Nip tuck. Getting a little work done. The way we talk about plastic surgery doesn’t do the profession any favors. Or the physicians who take their work seriously—as opposed to those who will do absolutely anything a patient requests. Maybe it’s the way that ‘plastic’ seems to overshadow the word ‘surgery’. Or the number of celebrity faces gone bad. But speaking to Jeremy Warner, MD FACS puts a whole new (forgive the pun) complexion on the matter.
“Within the world of medicine, plastic surgeons are known as the ‘marines of surgery,’ notes Dr. Warner. “We operate from head to toe, and work to restore deformities resulting from birth, trauma, or cancer, as well as change lives through aesthetic surgery. To be able to navigate, with anatomic mastery, through the entire human body and solve whatever problem came my way. has been a fulfilling journey, from repairing injured nerves, to breast reconstruction after cancer, to microvascular surgery to transplant tissue from a leg to a scalp, and everything in between.”
Born in Utah, Dr. Warner lives on the North Shore with his wife Brittany and their three young sons. And avid skier, surfer, fisherman and golfer, he has completed two full Ironman triathlon races and proposed to Brittany at the finish line after she completed the same event in 2017.
On staff at the University of Chicago Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Warner is double board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He studied at the George Washington University of Medicine, completed his residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and undertook an additional year of training in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Toronto.
Today, Dr. Warner specializes in facial surgery at The Warner Institute in Northfield, where he offers a range of surgical and nonsurgical procedures, including the SWIFT LIFT, an innovative technique of his own invention that reduces recovery time and is performed in the office under local anesthetic. But he still goes into battle, tackling cases that can be profoundly life changing as Mission Director of the Nepal Surgical and Medical Mission under the Face the Future Foundation.
Every year, he and a team of doctors travel to Kathmandu to provide medical care for children born with craniofacial differences. “While my practice in the U.S. is a mix of cosmetic and reconstructive work, going to Nepal is just simply jam-packed with complex reconstructive procedures that help solve problems for patients who would otherwise not have access to this type of care.”
For any physician, care is the foundation of the job. And that includes being a good listener and a good communicator. And all surgeons must be one part therapist, assessing a patient’s understanding of what they are about to submit to and making sure that they are doing it for the right reason.
“I was a psychology major in college and this has come to serve me extremely well in my field,” shares Dr. Warner. “Whether it’s for reconstructive or cosmetic reasons, the majority of procedures we perform are in some way shape or form elective—meaning it’s not an emergency to perform the procedures immediately. On top of that, plastic surgery is a field that lends itself to more creativity compared to other fields. There are almost always multiple solutions to a given problem, so we spend more time counseling patients on what those different options are, as well as a detailed discussion of the pros and cons related to each option.”
There is an art, one could argue, to any sophisticated surgical procedure. But while a coronary bypass may be exquisitely executed, a thing of beauty to the surgeon, it is hidden away from everyone else, including the patient. But plastic surgery is often a highly visible affair, a matter of aesthetics, and the surgeon must be in full control of the composition.
A cut here may dictate a cut there to achieve the proper balance. The art of his practice, says Dr. Warner, is a combination of “personal principles, view of the world, and very importantly—experience. These play out even as he performs as common a procedure as a rhinoplasty.
“There are many surgeons who see an ‘ideal’ nose in their minds and their goal is create that ideal nose in every patient,’ he observes. “I, along with many other rhinoplasty experts, have a different approach. I prefer to listen to what bothers the patient and tailor an individual plan to meet their specific goals. I treat many patients who don’t want their nose to look overdone or would prefer to keep a specific quality to it so that they don’t look like a totally different person. While I think an individualized approach takes more skill, it’s also more fun for me because it creates an endless amount of problem solving. And the work never gets boring!”