Living Luxe readers know Dr. Philip Solomon as a remarkable expert in all things Facial Plastic Surgery, but he is also incredibly dedicated to his profession and his patients. So, for his latest column, our team is proud to celebrate the good doctor’s more than 20 years of service when it comes to changing people’s lives.

By: Dr. Philip Solomon & Nancie Heiber

Living Luxe: You’ve been an Otolaryngologist, Head and Neck Surgeon practicing Facial Plastic Cosmetic Surgery for more than two decades. What brought you to this field?


Dr. Philip Solomon: Like many young people, I didn’t know which path to take following high school. I was in university and was considering architecture and design. My father, who was an immigrant to Canada from South Africa, had several friends who were surgeons and encouraged me to keep an open mind and apply to medical school — he felt being a doctor was a noble profession. My father, who just recently passed away, certainly played a significant role in the trajectory of my life and ultimately my career path. I went on to apply to numerous professions, and ultimately chose medicine at the University of Toronto. During my time at U of T, I immediately became drawn to head and neck anatomy and proceeded to pursue a career in Otolaryngology specializing in head and neck surgery. I was fortunate in that U of T had a world-class head-and-neck-surgery training program, which exposed me to different aspects of the field, including cancer, reconstruction and facial plastic. I practiced all of them in the early years of my career. But as my career evolved, I became more drawn to facial plastics. I had many mentors who encouraged me to pursue a career in Facial Plastic Surgery and I found this area allowed me to express the “architect” in me, combining artistry with surgery. At this point in my career, my practice is solely focused on cosmetic surgery.


Living Luxe: Besides running your successful practice, you’re highly engaged in your work, previously serving as chief of surgery at Mackenzie Health, teaching at U of T and co-directing a surgical fellowship training program for international and national trainees, to name a few. Tell us about these endeavours and how this work outside of your practice has influenced your work in the operating room.


Dr. Philip Solomon: As a surgeon, you often reflect on those who trained me as mentors. Becoming a mentor to young surgeons and giving back to the community has been important to me. I was chief of surgery at Mackenzie Health Hospital for eight years and I am an assistant professor at U of T in the division of Facial Plastic Surgery, department of Head and Neck surgery in Otolaryngology. I also am a co-director of a surgical fellowship training program for international and national trainees. This program gives surgeons the opportunity to learn and train in Canada and in my practice. Having international trainees in surgery keeps you sharp and ensures you are keeping up to date with cutting-edge technology and techniques. All these endeavors have absolutely enhanced my professional career and have been personally fulfilling.


Living Luxe: It’s integral for patients to choose a highly specialized expert when they’re considering cosmetic surgery, and you’ve built a thriving career focusing on facial procedures. What does your vast experience mean for patients when it comes to not only the procedure/surgery itself, but pre- and post-procedure?


Dr. Philip Solomon: Just like any other professional career, your body of work and experience define you professionally. After doing thousands of procedures over more than two decades, I can assess patients and provide them with more predictable outcomes. As Malcolm Gladwell defines in his book Outliers, there’s a 10,000-hour rule — it takes 10,000 hours of experience to become exceptional at any skill. I can say now, looking back at my career, it took me at least 10 years to shape my practice and hone my techniques.



Living Luxe: You take a lot of pride in your going commitment to professional development. Please tell us how you stay current and on top of new technologies?


Dr. Philip Solomon: We never stop learning. There is always something to be gained going to conferences and seeing what’s new and talking to colleagues in the industry. We all learn from each other and it’s a very supportive community of doctors who share information about complex cases. In the past, the industry was somewhat competitive; now, it’s about collegiality and sharing, which elevates the industry and leads to improving patient outcome.


Living Luxe: What have you learned in your 20-plus years in the profession, and what do you hope to learn in the next 20?


Dr. Philip Solomon: Aesthetic surgery is an emotional journey. The technical aspect, while critical, is only part of the process. Patients come to us with their vulnerabilities — they want to feel heard, supported and cared for throughout the process. Ensuring good communication with each patient is critical to establish realistic goals and surgical outcomes. Patient selection is part of this process. We only take on patients who we feel are good candidates for the given procedure. The surgical process isn’t only about the surgical outcome, but the emotional journey from beginning to end.