As a double board-certified cosmetic surgery specialist practicing in Huntsville, Dr. Landon D. McLain is pursuing the type of career he first envisioned as a boy growing up in Alabama. Since childhood, Dr. McLain wanted to be a doctor. As both an oral and maxillofacial and a cosmetic surgeon in Huntsville, he’s managed to combine his loves of medicine and art.
To learn more about Dr. McLain, both personally and professionally, we invite you to take a moment to read the question-and-answer interview below. You can meet him personally by requesting a consultation online, or by calling our office at 256-429-3411 to schedule an appointment.
Q&A With Dr. McLain
Q. When did you first think about becoming a doctor?
A. It’s really been a childhood dream. That may sound a little corny, but it’s true. Actually, I couldn’t decide between being a dentist, a veterinarian, or a medical doctor … so 2 out of 3 is not bad!
Q. You ended up going to dental school after getting an undergraduate degree. When did you decide to pursue medical training beyond dentistry?
A. I knew when I entered dental school I would end up going to medical school and training to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. The first surgery I ever observed was an orthognathic procedure — surgery to correct the alignment of the jaw — and I was amazed by the scope of practice and the training and education of the surgeons. That motivated me to grow my career in that direction.
Q. When were you introduced to cosmetic surgery?
A. Facial cosmetic surgery is a core part of oral and maxillofacial surgical residency. I completed as much training as possible during residency. I initially was interested in pursuing plastic surgery after residency, but was surprised at how little cosmetic training most of the plastic surgeons receive as residents, which is why I completed formal cosmetic surgery fellowship training with the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery.
Q. What did that involve?
A. That was intense training. I performed about 1,400 major surgeries, all of which involved aesthetic enhancement of the face, breasts, or body. The fellowship I completed focused entirely on cosmetic or aesthetic surgery, and in my opinion, there is no substitute for hands on experience and training.
Q. So how do patients benefit from choosing a doctor trained both as an oral and a cosmetic surgeon?
A. As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, I’ve had perhaps the most complete training available for any specialist whose practice involves head and neck anatomy. At the same time, I completed the cosmetic surgery fellowship, which expanded my aesthetic practice to the breast and body as well as the face. Fellowship training is universally regarded as the highest level of formal surgical training available and shows a dedication beyond the norm for that sub-specialty.
Q. As an undergraduate at Birmingham-Southern College you studied both chemistry and art. Does your art education continue to influence your work?
A. Absolutely. The combination of science and art is what cosmetic surgery is built on. I learned to have an eye for symmetry, contour, and form from the art classes and, obviously, learned the value of science and precision in my chemistry courses.
Q. What advice would you give to someone considering cosmetic surgery?
A. I encourage a person to choose either a surgeon who has completed formal fellowship training in cosmetic surgery or one who enjoys an established reputation in the community for excellent surgical results. That’s the first step. But it’s also important to find a surgeon whom you like personally and who will maintain a close relationship with you in the rare event of a complication or unfavorable result. During your consultation, ask specifically about the surgeon’s experience performing the exact procedure or procedures that you desire. Although board certification is important, it is not a guarantee of obtaining excellent cosmetic results, and be aware that the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is the only board that certifies surgeons exclusively in the field of cosmetic surgery.
Q. Alabama has been your home through much of your life. Does that influence your practice?
A. I do love the South. It is magical in many ways, and its people and places have a charm unlike anywhere else in the world. I may visit many other places, but I’m not sure I could live anywhere else. It’s certainly my goal for my practice to reflect that charm and hospitality.
Q. With a busy practice, free time is probably at a premium. How do you spend your downtime?
A. Spending time with my 3 young children and amazing wife is my top priority when I’m not working. We try to remain active as a family, and we spend time outdoors and traveling when we get the chance. I’m also committed to maintaining a regular exercise regimen.