At age six, Julius Few, MD, already knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up: a doctor—specifically, a surgeon. His inspiration: Dr. Quincy, a forensic pathologist played by actor Jack Klugman in the 1970s television series Quincy M.E. Of course, Dr. Quincy’s fictitious patients were dead, but that fact escaped the young Julius Few.
“Quincy was a sleuth,” says Dr. Few. “When I saw him operating on people, I thought that was the coolest thing and I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
Today, Dr. Few is the director and founder of The Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in the heart of Chicago’s Miracle Mile. He also maintains a clinical presence in Manhattan, where he sees patients on a regular basis. The practices are based on his trademarked philosophy of the Continuum of Beauty, which involves combining multiple modalities to provide natural-looking results to patients of all ages and skin types.
In the past seven years, Dr. Few has become well known for his ability to achieve natural-looking enhancements that preserve each patient’s individuality and ethnicity. Asked to describe his aesthetic philosophy, he says, “It’s about the pursuit of graceful aging—without making it obvious.”
From Academics to Private Practice
Fascinated by the circulatory system, Dr. Few originally planned to be a heart surgeon. While in medical school he did externships in thoracic surgery and vascular surgery. But then he became acquainted with a plastic surgeon. “He had his MA in fine art and photography, so he looked at medicine through an artistic lens,” says Dr. Few. His colleague’s sense of artistry—and his ability to use it in medicine—resonated with Dr. Few. “I was always the kid with the imagination. I’ve always liked drawing and painting. I still do oil paintings,” he says. “I realized that going into plastic surgery would allow me to harness that creativity and apply it to my livelihood.”
Dr. Few spent the early years of his career in academic medicine as a clinician and associate professor at Northwestern University. “I was successful in the academic environment,” he says. “But I had reached a juncture where I had a vision of creating an institute that could be more nimble, more responsive to the rapidly changing cosmetic field, and where I could cater to patients and also do more research and development.”
In 2008, he launched The Few Institute, which offers aesthetic surgery as well as noninvasive cosmetic treatments. His staff of 10 includes four medical extenders and three employees who offer concierge services to his high-profile patients, including entertainers, actors and professional athletes. Believing that successful management starts at the top, Dr. Few has a hands-on management style. “I have very little turnover, but it takes a delicate balance of supervision and empowerment, and a lot of energy to make sure people work cohesively,” he says.
Dr. Few also trains young plastic surgeons through an ASAPS-acknowledged fellowship program at The Few Institute. “That may eventually open the door to bringing in or collaborating with another physician,” he says.
Photo by Scott Bell.