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Worth 1,000 Words: The Art of Aesthetic Medicine with Dr. Barry DiBernardo, MD
Dr. Barry DiBernardo is the Medical Director of New Jersey Plastic Surgery in Montclair, New Jersey. He is not only one of the best plastic surgeons in the United States but also an accomplished artist. 

“My job is to keep our practice at the forefront as one of the leading aesthetic plastic surgery practices in this country — striving for excellence in cosmetic procedures and in-patient care,” Dr. DiBernardo shared.

While working as a professional photographer in his teen years, he discovered a common thread among clients: 

“Everyone wanted to be retouched. Adults didn’t want to look the way they looked. I became interested in how people wanted to be changed,” Dr. DiBernardo explained. 

In about 1,000 words, we’re going to create for you a picture of Dr. DiBernardo and how he unites science and art through his medical aesthetics practice.

The Art of Science

Medical aesthetics is a visual craft with the human body as its canvas. 

“You have to have a vision of what you’re going to create at the end, not a list of cookbook steps. It’s a work in progress to get that visual,” Dr. DiBernardo added.

When you look at a photograph, you see not only the subject and what surrounds it, but you also sense a mood, theme and unwritten message. It makes you feel something. Similarly, what a patient sees in the mirror is not only fewer wrinkles or thicker hair. They see rejuvenation and feel a renewed confidence. In the mirror, they see art.

From Dr. DiBernardo’s view, “What we do is a mix of science and art. We combine the art part, changing the face and the skin, with the science and technology that make those changes possible and safe. We use a palette of ultrasound, lasers, injectables and other treatments and modalities, both surgical and non-surgical, to create sculpture on the skin, face, body, eyes or hair. It’s all very visual.”

Modern Aesthetics magazine says of aesthetics, 

“It is the art of recognizing the deeper impact that these procedures have on people; and we, as aesthetic physicians, have on the self-confidence and happiness of the patients we treat, and respecting and honoring that the impact is more profound than skin deep.”

When he started using lasers in the early 90s, Dr. DiBernardo discovered that the physics of light coming into the camera through the lens hitting the film was exactly the same physics as light coming out of a laser and hitting the skin. 

“That’s how I got started with lasers. That continued with research and development over the next 30 years. It’s how photography and medicine came together,” he shared. 

The Art of the Neck Lift: An Example

Dr. DiBernardo and his team offer MyEllevate, a minimally invasive procedure that adjusts the neck and jawline and tightens the skin for a more youthful appearance. There are no incisions or skin removal, so recovery time is brief. 

“It really is the culmination of many years of work toward getting a procedure to be minimally invasive and making the technology better and better. In the neck, there’s fat, loose skin and muscle hanging. Using just a local anesthetic in the office, we can get a good-looking, youthful neck in about half an hour,” Dr. DiBernardo shared, focusing on how MyEllevate replaces hours of surgery in a hospital.

“This started with a paper we wrote in an aesthetic journal in 1995 on minimally invasive neck lifts. As I was working on laser radiofrequency studies for skin tightening, Dr. Gregory Mueller made the neck lift less invasive. We later met and put it all together,” Dr. DiBernardo continued.

This procedure has become quite popular over time. 

“I’ve done several hundred of these procedures. In the last year, about 165 doctors have come on board. In January, we will be training in London and Paris,” Dr. DiBernardo added. 

The Art of Research

In addition to their practice, Dr. DiBernardo and his team run the New Jersey Clinical Research Center. He shared that this is where the team works on innovations to move the field forward. 

What’s ahead for Dr. DiBernardo? He says minimizing aesthetics procedures. 

“Energy has continued to be improved over the last 20 years with lasers, ultrasound, radio frequencies and plasma energy. Going forward, we’re continuing to minimize things. We’re even focusing on molecules—topical, penetrative, injected, or driven in with sound waves,” Dr. DiBernardo explained.

Another essential emerging topic is regenerative medicine, which can restore tissues and organs affected by disease, age and injuries. It has already opened the door to new, FDA-approved therapies. 

“The worst situation is you do your procedure, and the moment you’re done, the skin is still aging. If we can get the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin and the cells to become younger, it’ll enhance and preserve the procedures we’ve done,” Dr. DiBernardo said.

The Art of Benefiting Patients

Have you ever noticed something about the men who won US presidential elections? 

“Most of them had thick heads of hair. There was John F. Kennedy. Ronald Reagan was in his 70s, and he still had a full head of hair. The only presidents who didn’t have hair were the ones who weren’t elected, like Gerald Ford and Lyndon Johnson. Good hair means good confidence,” Dr. DiBernardo shared.

Dr. DiBernardo shared highlights of some of his patients and their outcomes. His practice has long-term effects on the confidence and well-being of his patients which he proudly shared. 

“We had a 16-year-old patient who had lost 550 pounds and had a significant amount of hanging skin. After three surgeries, his life changed. He gives inspirational talks now. Another patient, a 15-year-old girl, had a large growth on one side of her face. After several operations, we gave her a normal look. She went on to become a nurse practitioner. We change lives and help people not only look good but feel more confident,” he said. 

Conclusion

With the science of aesthetic medicine comes the art. Dr. DiBernardo sculpts and restructures his patients’ bodies to function better, look more youthful and unburden themselves of uncertainties and anxieties. He is happy to be the artist that makes that happen. 

As a practicing photographer, Dr. DiBernardo captures the beauty of nature around the world. As a doctor, he captures the natural beauty of his patients and brings it to the surface. For over 30 years, Dr. DiBernardo has enjoyed great success in aesthetic medicine.

He is an accomplished scientist. But he is also a great artist

Gaye Newton
Gaye Newton