Dr Patrick Treacy shares his adventures throughout his medical and aesthetic career and reminisces on the growth of the specialty
“There is no doubt that the further study of stem cells and growth factors will change this field”
“I was captured by Saddam Hussein’s army while working as a doctor in Iraq, delivered a baby at sea while I was a ship doctor off the coast of Mexico, had to have a piece cut out of my leg to debride a HIV needlestick, and experienced conflict first-hand while growing up in Northern Ireland,” tells Dr Patrick Treacy, and the stories go on… It’s hard to believe that someone can fit all these adventures, and more, into one lifetime, while also having an established career in aesthetics.
Dr Treacy even became Michael Jackson’s practitioner in 2006, but that is a story best told in his memoir, Behind the Mask, which he published in 2015. “I never speak publicly about my patients, but in Michael’s case, I made an exception because I want to defend him from his detractors and show his human side, a person who always cared deeply about others,” he writes.
Dr Treacy’s story began in a small village in rural County Fermanagh, Garrison. He was extremely bright as a child, winning national awards for science and biochemistry, which pre-empted him to study molecular biology at Queen’s University in Northern Ireland. However, he strived to be a doctor, so transferred to medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, graduating in 1986.
“I knew medicine was my forte and I really wanted to continue and study plastic surgery but getting into it was quite difficult at the time in Ireland and I also aspired to travel,” Dr Treacy explains.
He went on to work as a doctor in countries like Iraq, South Africa, California and New Zealand. While he was in Australia, the use of botulinum toxin was just beginning and was something that interested him, so he completed formal toxin training in Brisbane in 1997. Dermal fillers and the IPL laser were also gaining popularity during this time; Dr Treacy says, “These new modalities really interested me and I was really attracted to helping people with cosmetic injuries and concerns so, when I decided to come back to Dublin in 1998, I opened Ailesbury Clinic. At the time, there were no other clinics in Ireland doing these kinds of treatments, and there were just a few aesthetic clinics in the UK.”
The business developed into two successful clinics, which Dr Treacy still runs to this day. He also started separate hair transplant clinics in Serbia, Moscow, Holland, Dubai and Saudi Arabia that franchised to another 20 clinics in India, which he later sold. One of the most memorable experiences in the early days came in 2001; he says, “People were suffering from HIV and, as a consequence, they were getting facial lipodystrophy. I came up with a technique to treat these patients which existed until the new antiviral drugs came forward in 2007.”
Dr Treacy has won over 20 medical and innovation awards from across the globe, and is currently a finalist in several others, which is something he is extremely proud of. However, when thinking about his achievements, he says, “I think one of my biggest has to be establishing the hyaluronic acid protocols for hyaluronidase in 2005 – moving the concept of dosing from the tens to the hundreds, I think, has been pivotal. Also, being asked to speak at international conferences for my research throughout my career in topics such as treating complications, neurological effects of botulinum and accelerating wound repair has been a real highlight.”
Although Dr Treacy has been extremely successful in his own right, his top tip for success involves others. He explains, “There are an awful lot of egos in this industry, so I would advise people to stay level-headed, get above the corporate aspect of aesthetic medicine, and always follow a good physician for mentorship. I also believe that practitioners should always keep their colleagues as good friends because you never know when you may need them!”
When looking to the future of the industry, Dr Treacy believes new developments in diagnostic technology will change the way practitioners approach their treatments. He adds, “There is also no doubt that the further study of stem cells and growth factors will change aesthetics and allow us to regenerate tissue in a way that we haven’t been able to yet. I think it could even be used to reverse blindness in vascular occlusion cases one day, which would be crucial in this field.”
Looking to Dr Treacy’s own future, he says he will continue to strive towards further developments in the field, adding to his list of over one hundred scientific articles. He is also expecting to release a new book next year, which is sure to be filled with more fascinating adventures.
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