Sam Rizk, MD, FACS  Exclusive Interview – ‘It’s Very Important That We’re Always Looking To The Future’
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Sam Rizk, MD, FACS is an internationally renowned expert in the complex field of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery based in New York. He has written and lectured extensively on current concepts related to facelifts, rhinoplasties, neck lifts, and other facial plastic surgery procedures, and is frequently contacted by colleagues and worldwide media to offer his unique opinions. Named as one of New York City’s top plastic surgeons, Dr. Rizk is a Fellow of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Sam Rizk As Cover Story – November 2023 Edition

Please share your background. 

I’m a very creative person and have always loved art, even as a young boy. In high school and college, I studied fine arts and fell in love with sculpting. I worked mostly with clay, stone, and alabaster and drew inspiration from the classics—Lysippus, Michelangelo, Donatello. But my father was a doctor, and I found myself drawn to that world, too. It wasn’t until I got to medical school and became interested in facial anatomy that I realized I could combine my two interests and make a career out of sculpting faces. 

What do people usually not know about you?

People would probably be surprised to learn that I am a 3 gun competitor in the United States—it’s a centerfire pistol, rifle and shotgun event that integrates gun-handling skills with speed and accuracy. I like shooting because it combines math and physics with hand-eye coordination and controlled breathing. In many ways, it’s like surgery.

What sets you apart from your competitors in the industry and in life?

Patients come to me for a natural, subtle approach that celebrates who they are rather than glossing it over. From a surgical perspective, it’s incredibly important that I take a patient’s ethnicity into consideration. Some surgeons might say a nose job is a nose job, but to me, a rhinoplasty on a woman of African descent is an entirely different surgery than what I would perform on a man of Scandinavian descent. My goal is to give each patient the look they desire without losing the nuances that are unique to their culture and, ultimately, their identity. And I’m definitely a less-is-more guy. I’ve found that subtle, well-planned changes can make a really, really big impact. In many ways, my work is more like sculpture than surgery.

What are your upcoming major events – Unforgettable Moments or products/services that you want to promote/inform? 

I have worked very hard to develop a technique that has allowed us to eliminate the use of drains after facelift and necklift surgery. Instead, we use tissue glues which have been incredibly effective in reducing scarring and speeding up recovery time. Most of my patients are back to work in a week and camera-ready in two. Even a few years ago, this simply wasn’t possible. For this reason, many of my clients are very high profile.

What are your food preferences and physical attributes?

I generally eat very clean, but I won’t ever turn down a slice of farm-fresh apple pie served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. 

Your love life, relationships and family? 

Family is everything to me. We spend as much time as we can together and love staying active. My kids are very accomplished in martial arts, and my wife and I enjoy it, too. Not only does it keep the mind and body strong, but it teaches self-discipline, builds mental stamina, and cultivates a sense of inner calm and confidence. We also really enjoy playing tennis together. I picked it up recently and discovered that it’s a great way to keep my hand-eye coordination razor sharp.

What expert advice would you like to give?

To aspiring surgeons, I would say that you’re never done learning, never done refining your technique. Plastic surgery is a technology-driven discipline, so it’s very important that we’re always looking to the future. At the end of the day, innovation is what drives me to continue to enhance my results. 

And to anyone considering cosmetic surgery, my best advice—outside of selecting a board-certified (facial) plastic surgeon, of course—is to take the consultation process very seriously. No two surgeons are the same, so it’s imperative to choose one whose aesthetic values and surgical approach align with your expectations. This requires a considerable amount of time and research, but when you consider how many revision procedures I do for patients who are unsatisfied with the work of other surgeons (upwards of 50 percent!) it’s time well spent.

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