New Year, New You. Dr. Sean Kelishadi gives us his insight on how to become the best version of you in 2019.

Raven Duran

Sean Kelishadi is no stranger to transformation. As a world-renowned plastic surgeon Sean has been leading the industry of total-body transformations for his clients for over 20 years. As an expert on the topic, we thought we would sit down with him to discuss his ideas on the best way to create lasting changes for 2019 in mind, body and spirit. 

New year new you topic. Some questions are about you personally and some are about your best pieces of advice for leaders.

I will just go ahead and jump right in. What are you doing now in preparation for the new year?

On a personal level, a haircut tomorrow. I got a couple nice pieces of clothing that my stylist sent for me that I love. My real birthday is tomorrow so my wife had a bday party last weekend for me. I am going to be getting a few new pieces to add to my collection to create my look for next year. I am going to be working out with my personal trainer and try and be good with my diet. I am enriching my mind by reading book outside of medicine. Right now I am reading The Odyssey again (greek mythology which is cool). I am obviously excited about the NFL playoffs and the Superbowl. I am also enthusiastic about the Lakers ups and downs.

Nice. You actually touched on my next question. What do you recommend for people in terms of books or authors?  Is there anyone you admire that you recommend people to familiarize themselves with?

It depends on what phase of life people are in and what they are hoping to achieve. If people don’t like to read they can always download books for audio. One of the favorite book I have listened to is “The Magic of Thinking Big”. It is a really good book about mindset. If you think of something your brain reinforces that thought. If you say you’re tired, your brain will reinforce it. As an example, if you smile, then say I feel like shit, it doesn’t work. Another book I like is “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. That is a great book. One of my mentors had me read that when I was in residency because I worked hard.  I am big into romance so I want to read “Farewell to Armsagain because Ernest Hemingway is one of my favorite authors. Lastly, I love “The Da Vinci Code” it makes you think outside the box. because it you makes you realize there is more to your surroundings than meets the eye.

Is there anything you are planning on implementing into your practice in 2019 that you weren’t doing in 2018?

Yes, actually there is.  Just like the Brazilian butt lift and how I am injecting fat in the buttocks, I am also injecting fat in the hips, hands, face, lips, etc.  It is the ultimate filler because it can last forever. With fat there is a lot to still be learned though; there are growth factors and other magical things that happen when you inject fat, and there is room for a lot to be figured out. For this reason, there is an intelligent fat advisory board that I am a part of. There are kits that our company came up with that help people isolate fat whether they want the fat as a filler or the growth factors/stem cells based on what they’re doing or treating. I am really excited about this because it is going to be very doable and a better way of injecting fat. It is going to be precise, the fat will last longer, and you know what you are getting so you get more predictable results. I’m going to be one of the first in the country to offer this. The fat kits are called intellifat. That is one thing I will be incorporating. The other thing we will be using is 3D imaging.

Amazing. What are pointers you have for people looking to make big or small improvements in 2019?

It is so much easier said than done. The reality is, I think the more you try to achieve something the more likely it is that you are to actually do it. Start by writing it down because then you have a goal to follow. If you are doing a new diet, you should get a fitness app and put it on on your phone. Keep track of what you eat. One of my patients is competing in a bikini modeling competition. She started doing this and she is shredded now. It takes 8-9 weeks of sticking with a plan. The first couple weeks your body is in shock and you’re depressed. You need to write down what you’re eating. I found even though I was meeting my calorie goal during the day, at night I was cheating and eating things likes cookies and pretzels. Even though I was good during the day, at night I was screwing everything up. It is kind of neat to hold yourself accountable.  Eating a healthy diet is important. I became a vegan recently. I love it and it works well for me. Everything is clean and it has detoxed my body. Be on a regular exercise program that appeals to you. You don’t need to do something dangerous. Do something you enjoy! You should also wear sunscreen. We live in SoCal, and we get a lot of sun exposure. There are UV rays even when it is cold outside. If you are thinking of making drastic changes, come in with the best version of yourself to the office for the best results. When you have made the lifestyle changes, you have in effect invested in your future. The better you look before, the better I can make you look afterwards. But, you have to invest in yourself first!

Given that exercise is a big resolution, how can people balance exercise with surgery to get their best results?

The human body is not designed for just continuous wear and tear. I don’t care what kind of athlete you are. Whether you are a pro basketball player, or you lift weights, or run. Repetitive movements will have some effect on joints. This is why I change up my personal workout routine. Most of my patients are avid fitness enthusiasts so for me it is about providing people with the best experience possible. I am big on pain control and getting people back to their normal lives as soon as possible.  Let’s face it, the sooner people look like the better version of themselves, the better I look. The sooner someone bounces back from surgery it is a great advertisement for me. I use rapid recovery protocols and board certified anesthesiologists. I talk to them constantly about what we want to use in the operating room pre and post surgery to help with recovery. Most of my breast augmentation patients are usually off pain meds in 2-3 days. My liposuction patients are on meds for 5-10 days. My tummy tuck patients are usually 5-10 days as well.  They are not on pain meds long, but you have to give the body time to heal. For instance, I told one of my extremely fit patients she had to take 1 month off of weightlifting to give her body a break while she recovered from breast augmentation. While a crazy idea for her at first, she said she was so happy to take the time off and it as the best thing she has done for herself besides the augmentation. She now incorporates days off into her fitness routines. Your body needs to recover. If you don’t take time off it will catch up to you and cause some kind of devastating injury. I think plastic surgery is a good break from the normal routine. People can take a couple weeks off without detriment. A lot of people are worried about gaining weight, but surgery is stressful and the body is healing and in a catabolic state, so you can eat what you normally eat (or more) and you will lose weight. You will have an amazing metabolism for a couple weeks.

That is informative. It makes sense that while your body is healing. That is good news for a lot of people. That is probably a large misconception that you might gain weight with surgery.

Yes, a lot of my patients are fit.     

Let’s say you have someone who wants a full body makeover for 2019. They want several procedures. Do you recommend them to get all the work done at once, or would it be better to get a plan for the year set up?

There are some people who get a major makeover done, but it is rare they get everything done at once.  Most of my patients are very fit and motivated already but something gave away after weight loss or pregnancy for example. It is usually one or two things, such as the skin around their neck got loose or their breasts deflated.  People take care of themselves for the most part and they’ll just want to improve. In the ideal world where we aren’t worried about anesthesia, it would be nice to do one procedure at a time, but most people are working to live their lifestyle and they can’t take more time off. Most people barely have time off for one surgery. I try to do what I can safely in one sitting. I try not to spend more than 6.5 hours of time on one person because my own attention span isn’t good after 7 hours. Also, for the patient, with anything over 8 hours of time in surgery, the risk of blood clots is greater. I try to schedule a combo of procedures that don’t take more than 6.5 hours at a time. That gives the patient the best outcome. If it requires more time than that, I may spit up the procedure. I will usually do one procedure and then another 3-6 months down the road in order to give the body time to heal.

Are there things that you have found work well for speeding up the healing process after surgery?

In general, everyone goes through the same physiological stuff.  The first couple days you are really swollen; at a week 40% of the swelling is gone; at a month about 60-80%  of the edema is gone. There is really nothing that speeds that up. What we can do is speed up the comfort level and range of motion. People should stay hydrated as it reduces nausea. Gatorade or Powerade also helps to replenish electrolytes. I also tell patients to eat like they normally do but with good healthy food. This is not the time for a starvation diet. Your body needs the nutrients to make collagen and new scar tissue. Get plenty of rest. Don’t get surgery at a time when you are stressed out. This is YOUR time for a week or two. Those are the most important things.

For the people who are ready to make some changes in 2019, and have never done anything cosmetic before, what are some good intro treatments for skincare? (maybe less invasive than botox?

I recommend people to get a hydrofacial, because it is a medical grade facial with water and you can hydrate while getting a light extraction with a peel. If you want something more in depth you can do Vivace; that is radiofrequency coupled with microneedling which gives the skin a nice glow and tightens the skin. And I do love fillers and botox. Botox helps reduce wrinkles. Fillers are important because people who are healthy lose volume and bone density in their face.  Fillers look natural around the eyes, lips, and cheeks. There is actually going to be a new filler coming out next year but I cannot say the name of it yet. Also the intelifat gives us a new dimension to the armamentarium of fillers. Medical grade skincare regimens are also important because you are investing in the glow of your skin.

What product do you recommend people try this year?  How can people find those products?

I like the skincare from germany called Babor. I love it because they were one of the first to come out with an oil based cleanser and it is medical grade. They have been around since the 60’s.  They have different steps for various types of skin. They have something called ampuls. I love the ampul treatments because the ampul is the most pure form of product because it has no preservatives.  Most of the creams have preservatives because it keeps them stable when they interact with molecules so they don’t degrade. An ampoule is a pure form of some kind of product and they put it in a frozen glass vile. It is really amazing. I started doing face masks. I love their silverform mask and it comes with 3 different serums. The kit comes with 5 masks, so you can do one a week or invite friends and have a mask party lol.  And as a foundation, everyone needs a good cleanser, moisturizer, and toner. We can show people on our website or talk to them on the phone and then ship to them what they need.

There is a lot of misinformation and many misconceptions about collagen. Many products claim to be collagen based. Is collagen growth possible?  

I don’t think ingesting collagen makes more collagen. It may make them feel better but I have not seen any scientific studies to confirm this.  There may be something that makes them feel rejuvenated. If you eat meat, it doesn’t mean you will have bigger muscles. I don’t know how any drink may affect you but, there are creams or skin treatments that may help you stimulate collagen because of the signals they turn on.  I think there needs to be more evidence but my personal opinion is no.

So there are more tried and true methods to increase collagen by stimulation? (via microneedling etc.)

Yes.  Some of our fillers are biostimulatory so they help you create more collagen. Sculptra help your body make more collagen. That first came out in the 80’s with the AIDS epidemic and we didn’t want them judged by society.  Afterwards, we thought if it helps them, it could help other people who are not sick.

Wow, that is awesome. What is your personal mantra for 2019?

“Where there is a will there is a way.” The energy you put out there will return to you so you have to believe in what you’re doing and focus on your goals. If you are really dedicated nothing will stop you. There will be hiccups and detours along your path, but that is the fun of it all. That is part of the process. We cannot control how it goes. If you believe in something, the things you can control will fall into place. Everything you are doing subconsciously is trying to make it happen. I want to be happy, healthy, successful, and I want to be the best version of myself as a human being, as a husband, a son, a father, and as a friend. I am always trying to improve myself because when you go to bed at night knowing you did your best, it is the best feeling in the world.

Absolutely. People look to you for motivation or inspiration. Leading by example probably makes your patients feel at ease. What is the easiest way for people to get in touch with you?

I am very easy to get in touch with. You can call my office, email, send a DM, find me on Twitter, find me on Facebook, or whatever you need to do. I am the most accessible plastic surgeon and nobody beats my customer service. My patients are like family so I treat them like that. I do spend a lot of time with patients because that is what I love to do.

Photographed by: Shannon Laurine