By: Katharine Griffiths
Created on 24th November 2011
Mr Azhar Aslam is a cosmetic surgeon and founder of Linia, a nationwide cosmetic surgery chain with a difference. Here, he speaks to Cosmetic Surgery & Aesthetics Guide about his work, his philosophy and what makes him tick...
Q When did you first
become interested in
surgery and why?
A It was during my first year as a medical student. This interest developed when I went on to perform anatomy dissection. I was (and still am) fascinated by the human body and the thought that you can cut it open and watch it live. Reading about the human anatomy and how people learned about the body and became experts on human tissue compelled me further. That is when and how I decided to become a surgeon.
Q What inspired your move
into cosmetic surgery?
A After I finished my surgical training I was looking into specialising in a particular area and I came across this intriguing book on plastic surgery by a famous surgeon, Dr Millard.
Whilst considering this book, I was attracted to a quotation at the beginning. It read: “The one who works with his hands is a labourer, the one who works with his hands and head is an artisan. The one who works with his hands, his eyes and his heart is an artist.”
It was that book that cemented my decision to become a plastic and cosmetic surgeon.
Q You have trained and
worked in America,
Mexico and Germany, as
well as the UK – did you
notice dramatic differences
between techniques in the
A Rather than there being specific surgical differences between geographical areas as such, I would say that more broadly you notice the diverse techniques of such a number of surgeons. These surgeons are all individuals with their own developed personal approaches to patients, which is where the differences are.
Cultural diversity is an aspect to consider, and this is obviously unique to each country and consequently when you see patients you have to understand not only their aspirations, but also their heritage to best understand their desires.
The greatest advantage of working with a number of surgeons abroad is that you can pick up and learn many details, styles and techniques from them and add to your own repertoire to help develop your own individual method.
As they say: “The posy of flowers in my bouquet has been picked from different gardens but the thread that binds them together is my own.”
Q When and why did you
decide to set up Linia?
A After I finished my training I decided to move into private practice. I wanted an independent practice and a theatre of my own where I could take care of patients according to my own philosophy and treat them as individuals and not just as numbered clients.
I very much believe in personalised care tailored to suit each patient in their own right to fit with their own wishes.
Q What do you think sets
Linia apart from the
A At Linia we see people as a whole. We never focus just on the particular areas of the body or face they wish to change. We look at them as a whole and tailor surgery to improve them in their complete form.
Take breast enlargement – we would never just view the breasts in isolation and perform enlargement on someone whose body frame would not look right and balanced – this would not make them happy and it would not fill their expectations.
We support our patients on their whole cosmetic surgery journey – right from their first contact with us. This continues for life and we encourage our patients to stay in touch and become ‘part of the Linia family’.
Many of our patients often call in to see us for a chat and to catch up. It’s about building a lasting relationship of trust and ensuring our patients feel secure, happy and supported, even beyond their surgery.
Q Can you talk me through
a typical day in your
A I would love to give you a full diary-like run down of a day but, in truth, no two days are the same and that’s part of the ongoing fascination and enjoyment of my work. There is no such thing as a typical day in cosmetic surgery, particularly on clinic days or theatre days.
I see so many people with different needs and backgrounds, desires and opinions, it makes everything very diverse and interesting. Everyone is different and as a surgeon it’s important to understand that.
When operating, even if you are performing the same procedure on two people, the procedures are unique to each patient, and that is how a surgeon must see it.
There are no typical days, patients, consultations or operations.
Q You have had several
papers published and
have presented at many
international conferences –
how do you keep motivated
to further your research at
the same time as running a
busy cosmetic practice?
A Concentrating on running a busy practice and continuing research are two separate things, but of course they do run in parallel.
Each patient makes you question how you can improve your practice as a surgeon. What can be done to improve this operation, this method, this outcome? You are constantly striving for development.
Research of course is not only built upon experience, it’s about developing what you have learned and applying it into new areas. When you’re thinking about continuously trying to improve yourself you learn a great deal from others. When you set out to ask yourself how, that is research.
Of course I have the advantage of a great support team around me at Linia. They help to ensure the practice is run smoothly and efficiently, with particular emphasis on patient care.
Q Your profile on the
Linia website contains
a log of exactly how many
operations you have
performed for each cosmetic
procedure – why do you think
this level of transparency is
A A log book informs people how many of a certain procedure you have done, and this is important to show you have a good level of experience across a broad range of skills.
To be honest, the most important information, which is available on our website, is about the possible complications that can happen, and how they can be successfully and safely resolved.
This is crucial for a patient to know as there is no surgeon under the sun who never suffers any complications during surgery. It makes it easier for a patient to have an informed choice when this information is available. It must be honest and transparent, along with the surgeon’s revision rate.
In my view, it inspires confidence that the surgeon knows how to address such problems should they arise. A good level of detailed information is crucial for the patient. It’s fundamental for a good relationship – honesty and integrity is vital.
Q You offer non-surgical
as well as surgical
options, and you operate on
the face as well as the body
– which do you find the most
A Every procedure that changes someone’s life positively, fulfils desires and makes them happy is rewarding. Procedures can be as simple as wrinkle reduction treatment or removing a mole, to doing a large abdominal surgery or breast reconstruction.
All treatments or operations that have been successful and met patient expectations are rewarding. When patients are happy and delighted with the results there is no better reward for a surgeon.
Q What do you see as
the future of cosmetic
A Cosmetic surgery is a fairly young speciality and all the techniques that are presently used have been refined. I see the first significant development as the ‘less is more’ approach. Recovering from aesthetic surgery will become quicker in the future and the procedures themselves will result in less trauma.
Biotechnology, gene therapy and nanotechnology will contribute majorly towards the development of non-surgical techniques for aesthetic improvement in the next 10 to 15 years.
Available from: Mr Aslam is
founder and Surgical Director
of Linia Cosmetic Surgery Ltd.
For more information and a full
list of treatments offered, visit
or call 0845 230 1700