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plastic surgery
Submitted by Admin on Thu, 04/14/2016 - 12:28

I was raised in Gary, Indiana -- the birthplace of Michael Jackson.  So Michael’s life story, one of controversy and creativity, has intimately shaped my identity and purpose as a plastic surgeon.   I’ve often said that my calling was to ensure that there were “no more Michael Jacksons,” that is, individuals who ended up scarred or disfigured from elective facial cosmetic surgery.  For the first decade of my professional career, I worked diligently and passionately towards that humanistic goal by cultivating my artistic and technical expertise in cosmetic surgery, sharing knowledge through presentations at national and international meetings, and writing scholarly articles on the subject of ethnic plastic surgery. As I was growing a very successful practice and becoming a well-respected surgeon, Michael Jackson tragically died on June 25, 2009, thereby complicating my mantra of “no more Michael Jacksons” . . . sadly because Michael was no more.  His untimely death forced me to think deeply about the notion of “well-being disfigurement”, which I think of as invisible  identity scarring that distorts health. Michael’s life performance had been a dangerous dance (which he ultimately failed to master) of misaligned beauty, health, and identity.  The critical issue is that when poor health (mental or physical) takes center stage, it is often a show stopper.  

Michael’s well-being disfigurement was extreme, but unfortunately not rare. Many others suffer from the same misalignment. In the seven years since Michael’s premature death, my practice focus has dramatically shifted towards creating a healing atmosphere that aligns beauty, health, and identity. Last year, I successfully piloted a series of engaging self-discovery experiences as a part of our growing Artisan of Self (AOS) wellness program including an Intro to Genealogy workshop with board certified genealogist, LaBrenda Garret-Nelson and a Collage Portrait Identity workshop with mixed media artist, Ellington Robinson. It has been a slow uphill march against the cosmetic status quo as I migrate to a more holistic practice consciousness that is life-enhancing for my patients and me.  Poor health has an especially profound effect on the overall well-being of disparate groups across the globe.  The world in which we live is changing at a disorienting rapid pace with violence becoming increasingly commonplace.  Whether it’s a heart attack, terrorist attack or police attack; the end result is the same – folks are dying too soon. 

The time is ripe to RETHINK HEALTH. There is a growing need for culturally tailored forms of healthcare to respond more effectively to the complexities of our modern life.  I have long been enamored with the utopian ideals of Modernism and the idea of activating art + design for social transformation.   I believe that there is an exciting opportunity to spark a Health and Well-Being Revolution – ushered in through a beauty doorway.  It’s 2016 and I’m ready to leap ALL IN. 

Get ready for a Big Splash,
Dr. Oyd


PS – Here are some photos of our Artisan of Self workshops held at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center.  I want to thank Insana Collins, our photography superstar who always graciously responds when called... often at the last minute to capture the spirit of these well-being experiences in photographs. 



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Submitted by Admin on Sat, 08/09/2014 - 09:14

MODERN ART has been a guiding force as I have sought to navigate my ambivalence with the Eurocentric canon of plastic surgery.  The American artist, Robert Motherwell, once described the intent of his art as to unify the plastic and psychic.  This sentiment resonated deeply with me.  In many ways, the pattern of plastic surgery needs an undercurrent of psychic fragmentation in order to exist. We are often misled to think that focusing on “the body” in isolation can create sustainable improvement, that is, without integrating therapy to enhance the mind or spirit.  We all too readily accept the incomplete notion of physical change over metaphysical transformation.  I have found it exceedingly challenging to operate (literally and figuratively) within this divided space. 

I believe now is the time for an aesthetic revolution – a fight to unify the plastic and psychic! 


Robert Motherwell.
Africa 5, Screen-print on paper, 1970

Plastic (plas-tik): having power to give form or create  

Psychic (sahy-kik): of or relating to the human mind or psyche

Every day that we are blessed to arise and breathe is a new opportunity for growth.  As I look to the future, my growing edge extends well beyond the horizon of Western plastic surgery.  Like a collage artist, I have deconstructed my notion of plastic surgery into fragments.  In the fragments, recurring patterns have emerged.  And in the patterns, I have glimpsed a unified vision of what it means to be beautiful, healthy, and whole.

I’ve always been a conservative surgeon, adopting a less is more attitude.  I have dedicated myself to enhancing my knowledge for the when, how, and how much of elective facial plastic surgery.  In other words, the nuances of when a particular procedure is indicated, the technical understanding of how best to perform the procedure, and the cultural competency of knowing how much change is the right amount to achieve a natural result.  Somewhere along the path, however, my conservative tendencies slowly shifted towards reluctance.  The reluctance has been fueled by an enlightened realization that patients need much more than physical change to truly embrace their own beauty. 

A major part of my equation for achieving successful surgical outcomes has been dependent upon selecting the very best candidates.   I’m sure many of my patients would find it quite amusing to know that much of the consultation is a two-way process where we both are feeling each other out to see if it’s a good fit.  I essentially cherry pick those individuals with a combination of the right anatomy and right mindset.  Consequently, many individuals are turned away.  I have always felt that there was something much more than missed revenue in turning patients away—the opportunity for growth by turning them towards something else that may ultimately be life enhancing. 

I am excited to say that I have the “something else.”  I call it, Artisan of Self, a 12wk wellness program comprised of cosmetic treatments, mindfulness experiences, and artisan workshops.  Think of it as a 21st century beauty wellness plan providing life support for individuals progressing along the path of well-being.  Our well-being team includes an assembly of leading clinicians, cosmetologists, craftspersons, and curators.  I’m happy to announce that we are in the final stages of selecting our initial pilot group to launch the plan.  My evolving and intimate relationships with you have been the catalyst for a new way of thinking.  I am forever thankful.  So 2014 is indeed a year for amazing growth for us all, as we collectively embark upon uncharted territory to show the world what plastic and psychic unity looks like! 

Monte Oyd Harris, MD FACS

Robert Motherwell. Africa 4, Screen-print on paper, 1970


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