Dr. Bunkis with Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and the Honorable Mame Mbay, Honorary Consul representing Senegal
By Drs. John Compoginis, Staci Compoginis, Deborah Ekstrom and Juris Bunkis
It is not every day that an invitation arrives, requesting one’s presence at a dinner with a King! Amazingly, I got such an invitation and last week attended the King Hamad Award for Peaceful Coexistence dinner at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. Security, as you can imagine, was tight but no different than it was when the Latvian Prime Minister last visited us. I must confess that I enjoy the excitement and historical significance of such contacts.
Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, now 73, as the King of Bahrain, has been a pivotal figure in the modern history of the nation. He ascended to the throne on March 6, 1999, succeeding his father, King Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
During his rule, King Hamad has been instrumental in driving socio-economic reforms and political liberalization in Bahrain. He initiated the National Action Charter, which was approved by a national referendum in 2001, paving the way for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and granting greater political participation to citizens.
Under his leadership, Bahrain has witnessed advancements in various sectors, including education, healthcare, and infrastructure. The King has also prioritized efforts to diversify the economy beyond oil, encouraging investment and promoting Bahrain as a regional financial hub.
As with most of the Arab States, relations with Israel were difficult initially, but in 2005, Bahrain abandoned its boycott of Israel, in exchange for a free trade agreement with the United States. The narrative was so similar to what Dr. Ekstrom and I experienced during a visit to Azerbaijan last year – peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance. In 2020, Bahrain signed the Bahrain-Israel normalization agreement called the Abraham Accords, normalizing diplomatic and other relations between Bahrain and Israel. On the American side, these accords were negotiated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who was the recipient of King Hamad’s Award for Peaceful Coexistence. His keynote address also was centered on peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance and was very well received.
What was not brought up during the dinner was King Haman’s response to the challenges he faced during the Arab Spring in 2011 when Bahrain experienced widespread protests calling for political reforms and greater civil liberties. On March 14, 2011, 1,000 troops from Saudi Arabia, 500 troops from UAE and naval ships from Kuwait entered Bahrain and crushed the uprising. The next day, King Hamad declared martial law and a three-month state of emergency ensued.
Overall, King Hamad’s reign has seen both progress and challenges, leaving a significant impact on the modernization and development of Bahrain and brought the Middle East a step closer to peace.
What is trending in Plastic Surgery?
by Drs. Deborah Ekstrom and Juris Bunkis
Plastic surgery as we practice it today is quite different from that practiced in the late 70’s and early 80’s when we were plastic surgery residents.
Procedures and results have gotten better, we might add. As of 2023, several trending topics have emerged in the field of plastic surgery, reflecting the ever-evolving nature of the specialty. These trends are driven by advances in medical technology, changing societal perceptions of beauty, and an increased emphasis on minimally invasive procedures. Here are some of the most notable trends in plastic surgery:
Non-surgical procedures: Non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures continue to gain popularity. Treatments such as dermal fillers, botulinum toxin injections (Botox), and laser therapies are on the rise due to their effectiveness, shorter recovery times, and reduced risks compared to traditional surgical interventions. But patients have to have a realistic idea of what these minimally invasive procedures will accomplish – sometimes to get the desires result, a more invasive procedure will remain necessary.
Body contouring and sculpting: With an increased focus on body positivity, body contouring and sculpting procedures are gaining traction. Especially in the months leading up to and during the summer, “bathing suit season”, techniques like liposuction, tummy tucks, and Brazilian butt lifts are sought after for achieving desired body proportions and shapes.
Nonsurgical facial rejuvenation: In addition to injectables, non-surgical facial rejuvenation techniques like radiofrequency, ultrasound, and microneedling are being adopted. The issue with these procedures, in our experience, is that patients are rarely satisfied with the minimal improvement such procedures provide.
Customization and personalization: Plastic surgeons are adopting innovative technologies to offer more personalized treatment plans. Imaging of the expected results enable patients to visualize potential outcomes and collaborate with their surgeons in making informed decisions.
Transgender surgeries: With growing awareness and acceptance of gender diversity, there is an increasing demand for gender-affirming surgeries. Surgeons are refining techniques for procedures like facial feminization surgery and gender-affirming chest surgeries to cater to the unique needs of transgender patients.
Integrative approaches: A holistic approach to beauty and well-being is gaining popularity, with plastic surgeons collaborating with nutritionists, personal trainers, and mental health professionals to optimize overall results and patient satisfaction.
Revision surgeries and complications management: As the number of plastic surgeries increases, so does the need for revision procedures and complication management. Surgeons are focusing on improving techniques and providing comprehensive post-operative care to ensure optimal outcomes and patient safety.
Seeing a more natural appearance: While some patients definitely expect to have rather noticeable changes after surgery, the trend these days to requests smaller breast implants and more natural looking breasts than in the 1980’s, a more natural buttocks after BBL procedures, and more natural looking faces after facial rejuvenation, staying away from the “wind-tunnel look” of the 1980’s. It is our job as plastic surgeons to evaluate each patient’s expectations during the initial consultation and to provide the patient with the results they are looking for, if feasible.
It is important to note that while these trends reflect the current landscape of plastic surgery, the field is continuously evolving. Patients considering plastic surgery should conduct thorough research, consult with board-certified plastic surgeons, and prioritize their safety and well-being above all else.
Female in her late 50s with signs of aging reversed by Dr. Bunkis’ A-to-V Natural Facelift as well as an upper and lower eyelid blepharoplasty
(actual patient of Dr. Bunkis)