Dr Judodihardjo is the current President Elect Designate for the Royal Society of Medicine Aesthetic Medicine Conference. He was the past Vice President of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors and was a board director of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine. Dr Judodihardjo frequently chairs and lectures in both national and international Aesthetic Medical conferences. He is also one of the Key Opinion Leaders for several major pharmaceuticals and device manufacturers.
Dr Judodihardjo is a graduate from the Queen’s University of Belfast with medical degree MB BCH BAO. He further obtained postgraduate qualifications, Master of Science in Dermatology (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), from The University of Wales in Cardiff, where he also used to work as a clinical lecturer. His affiliations include The Royal Society of Medicine, International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology, British Association of Dermatologist and European Society of Cosmetic and Aesthetic Dermatology.
What sparked you to pursue aesthetic medicine?
I started getting interested in Aesthetic Medicine in 1995. Aesthetic Medicine was still a very new concept then and only very few clinics were established in the United Kingdom at that time. For a number of years I attended the American Academy of Dermatology conferences and aesthetic medicine formed a large part of these conferences. I learned a lot from them but after a while I felt that I needed to further my studies beyond what these large conferences could offer, i.e. step by step instructions or personal teachings. I then started to supplement my learning by going to smaller meetings and courses all over the world. Once I had gained sufficient knowledge and confidence, I then started my clinic in 1998.
Aesthetic Medicine is a very progressive discipline. I hope one day it will be recognized as a specialty in its own right. There is so much to learn and even after 20 years in private Aesthetic Medicine practice I am still learning and continuing to improve my skills and knowledge.
What could you tell us about your clinics?
I now have two clinics. I started Cellite Clinic Limited in Cardiff in 1998 with my wife, Susan. I am responsible for the clinical management of patients while Susan became the registered manager of the clinic. My other clinic is in partnership with Dr Sajjad Rajpar and together we started Belgravia Dermatology in London in March 2017.
Cellite Clinic is a well-established clinic with several thousand patients that come for their treatments annually. The clinic is located in Cardiff City Centre in a 4-storey terraced building of about 350 sq. meters. We decided to only open from Monday to Friday but for longer hours from 10 am to 7 pm daily so that patients who work can still attend the clinic after their work. I try to make Cellite Clinic to be a one-stop clinic for all Aesthetic Medical needs. We offer the a huge range of services including Hair Transplant, facial treatments (neurotoxin injections, dermal fillers, chemical peels, ablative and non-ablative lasers, IPL, etc), body contouring (liposuction and non-surgical lipolysis), other lasers for hair removal, tattoo removal and Aesthetic Gynecology (to treat stress incontinence and loose vagina syndrome).
Belgravia Dermatology is our new clinic in west London. Currently we only carry out clinical treatments on Fridays but the reception is there to take bookings on the other days of the week. In this clinic, we treat a lot more general dermatology cases. The Aesthetic dermatology service is currently limited to only neurotoxins injections, dermal fillers, chemical peels and Tixel treatments. Currently we are planning to start another branch of the clinic in the east London area in a much larger premise so that we can offer more extensive treatments.
What has been your experience regarding staff?
Staff management is the hardest job in running a clinic. I had hired and fired several staff members over the years however I am lucky that my current staff are loyal and love their jobs. They have each worked for me for several years, and my nurse has even worked for me now for over 15 years.
I had fired staff for persistently coming in late for work, not being able to integrate well with other staff, stealing, and nurses who just want to use my clinic to learn and to practice before starting a clinic on their own. The most upsetting one for me was a member of staff who appeared to be hard working and happy but unknown to me at that time she had kleptomania. She worked for me for almost 9 years and in that time the clinic and other staff kept losing things. I was surprised when I found out about this and had to fire her. The police eventually caught her when she tried to steal a wallet in a party.
I pay my staff well. I do not incentivize them with large commissions for push selling our medical services or retail products. I want my staff to only offer treatments and products that the patients need. However, to incentivize my staff to maintain good standards of work I do give them a small bonus when they perform treatments.
I have also learnt over the years that a good loyal and effective staff member has to come with all the following qualities without exception: interest in aesthetic medicine, good team player, good communicator, caring towards others, organized and reliable.
What devices do you have in your clinics?
Cellite Clinic owns a lot of lasers and IPL machines. Currently Cellite Clinic owns
- Diode laser for hair removal and vascular treatment
- Q-switch Nd-YAG laser for tattoo removal and treatment for red face and superficial skin pigmentation
- Er-YAG laser for ablative skin tightening and aesthetic gynecology
- CO2 laser for ablative skin resurfacing and as a cutting laser
- 1060 nm laser for laser lipolysis
- IPL machine for treatment of rosacea
- Red LED light for PDT
I do walk around exhibition halls in conferences to look for what lasers and devices are new. The first thing I look for in a laser is if it has published papers to indicate that it works and its results are repeatable. I then build a business plan to see if I can offer this service profitably. If both criteria are met then I would consider buying the laser.
What had you learned in marketing your clinic?
I find marketing a medical clinic is not easy. Over the years, I had tried all form of advertising including leaflets drop, magazine, online, social media, radio, billboards, golf clubs, sponsorships, etc. I believe the “word of mouth” is still the best advertisement. My advice therefore, is to treat anyone that walk into your clinic as good and as honestly as possible. The current second best form of advertisement I believe is online marketing. Most people now search for where to go for their treatments online.
What are your most popular treatments?
Currently, neurotoxin and dermal fillers injections are still the two most common treatments that I do. They are not the most profitable but they form the “bread and butter” of the clinic cash flow. The most profitable are, of course, the more invasive treatments such as hair transplants or liposuction. However, these do not form a large part of my daily work.
I had dropped “thread lift” and semi-permanent dermal fillers because I found these treatment results are inconsistent and the incidences of side- effect are higher than what I am comfortable with.
What have you learned in your experience as an aesthetic physician?
I believe many who are not practicing aesthetic medicine still think that I am just wasting my time treating “vanity”. I believe that “vanity” is when someone takes excessive pride in one’s appearance, ability, achievements etc. I have found, however, the majority of my patients are the opposite of this definition of vanity. They come to see me because they are lacking in self-confidence due to their appearance or skin blemishes. Some are even housebound because of their fear of being seen in public while others use thick makeup or items of clothing to hide their problems. Many of my patients have told me how grateful they are for how my treatments have changed their lives. I think aesthetic medicine has now become such a big part of the fabric of our society that it should form a separate specialty of its own so that it can be better monitored, controlled and standards upheld. Once it is accepted that aesthetic problems can significantly affect someone’s life and cause ”dis-ease” to a patient then perhaps my patients will not have to feel ashamed anymore when they come to see me. Sadly, even in this modern day and age, aesthetic medicine can still be considered a taboo in many societies.
As an experienced physician, what tips or words of wisdom can you impart to fellow physicians?
For anyone who wants to enter into aesthetic medicine they need to remember that aesthetic medicine is still medicine. The Hippocratic oath that we as doctors made before our graduation must still be honored and that is “Primum non nocere” or “first, do no harm”. In order to achieve this, it is our responsibility to get as much training as possible before starting on this path. Then do guard your heart and mind. As aesthetic medicine is all privately funded it is very easy to get greedy, or due to financial burden, and be tempted to sell treatments that are not necessary to our patients.
An aesthetic medical clinic is a business. Therefore you would need a proper business plan before starting one. Watch your cash flows and keep your overheads low at the beginning. It is much harder to get patients to than you think!
About Dr. Harryono Judodihardjo
Dr Harryono Judodihardjo is the Medical Director of the multi-award winning Cellite Clinic in Cardiff and a partner of the Belgravia Dermatology Limited in London. Cellite Clinic is the oldest independent Aesthetic Medical clinic in Wales that was started by Dr Judodihardjo in 1998. The clinic has to date performed over 40 thousand procedures which gives Dr Judodihardjo enormous experience in Aesthetic Medicine.