Not just any plastic surgeon makes it onto the faculty team of SCALE Music City, and in 2019 we have truly got the best of the best lined up. A Jay Burns, MD, FACS is one of those. He has wowed us before and we are certain that this year will be no exception. He is truly one of the top in his field. He is globally renowned with a career that spans 3 decades. He has been honored by Oprah Winfrey’s Medical Miracles and in D Magazine’s “Best Doctors in Dallas,” as well as in Texas Monthly’s “Super Doctors” and RealSelf.
We asked Dr. Burns to tell you a little bit more about himself and his career. This is what he had to say.
Q: What motivated you to go into your field?
I went into General Surgery because I thought that would give me wide variety, but found that field actually shrinking. When rotating through plastic surgery I saw a TRAM flap breast reconstruction followed by a toe to thumb transfer, which blew me away. Once I saw the difficulty, challenge, and variety of the problems plastic surgeons faced I was incredibly interested. As I started seeing how these obstacles could be overcome with plastic surgery, I was hooked. Plastic surgeons operate literally head to toe and face amazing challenges in reconstruction as well as cosmetics. I have never regretted my decision.
Q: Is there a particularly compelling success story that you can share with us?
This one is easy as I was fortunate enough to simply be on call when a 2 year old boy was mauled by a pit bull. He lost all skin, muscle, fat and oral lining from his eyes to the crease of his neck. He survived but was faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge. I was privileged to work alongside 7 other surgeons and 6 anesthesiologists that worked for 39 hours performing what I believe is still one of the grandest reconstructive cases in history. 5 free flaps were placed on this young child in reconstructing his face. Eventually I was honored to be on stage with this young boy and his parents on the Oprah Winfrey medical miracles show.
Q: What do you want the general public to know about what you do?
I am a plastic surgeon who wants to be known as a surgeon first and foremost. Surgery is in my DNA, however I am a bit of a surgical “unicorn”, as I believe that if you could do only one thing to most people to improve their cosmetic appearance it would be to optimize their skin. I have spent my career focusing on skin health primarily through the use of lasers but also have been involved helping develop a broad array of non surgical rejuvenation technologies. Optimizing skin gives me a canvas that is much improved to work with in surgery and when the skin health and age matches the surgical rejuvenation age, then the result is a natural result that works in harmony.
Q: How do you relax, what are your hobbies?
My wife and I started a ministry that serves families who are caught in the chaos of a rebellious prodigal child or family member. We work in this endeavor year round with weekly group meetings as well as one-on-one or family-to-family help. We also love to spend time with our family including 3 grandchildren, 3 years and under. We love to travel and I, in particular, am an outdoorsman and love the mountains, archery, golf and video editing.
Q: Looking back over the course of your career, what advice do you wish someone would have given you?
I received the advice I needed and I have tried to follow it. It is the advice I give every resident and fellow that I work with. I quote Steven Covey and encourage them to “begin with the end in mind”. If you don’t know where you are going then you will never get there. I tell them to envision their funeral and what they would want their family and friends to say about them at that service. Once they get a clear picture of their “end” then they can go live their life in order to get there. You have to determine your truth; i.e….what are your priorities? Is it power, money, relationships, faith, honesty? Does the end justify the means? Our residents are bright enough and talented enough to climb every “ladder” offered, but there is a price to be paid in climbing some of those ladders. Some of those ladders are hard on marriage and family so before you start climbing your ladder, take a moment and measure the cost.
Q: As a doctor we know people are always asking your advice; what is the most bizarre question you ever received? What was your advice?
I honestly cannot think of a bizarre question. I suspect what I find bizarre is the way people view their own body and how hard they are on themselves and how they tie their happiness to the way they look. The fact I find that bizarre is probably viewed as naïve, but it the most difficult challenge I face in plastic surgery…satisfying the patient who ties their happiness to their appearance. That is a no win scenario and is not only bizarre, but sad.
Q: Looking into the future of your practice, what do you predict will be the trends and technology that emerge in the next 5 to 10 years? What are you and your practice doing to get ready for those.
I, as well as most of the faculty, I suspect, are leaders in technology so I have been getting ready for new technology my entire career. I am active in attending meetings and staying close to company developments as I continue to look closely at all new technology. I ask my colleagues that I respect, their opinions about the technologies they are using. Such wisdom is usually the most helpful. I believe non-surgical options will continue to be on the rise. I believe that the way we interact and sell our products will change, such as the change we are seeing with the subscription model. We will buy products and services as we do our iPhone.