05 Sep 2012

We talk to Dr Ravi Jain about his career in aesthetics, his role as president of the SCPS and how he has become one of the UK’s foremost VASER practitioners.

We talk to Dr Ravi Jain about his career in aesthetics, his role as president of the SCPS and how he has become one of the UK’s foremost VASER practitioners.

Dr Ravi Jain’s rise to the heady heights of aesthetic industry fame has been a fairly rapid one. Just five years ago he was working as a GP, when he decided to move in a different direction and start doing cosmetic medicine. Since then he has opened what is undoubtedly one of the country’s most stunning and busy clinics, become a respected speaker and KOL for some of the industry’s major brands, emerged as one of the leading VASER practitioners and trainers in the country, co-founded and taken on the role of president of the Society of Cosmetic Physicians and Surgeons and was recently named in Tatler’s Beauty and Cosmetic Surgery Guide as one of the country’s top doctors – not bad for half a decades work.

Dr Jain started out his career in medicine working in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology and trained in gynaecological laparoscopic surgery before training to become GP. It was in 2006 that he took his first foray into aesthetic medicine by going on a botulinum toxin training course and it soon became clear to him that aesthetics was the industry for him. He remembers, “I liked the fact that the patients were healthy and it was a light hearted working environment, which was very different to my NHS experiences. I also liked the business potential and I saw that this was a way for me to develop my own private practice, which was something I had always wanted to do.  
“When I started I did it alongside my general practice. They allowed me to use the practice on a fortnightly Saturday morning basis.
I quickly realised this was actually turning out to be quite a successful practice on such a part time basis and I really wanted to reduce my commitment to my general practice and increase my commitment to the cosmetic practice. I went on holiday at Christmas with my wife and I said I would like to go private full time. She was hesitant and suggested that I try to go 50/50. When I got back from holiday I discussed it with the senior partner who wasn’t keen for me to go half time so I handed in my notice.”
After making the decision to go into full time aesthetics, Dr Jain worked under the wing of industry stalwart Dr Patrick Bowler at Courthouse Clinics, but his dream was always to run a clinic of his own.
He says, “During my notice period at my GP practice I contacted Patrick Bowler and asked him whether or not he had any advice for someone in my situation. He was very supportive and helpful and was good enough to give me the opportunity to work with him at Courthouse Clinics, which was fantastic and really gave me the confidence to say ‘yes I can do this’ at the same time as allowing me to build up my own practice, which he knew I was always going to do as well.”

Dr Ravi Jain and Colleague

Not one to do things by halves, Dr Jain’s first solo aesthetic practice was to be an impressive one. After finding a 250-year-old Georgian riverside pub in the rural village of East Hyde in Bedfordshire, Dr Jain had a very clear and ambitious vision of what he wanted and set about creating a state of the art clinic, which was to be called Riverbanks. The project was an extensive one but the work paid dividends when just months after opening it won two awards at the Aesthetic Medicine Awards for Best New Clinic and Best Business Development.
He says, “I have always looked at the big picture and always wanted the biggest and the best. Luckily at the time the economic climate was much more favourable than it is now. The bank had given me a set budget to stick to and then I found this old pub down the road, which I thought would be ideal, however the problem was it was twice the budget the bank had given me. I rang the bank, they came and saw it the next day and said ‘absolutely’, which was a real stroke of luck, I don’t think they would have even looked at me today. There were a lot of stresses along the way – people said we would never get planning permission, but we did; people said there would not be enough business, we have got it; people said we would need to have signs everywhere because it is quite out of the way, but we have only just put up one small sign outside in the last two months, so I think we have gone against the odds.  If you believe you can go something you have just got to go for it.”   
Riverbanks is something to behold and is a shining example of a cool, slick, uber modern yet warm and welcoming clinic. Set on a picturesque riverside in the tranquil countryside, surrounded by local wildlife, the clinic has five treatment rooms, an operating theatre and a large reception and waiting area. Dr Jain says, ”Coming up with the concept of how I wanted the clinic to look was one of the most stressful things. If I was to do it again I would do things differently,  I would enlist the services of a full medical architect – it may have been more expensive but the stress, I expect, would be less. Also the Healthcare Commission at the time kept changing the regulations for procedure rooms so we had to keep knocking down rooms and starting again. I used to spend two or three hours here in the morning and then again at the end of the day and then do my clinics in between, and that was every day for six months.”
But Dr Jain can’t take all the credit for how good the finished article looks, his wife Roz was the brains behind a lot of the interior design. “My wife added all the finishing touches and for me that’s the icing on the cake,” he says. “She has done really great there – all the patients notice any new things in the clinic straight away, which to me says that she has got it right.”

> VASER days

One of the things Dr Jain has become most well known for is VASER and Riverbanks has recently become the first clinic in Europe to get the new VASER 2.0 system. Dr Jain trained under, arguably the world’s foremost VASER surgeon, Dr Alfredo Hoyos of The Dynamx International Center for Artistic Body Sculpting (IC:ABS) in Bogotá, and is the only doctor in the UK to have reached excellence in all three of Dr Hoyos’ VASER training courses: Basic, Advanced, and Hi-Def. He is also the first doctor in the world to be invited to join the Dynamx international faculty and is now head instructor of its satellite office at Riverbanks providing training in Basic and Advanced VASER.
“For non plastic surgeons to do VASER they need to understand tumescent liposuction, the anatomy of different areas, the techniques of different types of liposuction and then obviously the VASER technique”, he says.” There is more to it than just ‘this is how the machine works’ and sticking it in. Yes you can do a lot of good work but you can also do a lot of harm. The difference between VASER and SmartLipo is like the difference between driving a Robin Reliant and a Ferrari.  I have worked very closely with Simon Davies (Sound Surgical) to develop a training course and over the last year we have worked quite closely with Alfredo Hoyos who is, in my opinion, the best VASER surgeon in the world. We want to protect the VASER brand and make sure patients get safe and effective treatments. What you don’t want is what happened to SmartLipo – there was more marketing hype than there was medical evidence and all that led to was disappointment for the patients and doctors. VASER really can give people the shape of their dreams in the appropriate hands. What it can do, the benefits of reduced recovery and the outstanding results you can achieve with it are phenomenal. I have that much confidence in it that I have had it done myself!”   

> Speaking up

It is not just VASER that Dr Jain has made a name for himself in. He is now a regular on the speaking circuit, presenting on injectables as well as body contouring, and is a KOL for a number of big name companies including Galderma and Merz, however he is passionate about the fact he will only speak about products that he uses and genuinely feels are effective. He says, “I have always tried to make sure things are done ethically and properly and I  am very fortunate to have been asked to speak for a variety of companies, but it has always been on the principle that I am not going to give a sponsored talk,  I am just going to talk about my experiences with those products because I use them. It is about having integrity and being honest and being true to yourself and I think companies appreciate that and that is what the audience wants too.”

> High society

One of Dr Jain’s other passions is for education, which was why he set up The Society of Cosmetic Physicians and Surgeons along with fellow practitioners Dr David Eccleston, Dr Tapan Patel, Dr Robin Stones, Dr Phil Dobson, Mr Dalvi Humzah, and Dr Elizabeth Raymond.  The group was founded in May 2010 to allow cosmetic doctors, surgeons and dermatologists to share their knowledge and bridge the gap between the specialities. The aim of the association is to improve patient care by continually raising the standards of practice in cosmetic medicine. The group holds three to four meetings a year at different locations around the country where educational lectures and seminars based on evidence-based science are the key focus. Dr Jain says, “We all got together as we felt there was an opening or a void in our industry where cosmetic surgeons, physicians and dermatologists could regularly meet together in a forum setting and learn from each other. We don’t want to be seen as a political organisation at all, we just really want to talk about education.”

> A question of ethics

So what is it that has made Dr Jain’s practice so successful? Undoubtedly he is a skilled practitioner but he feels very strongly about putting the fact he is a doctor above and beyond being a successful businessman. Described by Tatler in their rave review of Riverbanks as ‘clean-cut, softly spoken and extremely knowledgable’ it is Dr Jain’s relaxed and approachable style that have made his patients love him. “You have to treat people the way that you want to be treated”, he says. “I really do believe it is all about customer service – providing a high standard of medical care in a friendly and approachable way. I am so big on the fact that we must be doing things in the right way as doctors, not cold-blooded business people. In our industry some of the patients we are treating are very vulnerable compared to other industries and I think we have a duty and obligation to only promote services and treatments that are proven to work in a medical way rather than using them as marketing tools. I do think we have a big responsibility there as doctors. Sure I may never end up being Alan Sugar but I don’t want to be – I need to be able to still sleep at night! If that makes me less successful then so be it!”

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