My first day with Dr. Parham Ganchi ’87 (see bio) began with a surgery that lasted several hours. It was a SMAS facelift in which the skin of the lower face and neck is lifted from the layer of fat underneath, and the muscular system of the face is manipulated to create a natural-looking and not excessively “tight” result. Dr. Ganchi’s surgery room is remarkable—pristine and equipped with the latest technology. I’m eternally impressed by the design of medical equipment. For example, Dr. Ganchi’s surgical loupes had a light whose cord clipped to the back of his collar to stay out of his way. But there was a tool even more remarkable and something I’d never seen before. Dr. Ganchi had insulated forceps to which he could touch the cautery tool in order to precisely stem tiny facial vessels. This helps to prevent bruising and other bleeding-related complications in his patients. For more information on Dr. Ganchi’s facelift procedures, see http://www.ganchi.com/plastic-surgery/face/face-lift/
Dr. Ganchi’s wife also works with him on days he sees patients. Tara, one of Dr. Ganchi’s nurses, informed me that Leyla Ganchi had done much of the impeccable decorating, which, to my great joy, included some beautiful orchid varieties. She ordered lunch for his nurses and for me. For Dr. Ganchi, she peeled a clementine. She said, “Dr. Ganchi, take two minutes and eat this orange.” But he was already off again. Later, a nurse asked what he was doing with the peeled citrus just sitting out, Dr. Ganchi responded wisely, “I’m aging it.” Funny, because he does the exact opposite to his patients.
A picture of Dr. Ganchi is a picture of a busy but devoted man. He chooses to give each patient special attention. Most doctors nowadays rush through their jobs—you may sit in a waiting room for two hours to see your doctor for only two minutes. He is not that way. He works with his patients, giving them his valuable time in order to guide them toward the best plan of action. I heard one of his staff saying, “Sure. We’ll see you afterhours.” A nurse told me, “He stays here sometimes until two in the morning. That man gets no sleep.” And he has four children fifteen years old and younger, enough of a job in itself for most mortals.
Sometimes, with all the silly speculation about which movie stars have gotten breast implants or a rhinoplasty, it’s hard to see cosmetic plastic surgery at the personal level. Like it or not, appearance is very important in our society—important to how others see us and therefore how we see ourselves.
One of the last patients I saw was a kind woman who had had a body lift and a breast reduction and was in for a post-operative checkup. She told Dr. Ganchi how appreciative she was of the surgery he had done for her. Right before Dr. Ganchi and I left for her to get dressed again, she looked me in the eye and said, “I want you to know, sometimes it’s not just cosmetic. I couldn’t go shopping with my friends… I couldn’t be with anyone… Sometimes it’s not just cosmetic.” He had changed her life.
Thanks to him, and thanks to Princeton and the Princeternship program, I spent what would have otherwise been a boring Intersession instead having the experience of a lifetime. If I became a surgeon as skilled and as caring as Dr. Ganchi, I would consider my life a success. He has changed the lives of countless people, and now I think he can add my name to that list.