In a time when there is growing concern with problems associated with plastic surgery, this book is a pleasure to read. It presents a balanced and personal account of facial plastic surgery written in an erudite manner by a leading authority on the subject. Published as a book to give patients an insight into the multifaceted aspects of face-lifting it should actually be read by patients and surgeons alike.

With his co-author Vicki Steggall, the book is written in three parts: an initial analysis of the face, a historical discussion of the development of aesthetic plastic surgery and finally a synthesis of the patient, qualified aesthetic plastic surgeons and plastic surgery as in the world now. It is within these chapters that the author, Bryan Mendelson, reveals the depth of knowledge, skill, compassion and pure passion that he has for the subject of facial anatomy and aesthetics.

The journey through each section and chapter is prefaced by interesting quotes that make the reader reflect and anticipate the rest of the words to follow. The section on facial anatomy is a tour de force of developmental and comparative anatomy from an aesthetic viewpoint and the comparison of facial development from shark to ape to human is indeed one that is of major importance to understanding facial anatomy and ageing. Interspersed within the chapters are patients’ feelings regarding their face and the role of the facial plastic surgeon in helping them on their personal journeys. In looking at facial beauty and ageing the areas of psychology, anatomy and physiology are brought together. Mendelson draws on his experience as a plastic surgeon and a great anatomy tutor to bring these areas together.

The second part of the book is a real gem starting with the development of plastic surgery, reminding plastic surgeons of their roots from nasal reconstruction, facial reconstructions in the field of warfare to modern day face transplants. The development of face-lifting from its earliest beginnings in skin excision and ‘lunchtime’ facelifts to the complex composite facelifts is a delight to read and understand. To many the new techniques described in current publications will appear to be revisions of previously described techniques. The author himself, as a leading authority in this area, is able to demonstrate his depth of knowledge and experience with passion and modesty.

The last section is the synthesis of all that preceded, bringing in the patient, the surgeon and the world of plastic surgery. Mendelson shows how facial aesthetic surgery can make a real contribution to the individual and alleviate the problems patients ‘face’. In a time where there is much negative press and issues regarding plastic surgery Mendelson discusses the problems that patients have that lead them to seek facial surgery – showing how it’s not just vanity as he explores the underlying psychological experiences a patient undergoes in seeking facial treatment.

The ‘eyes of grief’, as explained from the patient’s perspective, give an insight to how the surgeon can help these patients. The role of the surgeon, patient and society is something that all surgeons, young and old, will be interested in reading. The book ends with an afterword on the ‘Mendelson method’ as he talks the reader through the facelift technique combining anatomy and historical knowledge as well as his personal credo in performing the procedure, allowing the reader to really understand the thought processes that Mendelson applies during the operation.

The section on facial anatomy is a tour de force of developmental and comparative anatomy from an aesthetic viewpoint

This is certainly a book that straddles many aspects of facial aesthetic surgery – and should be on the required reading list for those who are embarking into the field and those already established to allow them to reflect on the ever-changing ‘face’ of facial aesthetic surgery. This book should be read several times as it reveals different layers of knowledge as one peruses the pages. Mendelson and Steggall have produced a super book that is a real pleasure to read.

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Dalvi Humzah

West Midlands, UK.

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