Whether it was molding Play-Doh into faces, building sand castles or sculpting clay into anatomic figures, Sam Rizk, MD, has been creating art ever since he was a child. His love of sculpting led him to study fine arts in high school and college, and he was floored by the works of master sculptors such as Lysippus, Michelangelo and Donatello.
“I was always a sculptor. I did a lot of sculpting in high school, and when I studied it in college, I learned more about all these great sculptors. I worked in clay, stone and alabaster, among others,” Dr. Rizk recalls. “I knew that I wanted it to somehow be part of what I did with my life. Art was and is important to me.”
His father was an anesthesiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, and Dr. Rizk felt that following his lead into medicine and specializing in facial plastic surgery was the perfect opportunity to combine art and science.
“The only difference between sculpting and what I do in surgery is the healing process, because there’s no healing time in sculpting,” he says. “I was very interested in facial anatomy. I think it’s the most complicated part of the body.”
Dr. Rizk attended the University of Michigan Medical School and became an anatomy instructor, focusing on the head and neck. It was during this period that he first considered doing facial plastic surgery seriously.
“I thought it was so unusual, and it intrigued me,” he says. “There were so many nerves, arteries and veins all in one area that is so small, it was amazing.”
Today, Dr. Rizk is one of New York City’s most in-demand facial plastic surgeons, owning and serving as director of Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgery, a JCAHO-certified surgical facility on Park Avenue. He specializes in rejuvenating the nose, face, eyes and neck areas only, and that’s one of the things he believes makes him unique.
By concentrating solely on these areas, he has obtained vast practical experience and developed innovative techniques to match the needs of his patients, such as the rapid recovery facelift and natural-looking rhinoplasty.
Photograph by Michael Weschler