As the latest installment in a trilogy of books, this expertly crafted publication provides an understanding of the artistic impressions of body image in young people. Through a one-of-a-kind collection of patient-created drawings, Dr. Lukash showcases a unique portrayal of how children and teens view themselves both pre and post-surgery. “Operation Art” provides the reader with evidence to believe it is possible to empower young people through safe and appropriate change.
Dr. Lukash is not just a gifted surgeon; he understands the “gift” he has bestowed upon so many young people: hope for a life with an increased sense of self.
Proceeds from the sale of Operation Art will be donated to the non-profit ReSurge International.
I’m Frederick Lukash. I’m a board certified plastic surgeon. My specialty is pediatric and, now, adolescent surgical procedures. I’m very concerned and consumed with information about body image and self-esteem on growing children into adults, because the emotional aspects of their lives are very important, it’s how they’re going to mature into productive adults.
For the last almost 50 years, I’ve been involved in following how they develop. Historically, I’ve been a counselor at summer camps. I’ve been a doctor at summer camps for kids. I’ve been a coach of high school fencing teams, I’ve participated in fencing and dealt with kids all along the way. As a surgeon, I try to incorporate my concern and my feelings for the growth and development of children into my body of work.
For the last 50 years, I’ve been collecting drawings that children have made for me about their emotional experiences before and after plastic surgical procedures. These pictures have been reviewed by art therapists and child psychiatrists and categorized, and it led to an exhibit called Operation Art, which traveled around the country. I ultimately put that exhibit into a book, which deals with nonverbal communication and the feelings of children as they emote about their anxiety of their issue, the surgical journey and the transformation into feeling more comfortable in their own skin. That’s this book, Operation Art.
But how they feel, there’s more to it than just surgery. Surgery on this population cannot just be another aspect of surgeons making money off a patient population. Doing the best they can do for themselves was very important to me, so I wrote a book about nutrition and exercise because I’ve been very interested in health. The way I wrote it, it’s called The Restore Point.
Why is it The Restore Point? Because everybody is born with an operating system, a hard drive that can’t be changed. That’s your genetics, it’s the way you were born, but what changes is the software, or what you do, which is your nutrition and your exercising, et cetera. But when your software gets upgraded, upgraded, upgraded, and it outstrips your hard drive, then you get viruses, malware and you crash. The only way to fix it is to get it restored.
I put it in kid speak as The Restore Point. Basically, what I did was I did an historical and anthropological look at eating and I found all the watersheds in obesity through the Agricultural Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the Information Age. I went through all the risk factors to obesity, and then I looked at all the different diet and nutritional programs and I summarized them into what I thought would work the best for young children and adults and families. Then I put in an exercise program, called The Ready Point, which gets children off the couch and back into doing something. Once they’ve achieved the goals written in the book, they can then pick up a sport, go to the gym, hire a coach, do something.
What I did was I developed the food wheel, because previously things were the food pyramid, but I surmised that all societies that utilized pyramids were extinct so I felt that the food pyramid was probably extinct as far as its nutritional benefit. I developed the food wheel, which the rim of the wheel is water, the spokes are fruits and vegetables, the hub is protein, the axle is fat. It’s an easy way for people to recognize it. What keeps the wheel going is grease, which is a little treat you give yourself once in a while.
Then with a friend of mine, who was a trainer, I developed the moving section, called The Ready Point, where we came up with exercises that could be done at home, which were just bands. We were using bands before bands became popular. Once people got moving and got themselves optimal, sometimes they would need surgery. In this book, I outline the basic redraping procedures, when someone has lost so much weight that they’re again uncomfortable in their own skin because they went from being uncomfortable being heavy to uncomfortable, being too thin and having too much loose skin.
Now, once I have the emotional aspects of the way they feel and things that they can do for themselves, sometimes there are only things that surgery will take care of. I wanted to write a book that provided parents and kids with all the things they needed to know about choosing a plastic surgeon, deciding if surgery was right for themselves, and the steps to go through in order to achieve their goal. I went through everything from who should do it, who shouldn’t do it, the cost of it, the recovery of it. I went through each procedure that kids most frequently would have, or teenagers, through the recovery period, through cutting-edge procedures, through procedures that shouldn’t be done, through ethnically-related procedures, through the recovery period and through moving forward with their own life. That’s this book.
All three books are on Amazon and they’re all what I consider a part of a trilogy in understanding body image and self-esteem.