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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Born again - The new face of cosmetic surgery

By Penelope Wild
Special to The Toronto Sun

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Cosmetic surgery has come into the light. Who's had it, who hasn't -- and who should. Where once they were deep, dark secrets, movie stars now trumpet their procedures from the covers of national magazines.

Even as the public becomes more accepting, practitioners like Dr. Trevor Born continue to do the work they love knowing that, beyond vanity, cosmetic surgery can offer healthy patients a self-confidence boost in an increasingly competitive -- and looks-conscious -- society.

Reconstructive surgery remains an important part of his work, but Born says the cosmetic side of his well-respected practice offers fulfilment of a different kind.

"I'm always pleased to know that the changes I've made to patients have affected their lives in a positive way," he says. "We're moving forward with more of a focus on health and lifestyle in terms of diet management, skin care, etc. It's really about total wellness and longevity."

Born leads by example. An avid athlete with a wide range of interests including mountain biking, skiing, snow boarding, sailing (he and his team won a bronze medal in 1999's Pan-Am Games) and wind surfing, Born is also one of the city's most respected plastic surgeons. (Fittingly, another interest is sculpture.)

It's this kind of well-roundedness that Born says makes for an ideal candidate for cosmetic surgery. He regularly turns away business -- he estimates as much as 25% -- because he doesn't think the prospective patient is there for the right reasons. Born makes it clear that a surgical procedure, no matter how major, isn't going to turn anyone into a different person.

"Your boyfriend's desire for them is not a good reason for a breast augmentation," he says. "The best patients are those who have a realistic view of what surgery can -- and can't -- accomplish. However, as a complement to a healthy lifestyle and good values, it can help people achieve the overall package they seek."

In addition to his practice at the acclaimed Toronto Institute of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, he is on staff at Toronto East General Hospital, where he specializes in reconstructive surgery for OHIP patients. Among the procedures offered at the Institute are breast augmentation (the most popular); liposuction; lifts to the eyelids, forehead and other areas of the face; body contouring; Botox injections and facial peels.

At 38, Born has already accomplished more than many people do in a lifetime: after med school at McMaster University in Hamilton, he completed his internship at Mt. Sinai, followed by five years of plastic surgery training at such renowned institutions as St. Joseph's, The Hospital for Sick Children, Sunnybrook and St. Michael's. He followed this up with a year's fellowship under the tutelage of industry leaders in Paris, Marseilles, Zurich and California.

Although he comes by his talent honestly -- his father, Dr. Gunter Born, who retired in 2002, was one of Canada's plastic surgery pioneers -- Born says it's pure passion that led him to the operating room.
Dr. Trevor Born says that Botox injections are safe and fast, which has helped these $400-to-$1,200 procedures grow in popularity enormously in the past few years. Botox helps smooth out fine wrinkles, such as those little frown lines that make their appearance on foreheads. "You can come in on your lunch hour and go right back to work," he says. "There is very little discomfort and the treatment lasts only a few minutes."

"I was always interested in the sciences, so going into medicine was a natural progression for me. Science is a constantly evolving field, which means I never lose interest," he says.

"Plastic surgery is an interesting speciality because you use your technical knowledge and a lot of creativity. You really need to be able to blend artistry with your technical talents."

Born joined Dr. Thomas Bell at the Institute in 1997, where they continue to offer a comfortable and professional atmosphere to their patients. Its chic environment at 199 Avenue Rd. (at Davenport Rd.) makes a big first impression: marble foyer, soft lights, unobtrusive decor.

For some of Born's patients, a welcoming environment is particularly important, as he says up to 20% of his business involves fixing previous procedures done by other surgeons.

Born's commitment to the next generation of surgeons is as solid as his commitment to the well-being of his patients. He teaches residents at the University of Toronto, and offers his extensive knowledge by way of lectures and seminars.

In the end, it's his commitment to excellence that makes Born such a success, both personally and professionally.

"It's an exciting time to be involved in medicine. Nothing stays the same.

"New advancements and techniques are constantly being developed. It's such a dynamic field, I just can't imagine ever being bored."

On Dec. 15 at 10 a.m., Dr. Marla Shapiro, host of CTV's Balance TV will follow Born in his operating room where he'll perform live surgery -- a breast lift with augmentation.

For more information, please contact his office at 416-921-7546 or visit

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