty. When something is artistically beautiful and pleasant, it evokes an emotion inside when you look at a flower or face. I choose my patients based on how I can enhance their existing beauty. A person’s face is like a good painting where I can do tiny bumps or tips to improve the artwork.
Did you have role models to study these techniques?
I prefer to use the term master. One of the professors I knew in medical school was Dr. Medney Tardy, an expert in his field. I also did a fellowship with Dr. Parkes. During this time, he did 250 noses every year and I was able to observe how a master’s hands move.
What is your specialty?
My expertise is in noses and injections. The thing about noses is that most plastic surgeons worldwide perform what is called an open rhinoplasty, where they do reconstruction with an outside incision. I distinguish my technique by doing the work from inside the nose to enhance the structure. I subtly enhance the nose so that it does not appear as if a patient has had work done. A major benefit of my technique is that it does not leave telltale scars.
How did you learn this different type of procedure?
Interestingly, the technique I use was performed all the time until 25 years ago. What I am doing now is nothing new. Back then, one of my colleagues said that it was difficult to teach closed rhinoplasty and the learning curve among doctors was very difficult. Because of this, the technique changed so that outside incisions were made and the skin was peeled back, which was much easier to learn and perform.
In my opinion, open rhinoplasty should only be reserved for people who suffer serious injuries or for patients who require reconstruction of the nose after two or three previous rhinoplasties. Additionally, plastic surgeons that do the open procedure look at the structure of the nose once they make the incision. They feel obligated to do more work than may be necessary. When that happens, the procedure takes much longer and more trauma is inflicted to the tissue.
The key phrase I like to use is just a little. Most of the people who come to me like the nose they have. The art is to refine what they have, not drastically change it. I use finesse when sculpting the existing structure, instead of cutting on the outside or using grafts. I find it unacceptable to inflict a scar on a patient. The wisdom is if you take a beautiful patient, it’s much like taking a Rembrandt painting and doing tiny touch-ups. There are no standard rules of beauty, like with geometry.
How long is the healing period?
It is good if a patient can take six days off from work. I make sure to ice my patients before starting any work. Less cuts also means less trauma, so they will heal faster and better. Patients don’t want to be stuck healing for four weeks. Who has time for any of that?
What is the ratio of female to male patients you see?
While the national standard is split 80/20, I see ratio split at 65/35 in my practice. Of course, I work with countless actors, models, and celebrities. However, I also serve athletes in basketball, football, and hockey. Since the nose protrudes farther from the body, there is a higher likelihood of sports injuries. I also consult with patients from all over the world and have quite an influx of business from Moscow.
What is your second passion?
My second area of expertise is in designing the contour of the face. About 15 or 20 years ago, Botox and safe fillers became popular. Fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane are safe because they are reversible and the body recognizes them as natural substances, unlike silicone. Fillers and Botox are like using different paints; you have to be an artist to use them correctly and effectively.
Injection is a very artistic endeavor; it is enhancing what God gave us. The thing with using injectables is that you do not want to freeze the face. If you go to the wrong doctor, it is like getting a $2.00 painting from Kmart. Many people do not realize the difference in the quality of injectors. Anybody can inject filler, but the aritst makes the difference. Do you inject close to the skin or closer to the bone? Do you want duck lips or sensuality?
Fat supports several layers of the skin in the face. That fat starts to dissipate with age and regular exercise. You can notice the concave surfaces in someone who is thin or recently lost a lot of weight. Restoration makes it look like the face has not lost weight with the rest of the body. The first course of treatment is 1 cc of filler. A patient can come back in a couple of months for reevaluation and further restoration, if warranted.
Do people skip facelifts if they have great injections?
Yes. Injections and Botox help combat the downward pull of gravity to prevent the need for facelifts. I have many patients who do not want facelifts in their forties but may reserve the option for later in their sixties. You can also combine a facelift with injections. Facelifts pull the skin, so two to three weeks after the procedure, I supplement with fillers.
Some people still want a facelift in their forties. It really depends on the patient. The wisdom is not to wait until the age of 50 to start thinking about getting work done. It is best to consult with an artistic doctor in your twenties or thirties. Some people naturally have more intense facial expressions and Botox injections can actually train someone not to be so expressive that it results in damage.
Therefore, Botox is very helpful for the future as a preventative measure. Are there different fillers for different age groups?
That is a great question. Younger patients require thinner fillers with hyaluronic acid, administered closer to the surface of the skin. I avoid products like Radiesse or Sculptra, as they are not natural and cannot be reversed. On the other hand, fillers like Restylane, Voluma, and Perlane can be neutralized. I use Voluma and Perlane on older patients and inject closer to the bone. It helps to think of the layers of skin as pages in a book. You have to consider where the placement will provide the greatest benefit.
Fillers last about a year and Botox lasts for about four months. If the Botox lasts longer and the patient’s face is frozen for the first month or two, it means the treatment was too strong. Celebrities often say, “I don’t want any wrinkles.” Rubbish. If you are an actor, you have to be angry and express emotions. If someone wants that result, I tell them to go elsewhere.
Dentists offer Botox and fillers these days. What is your opinion on this trend?
Anyone can do injections, but would you really want someone who is not an artist or has not made this their specialty? One way to spot an expert is to observe how a doctor dresses and takes care of their body. It may tell you how they take care of their patients or approach their line of work.
Have you found any common trend for young people wanting alterations?
Very beautiful girls come into my office and I make sure to compliment them. They typically want refinement, not change. Again, I see my work as restoring Rembrandts.
You are an example of great success. How do you define it for yourself and address it for current medical students?
Life is a journey and you need a vision and goal for the future. I learned early on to put a smile on peoples’ faces. That is what I accomplish through my work by enhancing the confidence of my patients. People come back to me years later and say, “I’m so glad I did that procedure with you.” Actually, some of my former patients bring their older teenagers to see me.
You also have a product line. Can you tell us more about that?
My product lines are Amla and Ayur-medic and they offer 30 different products. The Ayur-Medic line contains ayurvedic herbs, Western, and homeopathic ingredients, while the Amla line contains amla fruit as the main ingredient, known scientifically as Emblica Officianalis. I consulted with German and Indian Ayurvedic doctors to develop this line of products.
There is extensive information about the amla fruit in scientific literature. Indians have used this fruit as a food and as a paste for over 5,000 years. Two of my products are a moisturizing cream and a morning pill to help detoxify the body. The beauty of the amla fruit is that it promotes beauty inside and out.
Are those product lines for specific age groups or can anybody use them?
The products are not age-specific and youngsters can take the amla pills. The amla fruit is the elixir of life or nectar of life. It is a perfectly balanced fruit.
You are a very busy professional. Do you have time to take care of yourself or have any daily rituals to stay healthy?
One of my definitions of becoming and remaining successful is that you have to take care of yourself. We all make mistakes in our life journey. We take care of our family, home, patients, and then neglect ourselves, especially when we become successful and stay busy. When you do not take care of yourself, you are not in the best position to give the most to your clients or patients.
I work out seven days a week and have four different trainers for Pilates, Yoga, weightlifting, and flexibility. Our bodies lose flexibility and our bones get hard as we age. I realized that while Botox and injections are good, exercise is what makes us great. It is also about maintaining positive health — not just good health. Positive health means thinking ahead and preventing future damage. You cannot substitute positive health with anything, no matter how rich, beautiful, or healthy you are.
In the same breath, you also have to eat right and put the best fuel in your machine, such as water, greens, salads, fresh fish, and fine organic foods, while avoiding chemicals, soda, sugars, and fats. You can have a few carbs but maximize the amount of green, leafy vegetables. I grow most of my fruit and vegetables in a huge garden and spend about 15 hours a week planting, pruning, shaping, and propagating plants. I also work with fragrances and rare plants. The amazing fragrance of the Champa flowers in my office is what patients smell when they first arrive. Not only is it a beautiful scent but it also relaxes my patients.
Physical wellness is working out, while nutritional wellness is eating the right foods. Total mind, spirit, and body wellness is vital. If your spirit is unhealthy, it shows in your skin and eyes, no matter how much work you have done. Having a relationship with God gives comfort during stressful times. Where you derive your strength from works as an insurance policy on how you deal with the ups and downs in life.
How many hours of sleep do you get?
The hours vary between six to nine hours a night, depending on what I have scheduled the following day. I like my sleep and try to get eight hours the night before surgery, which is twice a week. It is unfortunate that sleep is not a priority in our high-intensity world.
For further information on Dr. Kanodia, his practice or his product lines, please visit www.drkanodia.com.
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