March 24, 2016 51
GetDoc: Hello Doctor, we are pleasantly surprised to see such a young doctor sitting in this lifestyle clinic. Could you elaborate a bit on your medical background and what made you shift to the aesthetic field?
Dr. Steve: Hi, yeah, sure. Well, I am basically born and raised in Klang, Selangor; I was graduated with Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in 2008. Upon graduation, I served with the Government in Sarawak for five years. I then obtained a diploma in Aesthetic Medicine (USA).
After housemanship, I thought I was going to choose emergency after spending many years in the department. One of my close friends came up to me and told me about aesthetic medicine, after noticing my keen interest in art and design. I then attended an aesthetic conference and I thought that it was very, very exciting. Personally I like technology so in this field we actually deal with technology on a daily basis. Of course, it was also interesting because it is something that we were never learn before.
We still needed to have our basic medical knowledge which is why aesthetics is still under medicine. We are different from the aesthetics that are used in beauty centers. This is because we are still required to apply our medical knowledge such as anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of the body and how they react to all these treatments. That is why we can understand the technology and how it reacts with the body.
Right now, aesthetic medicine I would say is still in its infancy stage in Malaysia as it is still very new and very young. But it has been growing at a very rapid speed over the last 3-5 years. So this is a very exciting field to be in.
GetDoc: So, when you say aesthetic medicine is still very young, are you meaning to say that the skills of the doctors are not as matured as they are overseas or the patients are not very familiar with aesthetic medicine?
Dr. Steve: Actually I’m referring more to the market. The market is very young, patients are not well informed, and the patients’ knowledge regarding this field is lacking. In terms of the doctors’ skills, 10 years ago there were quite a number of doctors in Malaysia who were already practicing aesthetic. Although this number is quite small, right now it has grown to be an established specialty in Malaysia. Its interesting to see how the market grows as well. As an example, earlier days, if you had any skin problem, the first thing that most Malaysians would do is to visit beauty centre. People thought that if they had to go see a doctor, their condition would have to be very severe. Right now we are seeing a change in the market, as more patient are visiting clinics for treatments and procedure as their first choice.
GetDoc: Doctor, you look so young, will anyone question about your capability?
Dr. Steve: Sometimes I do get that. My age is a double edge sword but I think I’m managing it quiet well. You just have to use it as your advantage. For younger group of patients, they find that I’m easy to talk to as I understand their requirements better, for example current trend for certain treatments. And for looking younger is always an advantage in the field, as we are promoting youth and health at the same time.
GetDoc: So how do you differentiate yourself from your peers or other doctors?
Dr. Steve: I offer a wide range of non-invasive, US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved therapies such as injections, more of hands on skill, which is something I am passionate about and proud of doing. In terms of injections there are a lot of very minor details, so a good doctor has to be very skillful. We cannot create swelling and bruises, and patients normally prefer to look good immediately. To reduce down time, we have bought imported super-fine needles, where you can’t even find in hospital.
Throughout the years, technology makes better needles. We are improving over time because the expectation is getting higher over time. So, throughout the years you would get better with the injections skills. I want to focus on doing the injections and besides I think at the end of the day, that is what makes you skillful and more special than the other doctors. I also believe my personal hand-on approach helps me to build trust between myself and the patient.
Brands are making better products every year, and I make sure myself always keep up to the latest trend by travelling around the globe to pick up the best technology and skill.
At Sliq, we offer personalized care, which is very different from franchise aesthetic clinics or beauty centre. We offer after-treatment advices, and follow up closely with the patients to make sure that they are satisfied with the results. Other than this, I also emphasize on communications with patients, a little bit personal touch is what makes you different. (smile)
GetDoc: Can you share with us what the latest technology in this field is?
Dr. Steve: Previously I think people would mainly go for injections the results are quicker. Right now, in terms of technology we have so many different machines and equipment such that sometimes we can produce near surgical result without opting to go to surgery. Right now we have more machines doing face lifting, firming, fat reduction, double chin treatment that is always exciting for our clients because a large majority of patient will still prefer non-surgery treatment than surgery as their first choice.
GetDoc: Do you have you own product line?
Dr. Steve: We do have a few of our own products. When we first started we didn’t have them but throughout the years we started sourcing and got into more products. We tested our products to make sure it is of good quality and can deliver results. Our products are all imported for branding purposes so you can’t get it anywhere else as well.
GetDoc: Doctor I notice that you offer facial services. Could you tell our readers how different this facial at your clinic is, from the facial at a beauty salon?
Dr. Steve: Well, we call it medical spa or medical facial. Basically the main difference is the equipment used which are medical grade. We don’t do normal facials just using our hands or scrubs. With medical grade equipment’s, we are able to achieve great result catering to the patients skin condition.
In terms of pricing you will be very surprised to find that it is quite comparable to beauty centers because I myself am quite familiar with beauty centers as I was a user myself. If we mention “treatment” to patients, it sometimes backfires because patients tend to think that their problem is not so severe to be “treated”. This tends to scare them.
Contrary to saloons, in the clinic, business is not always just about money, we have to be ethical as well. We have to be honest, so we won’t over promise something as we are running long term business. As a doctor, I don’t entice patients to purchase something he or she doesn’t need. I will refer cases to dermatologist or plastic surgeon if I have a case which doesn’t fall under my territory. We are very clear where we stand in terms of plastic surgeon, aesthetic medicine physician and dermatologist. We just focus on aesthetic medicine.
GetDoc: So can we say that what you are doing is more like enhancing one’s appearance?
Dr. Steve: Actually we have many types of treatments that we can do and two categories of patients that come in. One category is those who come in requesting for enhancement.
Enhancing means you don’t really have a big problem but you just want to look better or younger. Example including nose enhancement, cheek bone enhancement or face slimming procedure. Before doing enhancement, we will identify and treat signs of aging first such as wrinkles, pigmentations or volume losses, and through detailed consultation with the patients, relevant treatments will be planned for them.
The other group of patients comes in the clinic with specific skin problems such as acne, scar problems, pigmentation or photo damaged skin and they just want to address that.
GetDoc: Can you explain how does filler work?
Dr. Steve: Fillers are basically products we used to fill up or address volume losses in our face when we age. An example is the hyaluronic acid filler, which is a soft gel placed under the skin to plump it up, firm up specific areas like the cheek or the under eye area. We can also use it to treat deep lines like the laughing line, or do facial enhancements and contouring like making the chin sharper or makes the lip fuller. For males who do not have a defined jawline, we can put in fillers to enhance the jawline and make the face more masculine. Basically, we can do full-face treatment using fillers.
Delivering great results with fillers is an art that needs a lot of years of practice and experience. Anyone can hold a syringe but not everybody can deliver great results. I think this is something special about aesthetic doctors.
GetDoc: Doctor, you must be aware of the beauty salons out there that offer services that are supposed to be only offered by certified doctors but they still offer them to their patients? So what is your take on this?
Dr. Steve: Yes, definitely. When you want to do any kind of injection, especially on the face, my advice is not to take any risk just to save few hundred bucks. If you have any complications post procedure, you may have to pay much more to correct your problem. So my advice is to go to a clinic to get your injection done. In clinics, we need to maintain certain standard and comply to the rules and regulation sets by the ministry. From the product we use, and to the equipment and service we offer is regulated by a body of professional in this field. You can always be assured that you are receiving quality and medically proven treatments.
GetDoc: How important is educating the public, the patient?
Dr Steve: This is very important because when we educate them, we give them as much information as they require. This is how we make the market more mature, by education. So, when they go to another doctor they will realize that most of the doctors actually tell them the same thing. As compared to beauty centers, a lot of the things that we say are contradictory to what beauty centers have been saying. However, sometimes when you go to the Internet too much, you will be confused with a lot of things. So the best is just go to your doctor and clear your doubts if you have.
GetDoc: How challenging is it to work with patients who have a fixed idea of something - they would not listen to you.
Dr. Steve: In Malaysia it is quite challenging especially with people who come in with a pre-conceived notion. We try to help them make an informed decision by educating them and they will decide for themselves. We are there to guide and help them do the decision. We are not there to push them or force them to do if they are not ready for certain treatments.
GetDoc: What would be your advice for patients who are confused about where to go and what choice to make, regarding treatment?
Dr. Steve: I think they have to go to the proper source. Chat rooms and social media are not where you get expert advice! Social media has the tendency to sway to specific sides because it is more of a marketing tool. My opinion, so also I think other doctors would agree with me, that doctors are the best source to get your doubts cleared.
Consult a doctor - whether or not you want to carry on with the treatment would be up to you, but at least you get information from the certified source rather than from hearsay. For first time patient Its not uncommon to spend an hour just talking and discussing about their concern. If you are still confused or unconvinced, get a second opinion.
To know more about Dr Steve Chia, kindly check here
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Qian's interest in healthcare industry came about after her father was diagnosed with bladder cancer. This experience has led her to become a strong believer in empowering individuals to take charge of their own health. View all articles by Qian.