DR IOANNIS LIAKAS, medical director of Vie Aesthetics is the name to be reckoned with in the field of aesthetics. His soft surgery and tailor-made treatments have clients lining up at his practices in Southend, London’s Harley Street and in Germany, where there is a three-month waiting list for his skills.
In search of a more natural look, people are increasingly opting for alternatives to traditional cosmetic surgery.
Soft surgery has none of the risks associated with the local or general anaesthetic required for traditional scalpel surgery. There is also minimal recovery time required - clients can have the treatment and immediately get on with their lives, even returning to work straight from the clinic.
When I arrive to meet Ioannis at his Harley Street clinic one wet afternoon, there’s a familiar-looking woman just leaving, in dark glasses and a headscarf. “Is that who I think it is?” I ask the doctor’s assistant. “We never tell!” she laughs.
Dr Ioannis, too, is the soul of discretion when I ask again about the identity of the celebrity, making no reply. Born in Greece, he has a soft, Mediterranean voice, and a calm, reassuring manner. He’s interested in listening to his clients and seems to understand exactly what they’re looking for.
|Dr Ioannis Liakas with his team at Vie Aesthetics|
“I really realised when I watched the TV show, MASH, that I wanted to be a doctor and to help people,” he tells me.
He returned to Greece to study and, in 1990, graduated from Thessaloniki University. He went on to do his military service, which is compulsory in Greece, as a junior doctor. “It was a great education for me, and gave me my confidence as a doctor,” he says.
In the late 1990s he went to work in the accident and emergency department at a hospital in Kent. Although he spoke very good English, he had to hire a tutor to familiarise himself with the slang used for words such as “vomit” that are often bandied around by patients in A&E.
Dr Ioannis started to develop an interest in anti-ageing when he studied Gerontology at Kings College in London. An opportunity arose in 2005 when a friend who was working as an injector at leading cosmetic clinic had to leave before his contract ended and he was asked to step in.
He worked with Botox and fillers to begin with but wanted to bring more to it, so decided to learn all about the craft of aesthetics. Along with a real thirst for knowledge, he brought his own unique style to the industry and in 2013, along with partner Vicky Grammatikopulo, opened his first clinic.
“I see aesthetics as rather like sculpting,” he explains. “My work does not suit a traditional mainstream clinic that wants everything to be a carbon copy. People are all different and you need to look at the face of an individual and prescribe maybe one or even three or four treatments to create the look they ultimately want.”
Dr Ioannis specialises in soft surgery and believes there is usually no need for a cosmetic face-lift or other treatments that can have severe side effects and a lengthy recovery time.
“I’m not saying that a face lift or traditional lipo isn’t good for some people. But soft surgery will for sure fend off the need to have such harsh treatments. It will refresh the face and may also stop someone needing a full-on cosmetic treatment.”
|With the Classic Models ambassadors of the clinic|
Soft surgery is a highly skilled procedure and should only be carried out by an experienced doctor. Dr Ioannis, as well as being an NHS consultant, is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, an honourary senior lecturer at Queen’s School of Medicine and an associate member of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine.
He shows me some of the amazing results he has achieved on clients; in particular one man who was a mature student and on whom two hard years of studying had taken its toll.
“He had the four treatment plan,” Dr Ioannis says, with all the enthusiasm of an artist unveiling his new creation. The results are truly impressive - the treatment included Plexr around the eyes, Botox and filler, a little fat-dispensing injection around the chin and Silhouette soft threads to lift the face.
Plexr is a great alternative to having an eye-job and Dr Ioannis has carried out thousands of treatments at his clinic. The Plexr machine gives the equivalent of a small lighting spark and as well as lifting the skin it gets rid out loose skin without having to cut, so it leaves no scars. Silhouette Soft creates a natural face-lift and over a period lifts and stimulates the collagen.
“They both give fantastic results that are natural looking and although you will need to have some recovery time with Plexr, as it leaves the skin looking red and scaly, this usually diminishes in seven days,” he says.
“With the threads though you can leave that day and go about your business. The results are immediate and only get better over the following few months.”
|Out and about at a charity event with Vie Director Vicky Grammatikopoulou .|
Dr Ioannis puts his success down to having a fantastic team, which brings a comfortable, family feel to the clinic. The client is encouraged to ask questions and share any concerns and is never made to feel stupid.
The clinic is growing and Dr Ioannis has already brought another doctor on board, who is being trained in all the techniques. “It’s important to the brand that everyone is of the same high standard,” he says.
Of course, I can’t leave without letting Dr Ioannis take a look at my face. Even after the briefest of consultations, I can see exactly why clients are lining up for his skills.
|Me meeting Dr Ioannis at his clinic in Harley Street|
Pictures by David Kerr
and Vie Aesthetics