Interview with Professor Jean-Paul Meningaud
University professor, Paris 12
Head of the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery of Henri Mondor Hospital, Paris
Professor Meningaud, you are a famous maxillofacial surgeon and you have collaborated in major global firsts, some of which were incredibly complex and difficult, such as the simultaneous face and hand transplant. Can you explain how does one become one of the best plastic surgeons in the world?
(He smiles). I cannot answer the question about it being said that I am the best in the world. I try to do my work as best as possible. I am passionate about it. I do not feel that I am working, but rather enjoying myself. That is why I usually tell those around me and my family particularly, that I am never going to retire, because after all, I have never worked, what I have always done is enjoy myself. That’s why I arrive early in the morning and I leave very late, because I love it. I think that medicine and surgery have to be a passion. I dare quote St. Augustine (Editor’s note: Bishop, Doctor of the Church and Roman philosopher) who said “He who gets lost in his passion is less lost than he who loses passion.”
To do what you do, do you need to have talent or can everything be learned?
I will again answer with a quote, I think from Jules Romain (Editor’s note: French writer) about Edison: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. Therefore it is work, work, work, hours and hours of practice. I really operate from Monday to Friday. This profession is very complex and if you don’t work every day, you cannot make progress and if you don’t move forward, you fall back.
With nearly a hundred articles published in Pubmed, how much time to you dedicate to Science and Research?
Every day ready for action. Fortunately, I have a lot of help. I have a meeting every morning at 8 am where I meet with my colleagues, almost all scientists. I also have someone who is purely scientific, who has done her post-doctorate. She tells me what she’s done the night before and I give her tasks for the following day. And then between 2 interventions I stay abreast. So Science is always present. We have students who are doctors (Master 2), who have graduated in Advanced Studies, in Science and who are all involved in the projects. So progress is being made and that is why there can be many publications.
You have recently evaluated the RecoSMA technique at CHU Henri Mondor. Could you tell us some more about this study?
Although the Er:YAG 2940 nm laser has already been evaluated, we had found the concept of RecoSMA technology to be very interesting, and we think it can improve the contributions of the standard Er:YAG 2940 nm laser.
Therefore, we decided to evaluate this new technology (RecoSMA) and particularly with regard to facial rejuvenation, both in terms of effectiveness and in terms of acceptability by the patients.
We evaluated a number of patients before and after 2 sessions at 2-month intervals, with a follow up of 6 months.
We assessed the mechanical parameters of the skin and also the experience and satisfaction of the patients through self-assessment scales.
How many patients were treated?
34 volunteers between the ages of 30 and 72 years were engaged in the study.
How did the sessions go?
Each session began by giving an explanation to the patient, particularly on the redness and feeling of heat that occur after the intervention and what must be done during the first 15 days.
Then, after collecting data for statistical analyses, we carried out the laser treatment over the entire surface of the face.
The sessions lasted between 35 and 45 minutes per patient.
All sessions went very well, the laser has a very intuitive and easy-to-handle grip.
What results were you able to achieve?
We could observe improvement in skin quality in terms of tone and brightness, as well as an effect on the surface wrinkles and skin blemishes, such as acne scars or pigmentation spots.
Positive changes were seen in all patients, without exception, regardless of age and skin type. Skin elasticity increased by an average of 14-19% in all patients and who visually looked 4-5 years younger.
Furthermore, the patients were very satisfied and had a fairly comfortable recovery.
According to your experience, could you please explain to us the main difference between RecoSMA rejuvenation and conventional methods?
One of the differences of this innovative technology is that the RecoSMA procedure does not cause any pain or damage to the skin which, in comparison with other methods, facilitates shorter recuperation period for patients’ comfort.
What is your general opinion as regards the technique?
This technique seems to me to be very interesting and very promising. It has the advantage of being painless and provides a smooth recovery for the patient.
I think it is important for the therapeutic arsenal of cosmetic surgery, both the treatment itself and as a complement to surgical treatment, and therefore, it is also important in the context of reconstructive surgery.
We know you have tried the RecoSMA treatment on yourself. Could you explain, please, a little about the reasons for this test and what your first impressions were?
Regarding the laser aesthetic medicine, we have always been curious about innovations in this field. That is why we decided to participate with Linline in the joint research to see how it works. Moreover, I even decided to offer my own body for it. I have many volunteers for various studies, but for this particular one I wanted to be the participant myself. It would enable me to speak knowledgeably of this technology (RecoSMA).
As per my sensations the procedure is easily bearable. Although I had severe skin reddening, it was gone by the next day. Frankly speaking, I was already at work the next day, on Friday, had appointments with patients and nobody noticed a thing (he laughs).
On Saturday I had breakfast at a café where acquaintances spotted my “bronzed” face but nothing more. On Sunday my skin started flaking off and by Monday I looked pretty much normal!
It is a fascinating technology and I think that we should offer it to our patients.
March 2016 will be marked with the beginning of a new study at Henri Mondor Hospital: the RecoSMA technology will be evaluated for efficacy in scar treatment.