No matter where you are in life, it is an honor to be asked your opinion. It takes it to the next level to be asked to teach from your experience. It seemed like a basic task: Come to Florida Atlantic University and speak to a group of eager, budding, medical-school-bound students how I chose my profession and wound up doing what I’m doing today. Again, it seemed straightforward.
What Is Your “Little Red Arrow”?
They say life is all about the journey—medicine is no exception. I told this bright, aspiring crowd that everyone needs to find their “little red arrow”. The “arrow” metaphor is derived from a marketing funnel: Many options are at the top of the funnel, but over time they get whittled down to a single path, a single “red arrow” that points you in the right direction.
The field, the calling, the area of medicine that will become your passion will give you an excitement that no other field can. The wizard doesn’t choose the wand, the wand chooses the wizard (apologies to J.K. Rowling). That is where you point your arrow.
How I Found My Little Red Arrow (Total Nose Approach TM)
I described for the students my path, beginning in Baltimore from a “learned family of physicians” (“Stepbrother” reference for any Will Ferrell fans), continuing at Yale as a molecular biophysics major, heading to the University of Chicago Medical School, and then getting accepted to the Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery residency program at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. I even had to admit my age, as I became chief resident in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins the year after Ben Carson held the same position there in the Department of Neurosurgery. My connection with Ben ends there: Sorry, but I have no aspirations of running for president.
It is fortunate when luck meets the open mind. As I was searching for my little red arrow at Johns Hopkins, my professor, David Kennedy, brought back from a sabbatical in Austria a new technique for minimally invasive sinus surgery. This was to be the start of my little red arrow. Dr. Kennedy was the consummate rhinologist, and I had the pleasure of being one of his instructors at the first-ever United States Conference On Endoscopic Sinus Surgery, which was held at Johns Hopkins in 1985. Just as he concentrated solely on the inside workings of the nose, my subsequent training as a facial plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California, was with a wonderful surgeon, Dr. Wally Berman, whose internationally recognized forte was the outside of the nose. My formal training was thereby completed. In fact, technically I (and my co-chief resident that year) were the first surgeons in the world trained in both the outside cosmetic and reconstructive aspects of nasal surgery and this new, minimally invasive approach for internal nose and sinus issues.
How the above developed into my ”little red arrow” was fortuitous. Immediately after departing Beverly Hills and establishing my practice in Boca Raton (almost three decades ago), I received patient referrals to Floridians who had contacted Johns Hopkins had referred them to me. It was not long until the first such referral asked about the outside of their nose as well. It seemed a natural fit for me. Why not do the total nose? I was hesitant at first. However, any doubt in my mind dissipated when I saw the patient’s elation during his post-operative visit. The Total Nose Approach TM was an industry-changing procedure that was here to stay. To see Total Nose Approach TM in action, watch this video.
Keeping Your Little Red Arrow Pointing In The Right Direction
It’s been nearly three decades since I first performed the Total Nose Approach TM procedure. Since that time, we have made refinements to minimally invasive sinus procedures, including balloon sinuplasty, as well as minimally invasive procedures for rhinoplasty. Performing the Total Nose Approach TM, enabling patients to look and feel their best, has become my “sub-sub-subspecialty” (otolaryngology-facial plastic surgery-rhinology-the Total Nose). My Total Nose Approach TM patients are extremely appreciative, some even declaring that these surgeries have been “life changing”—see their testimonials on this page. That validation is what keeps that little red arrow pointing in the right direction. Your goal, as I related to the eager and diverse group of FAU students—most of whom stayed awake for the entire lecture—is to connect with the “wand” that was intended for you, and to make your own unique mark on the world.
To find out more or book an appointment for The Total Nose Approach™ call us at 561-939-0909 or fill out the short form below!
For more posts like this, follow @NathanNachlasMD on Twitter (click FOLLOW below):
— Nathan Nachlas, M.D. (@NathanNachlasMD) November 7, 2015