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Art enhances patient comfort, experience

Article-Art enhances patient comfort, experience

Art positively affects a surgeon's practice by making a powerful first impression on the patient. It demonstrates to the patient that the surgeon has a special appreciation of the human form, and is interested in creating a warm, inviting environment.

Lyle Jamieson of Traverse City, Mich., is a sculptor and instructor of turned objects. He has created a niche for himself by not only being the only woodworker producing sculptures by using a special process, but by positioning himself to the cosmetic surgery market.

Mr. Jamieson says his sculptures "bridge a social stigma of nudity and exposing the human body. They are a tasteful way of opening up the subject without actually talking about it and they can be a conversation piece that breaks the ice." They also make a connection between the doctor and the patient by showing that the surgeon is cultured and is a real person too, he says. Art is an expression of personality. This promotes trust and shows vulnerability.

Mr. Jamieson's sculptures are a way for the doctor to de-emphasize a hospital-like setting and improve the doctor-patient relationship by easing the strain for the patient and creating a more comfortable environment.

Sculpting the sculptor

The son of a pattern-maker in Detroit, Mr. Jamieson was involved in woodworking and turning from an early age. Mentored by his father, he learned the intricacies of wood.

He tells Cosmetic Surgery Times, "The wood has drawn me all my life."

In 1988, he turned his attention to wood-turning and has developed a style that is innovative in design and technically challenging. He began his work with traditional, single-axis, round vessels and bowls.

His creativity and attraction to the human form caused him to turn his attention to the more difficult multi-axis approach required by a complex, yet delicate subject.

He says, "The challenge was how am I going to hang onto this piece of wood and turn it at the same time."

So, he developed a tool system for hollow form turning that allows the woodworker to ergonomically guide the cutter into the vessel, and he developed his skill through a series of symposiums and workshops.

With no academic background in art, he learned muscle contour and anatomy, and then he began to stretch the envelope with creative and expressive design elements.

His method of preparing the wood involves a three-month process of taking green wood and drying it, then thinning and hollowing the vessels while stabilizing the wood so that it does not crack.

Parallel between sculpting, cosmetic surgery

Mr. Jamieson made the marketing leap from sales to the general public to the cosmetic surgery industry because he believes there is an obvious parallel, since both artists and surgeons are sculptors and are creative.

He knew of an annual cosmetic surgery conference, and contacted the contracting and promotions company for the trade show's exhibitors.

His proposal was presented to a five-doctor panel and he was given booth space at The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons show in Philadelphia last year. According to Mr. Jamieson, "This was the start of the snowball rolling down the hill."

His work was well received because surgeons appreciated art. He also provided them with the opportunity to "take a break from the technical world" at a trade show.

Art in the office

When asked what he does for the doctor through his work, Mr. Jamieson replies, "I make them look good and increase their image."

By displaying art, a doctor increases the classiness of the office. And, since artist and physician work on the human figure, the connection is even stronger.

"Wood as an art form is a warm, inviting, sensuous, living medium," Jamieson elaborates.

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