Dr. Laurence Kirwan is a Board Certified plastic surgeon in Norwalk, CT. He is a recognized international leader in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery of the face, breast and body. Listed as one of the “Top 20 Plastic Surgeons Worldwide” by Vogue magazine, in addition to being featured in over 100 international magazines and newspapers, it’s safe to say Dr. Kirwan knows what he’s doing when it comes to beautifying the face and body.
Hailing from England where he graduated in Medicine from Manchester University, Dr. Kirwan spent several years in Australia and the U.S. thereafter training in General Surgery. As he was rotating through a plastic surgery unit, he became “absolutely fascinated” at the breadth of surgeries that were done.
“I was used to seeing gallbladders, which all look the same,” Dr. Kirwan laughed, explaining this was his initial draw into the world of plastic surgery — feeling enamored by the vast amount of procedures where each one is drastically different from the next.
He explained the time it takes to do a plastic surgery operation is something “almost no surgeon talks about,” the love of his work eminent by his tone of voice. “It’s a speciality that is exciting to improve the quality of people’s lives,” he states of his handiwork. Comparing the plastic surgery sector with general medicine, Dr. Kirwan points out that the interaction between himself and his patients are generally positive, whereas in a lot of medicine, conversations aren’t necessarily about preserving the quality of life, “which can be a difficult result to deal with,” he says. “It’s a very positive interaction and field which I am very fortunate to be in.”
Setting up practices in Fairfield County and New York City, Dr. Kirwan also had a practice in London, England for 20 years. “It’s a bit like being a fashion designer,” Dr. Kirwan says of his profession. “The fact that every body and every face is different, you really are tailoring the procedure to the patient,” he states. “From a personality point of view,” he continues, “My patients are typically interested in art and fashion and beautiful things in life, which is very much what I am drawn to considering the creative elements of plastic surgery.”
He explains it’s very important to have an “aesthetic eye” in this field, being able to distinguish what looks right and what looks wrong. “Like any great artist, there is a lot of technique involved,” he states. “A surgeon is a technician but also an artist. At the end of the day, we’re in the business of aesthetics.”
Touching a bit on trends of plastic surgery, Dr. Kirwan discloses the big trends as of late have been non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures, including lip flips, cheek augmentations, and botox, which he (and presumably all other plastic surgeons) commend the Kardashians and reality TV for. “They accelerated the techniques that we do,” he stated of the wildly popular Kardashian family, crediting them for procedures like botox, Emsculpt, muscle toning, body tightening, face tightening and getting rid of cellulite.
It’s no secret that social media has driven more plastic surgery procedures, as well, especially for millennials. “In the 1990s, it was mainly people between the ages of 50 and 60 getting work done,” Dr. Kirwan said. “Now, people in younger age groups who aren’t technically ‘aging’ are simply looking to be a better version of themselves.”
Common requests coming from the younger generations are nose jobs, plumping their lips and correcting frown lines.
“I think vanity is a good thing,” he said of the restoration and altering of the human body. “If we’re not vain, what’s the alternative? Does that mean we don’t go to the gym? That we aren’t as healthy as we can be?” He demonstrates that looking good improves the general environment, making the argument that seeing someone else (or something else) looking their best encourages you to do the same.
He’s right. When you go to a fancy neighborhood in New York City for example, and everyone is dressed up on their way to dinner, that somehow elevates your mood, and you begin paying closer attention to the way you look. “Being vain is nothing more than a desire to take care of ourselves,” he emphasizes. “We should all strive to be vain. And that doesn’t mean selfish or narcissistic — being vain is being the best we can be.”
Talking about the benefits of plastic surgery, number one is improving the patient’s quality of life, Dr. Kirwan affirms. The adage, “When you look good, you feel good” couldn’t ring truer in this regard. If you are someone experiencing back pain from too large of breasts, for example, a breast reduction will reduce back pain and neck pain, reduce rashes underneath the breast, improve your body shape, and help you dress appropriately, he explains.
“A lot of women have trouble getting matching outfits if they have large breasts,” Dr. Kirwan said. “It can be a real aspect of embarrassment, especially for younger women. After the breast reduction, they’re able to exercise properly, improve their level of confidence, and literally feel lighter and happier.”
When it comes to the ever popular “Mommy Makeover,” Dr. Kirwan says the tummy tuck is typically the first thing moms want done after giving birth. “Doing a tummy tuck prevents curvature of the spine and re-tightens the abdominal muscles which creates an improvement in core strength,” he says. “Nothing in the gym will pull the abdominals like a tummy tuck will.”
As for what gets requested from both men and women? Face lifts. Dr. Kirwan clarifies that “we travel through life lively,” aging without thinking we are aging, and a lot of times not even noticing. “And then we suddenly come to a point where we feel and see changes which can really only be corrected by surgery,” he says. This includes things like saggy mouth, skin looseness, loss of muscle tone and wrinkles and fine lines.
All of the above mentioned can effectively be treated with a facelift. “The facelift is permanent,” Dr. Kirwan declares. “Even though you will continue to age, you’re always going to look chronologically younger with a facelift.”
As for his practice specifically, Dr. Kirwan states that he’s continued to change over the years, always looking at new ideas and ways to improve the practice — from his own work, literature, and other surgeons. Some of those “improvement” examples include doing tummy tucks without drains, giving women breast lifts without implants, and understanding how to do body contouring so there aren’t visible scars. “It’s unbelievable the changes that patients have,” he says. “It leaves them speechless. It’s a psychological reset when they look at themselves in the mirror, and I’m proud to be constantly improving upon my techniques.”
If you’re considering plastic surgery of any type, Dr. Kirwan advises to see more than one plastic surgeon to ensure you feel completely comfortable with your choice of care, making sure you’re on the same page and everyone is sure about the plan of surgery and how best to achieve it. This way, you’re able to see more than one set of results and really understand the different styles of practice. “You have to choose the practice that suits you best,” he counsels.
“It’s unbelievable the changes that patients have,” he says. “It leaves them speechless. It’s a psychological reset when they look at themselves in the mirror, and I’m proud to be constantly improving upon my techniques.”