By Rory Winston
Photos by Andrew Walker/Getty Images
Hair/Makeup: Bella on Demand Beauty
Alexander Acosta and Michael Hodgins
In 1783, the Montgolfier Brothers launched the world’s first hot air balloon. In 1903, the Wright Brothers invented the first fully powered airplane – a feat that would revolutionize warfare, commerce, travel, technology and society as a whole. More recently, another set of talented siblings, the Kassir Brothers, joined forces to create one of the most all-encompassing approaches to rejuvenation and quality in living – their comprehensive practice employing everything from plastic and cosmetic surgery to dermatology to a full range of laser treatments. With a myriad of state-of-the-art procedures, the Kassirs are qualified to undertake everything from the most complex surgical reconstructions to Ultherapy. Most importantly, because of their scope and range, patients are ensured receiving unbiased advice as regards task-appropriate procedures.
As triple board certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Ramtin Kassir explains, “we are just as adept at non-invasive procedures as we are with complex surgeries. Patients should feel comfortable with any plan from the onset.”
At present, the ‘Brothers Kassir’ are expanding their office and looking forward to a grand opening. As a plastic surgeon that has carved out a niche – no pun intended – in New York, Dr. Ramtin Kassir is renowned for taking both ethnicity and structural type into account. Having worked all over the world, Kassir is not only familiar with ethinic differences but knows how awkward results can be when plastic surgeons with a limited repertoire superimpose the aesthetics of one culture onto another. The brothers not only collaborate clinically when it comes to patient care, but also scientifically. They have co-authored scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals on Botox and Dysport, filler substances and IPL devices.
As Kassir admits, “Besides our professional acumen, people like us because we are easy to communicate with. I’ve traveled to over 50 countries and I know there are major differences between ethnicities, cultures and aesthetic predilections. Recently I surmised that a patient visiting from California must be from somewhere in Southern Africa. It turned out she was from Zimbabwe. Recognizing these distinctions is very important to an aesthetic understanding of what is a perfect look for a certain type of face. It’s also culturally important to be aware of differences because people that arrive from different corners of the globe are looking for different kinds of results. In New York, the best kind of plastic surgery is one that makes you look younger and better but is still so subtle that people can barely tell you’ve had any work done. This is what most New Yorkers want – for others not to notice they’ve had surgery at all but to just casually look like their appearance has improved. It’s a very mind oriented culture here. This is unlike California where it’s okay to resurrect one’s appearance entirely – Bruce Jenner, Burt Reynolds…cases in point. In Iran it’s different again. It’s less about the actual change than the ability to afford change. People who haven’t even had any surgery will put tape on their nose just to look like they’ve come out of an operation. In a sense, surgery for them is a means of self-expression. In Brazil, it’s more about the body. Even by your early twenties it’s not unlikely to have had work done on your breasts or butt.”
Since Dr. Ramtin Kassir has been called in often enough to repair the mistakes of earlier surgeons, he is aware how unappealing an overdone look can be. “There is a golden ratio,” explains Kassir, “Appreciation for this mathematical ratio is programmed into our DNA – meaning, even when we are not aware of it, it’s something we unconsciously find pleasing. That’s why we like structures such as the Parthenon, the Golden Triangle, the Golden Rectangle…I mean all this is the left side of our brain seeking the mathematically perfect construct, the symmetry in proportions. Then there’s the right side of our brain that tells us how something looks or emotionally pleases us. Likewise when I work as a plastic surgeon it is both my ability as a 3D sculptor and my scientific knowledge that guides my hands and is responsible for the choices I make. It’s never just a question of shortening something or attenuating an individual component. You constantly have to take the entirety of the person into account. You don’t just shorten a nose – you have to know how the new dimensions will look in relation to the rest of the face. What the new distances between body parts will be. There is no such thing as working on one part in isolation from the whole.”
In case someone has any doubt about procedures that don’t take the totality of proportions into account, all someone needs do is look at Renée Zellweger’s recent foray into the world of rejuvenation. “Technically,” explains Kassir, “The surgeon involved actually performed a decent by-the-book operation. The problem is he altered her overall appearance making her unrecognizable. The procedure changed the look she’s had since she was 20. The reason: she has heavy eyelids and that is a distinct part of her appearance. If you cut all that eyelid skin out, which I suspect is what happened, it entirely alters her overall presence. Zellweger, Kenny Rogers – they are examples of people who looked beautiful in their 20’s. They both have naturally heavy eyelids. So by the time they reach 50, you don’t want to cut all the skin out around the eyes because you end up drastically altering their features. During CNN story done on Renee, no one recognized her “after” photo. The idea behind a good plastic surgery is to maintain a natural look, maintaining all that which makes you distinct. The premise is to help recreate a younger version of yourself rather than create a different person.”
When asked about their clients, Dr. Ramtin Kassir was quite precise: “Rhinoplasty – the average comes out to twenty three and a half year old female, injectables – late 30 early 40’s, mini-lifts are 52 year old females, full facelift – 56 and up. 60% are from the tri-state area, the rest are from other states or abroad – these are usually people who have scoured the Internet and specially sought us out because of our creativity and style. If you’re a man you’re usually getting your nose or hairline done. The fact is that people are starting to understand that there is no longer any stigma associated with plastic surgery. Those that do opt to undergo the procedures soon learn that they not only come out feeling a lot better but no one even suspects its been done. Facelifts, nose jobs, eyelid lifts, brow lifts, chin implants, ear pinning – the list of procedures we are experts in is quite extensive. Besides this, we also do the complete range of laser techniques. Some of our newest procedures include fat freezing, which can eliminate fat cells without any invasive procedure. We have a myriad of lasers – each with its very distinct function. This is where my brother Martin comes into the picture.”
As fate would have it, the name Ramtin in Persian implies someone with great creative talent, ambition and determination. And, as you probably guessed by now, Ramtin is an anagram for Martin. Clearly their parents were on to something. The brothers’ talents complement one another perfectly. Martin is not only a brilliant dermatologist with exceptional skill in laser technology but he trains doctors world over to use lasers as well having come up with a line of skin care products. “I’ve travelled to 92 countries and lectured in six continents and in over 35 countries,” confides Martin Kassir. “As a dermatologist,” he continues, “I designed a cream that in its very first year sold over 15 million dollars and that happens to be associated with a charity that nourishes underprivileged children on 3 different continents. Besides treating patients, I spend lots of my time lecturing and teaching healthcare professionals.”
Having spent time in virtually ever corner of the globe, Martin, like his brother, is familiar with all different types of genetic groupings. As he explains, “this kind of experience is invaluable when it comes to treating different skin types and diseases. And when you look at a city like New York– which is basically a potpourri of types and ethnicities, the knowledge I have comes in very handy. All the different skin types with various cultural backgrounds are found in New York City; and each requires very different and specific forms of treatment. Let’s just say the city offers me the opportunity of a lifetime in being able to put to use what I know. Understanding these differences is actually essential when using lasers. In fact, I have my very own laser school, Worldwide Laser Institute, where I train doctors and other medical professionals on proper use of laser technology.
As the former VP and present member of the Board of Directors of the International Society of Dermatology, Martin is the Chairman of a Mentorship Program wherein dermatologists from underprivileged countries get placements with experts world over so they can return to their own countries equipped with a better understanding of their field.
Being a double board certified in dermatology and internal medicine, Martin possesses a unique level of understanding when it comes to non-invasive procedures such as laser, botox, fillers and other nuanced techniques such as radiofrequency, microneedling and non-ablative fractional resurfacing which helps aging and wrinkles by thickening collagen levels. He also practices LED treatment for acne and inflammation and IPL photofacials for sun damage, age spots, broken capillaries, telangiectasias, benign brown pigments and rosacea.
“You can understand why we’re expanding,” says Ramtin. “With all the surgery, consults, and 28 different types of lasers and other devices we outgrew our space. Now we will have a separate surgical side and non-surgical side with recovery rooms and spa and the overall feel will be a lot more serene”. As doctors with an aesthetic eye, the brothers take a very special interest in overseeing the design of their new Park Avenue venue.
“The vast majority of people,” explains Ramtin, “want surgery but are afraid so they often opt for nonsurgical methods. Their justification seems to be that surgery is too vain and not need-based; but then they have a lot of other noninvasive procedures done. Some are simply afraid of anesthesia or coming out looking “done” like Michael Jackson. Then they start to rationalize ‘shouldn’t I be saving this money for my kid’s tuition’… but mostly it’s still just wariness because in terms of money, the results usually pay off in dividends because people end up doing their job more effectively because they’re more confident.”
As artists in their field, the Kassirs bring to mind yet a final set of local brothers, namely, the Gershwins. Whether it means understanding the importance of having ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ or simply appreciating the unique quality of a ‘Sunny Funny Face,’ the criteria for individualized care is a constant. But unlike Ira and George, in the case of Martin and Ramtin, it is probably the patients who end up singing: “The way you hold your knife… the way you changed my life. No, no they can’t take that away from me.”
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