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Figurative Sculpture and the Cosmetic Surgeon


It’s not a coincidence that many practicing cosmetic surgeons have a background in art, which classically includes studying the human figure via drawing and sculpture. To successfully create a beautiful work of art, it’s important to have a rich understanding of human anatomy—and this holds true for both art and cosmetic surgery.

While a cosmetic surgeon’s education and training provide an understanding of anatomy and how proportion, symmetry, and balance work together to create an attractive aesthetic, there is another resource that can help further hone cosmetic surgical skill: sculpture.

We recently spoke with ABCS diplomate Dr. David Hendrick about his experience during a recent figurative sculpture workshop.

What led you to pursue sculpture?

Cosmetic surgeons sculpt the face and body and, as such, we are often interested in the creative arts. One way a cosmetic surgeon can enhance their surgical abilities and practice is to take a class is figurative sculpture. I recently took two weeks away from my practice to do just that by attending two sessions of’s figurative sculpting workshops in Las Vegas.

How is learning about sculpture beneficial?

There are several reasons a cosmetic surgeon might want to obtain formal training in figurative sculpture. The most obvious would be to perform better liposuction of the human body in this day of “high definition” liposculpture using lasers or VASER. Having a more detailed understanding of musculoskeletal anatomy from a sculptor’s perspective can only improve your analysis, treatment plan, and results when performing body contouring procedures.

What types of workshops are available?

There are several workshops available to learn figurative sculpture. Most of these are geared toward practicing or aspiring artists, though there are a few that are specifically directed to cosmetic surgeons. I encourage interested surgeons to research what is available in your area.

For my purposes, I chose to take a workshop geared toward artists. For those of you who think your medical training in anatomy precludes you from beginning with the most basic courses, think again! You will learn ratios, relationships, and anatomical details far beyond what you learned in gross anatomy or on the operating room table.

How did the experience impact you and/or your cosmetic surgery practice?

My recent experience was exceptional, and I am currently busy setting up my studio and lining up models to practice my newfound skill. The training I received has already improved my aesthetic understanding of anatomy and, thus, my body contouring results. The experience shaped my outlook on both my personal and career goals, and I consider the workshop I attended as life-changing.

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