IN MEMORIAM by Dr.Anastassov
I first “met” Sir, Professor, Dr. Lenny Linkow as a medical student.
My uncle, Prof. Constantine Anastassov, Chairman, first, of Head and Neck Surgery and then Plastic and Reconstructive surgery authored a textbook on Maxillofacial Surgery sometime in the late 1970’s.
There was a chapter on Oral Implantology with interesting devices, called dental implants and the history of these devices. The name “Professor Linkow” stuck in my mind due to some ingenious forms of implants that he had designed.
Later, when I was already a trained surgeon in the US, in New York I was introduced to Prof. Linkow’s practice of oral implantology by a colleague who contracted me to perform general anaesthesia for their surgical cases. I was surprised to find out that Prof. Linkow was indeed still alive and not just a part of a distant, glorious history… Indeed, he was still very active and in great physical, emotional and intellectual health!
This was sometime in 1998 when I was working full-time for Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and the VA. Eventually, I was looking to acquire a private practice in New York City and I found-out that Dr. Linkow was anticipating selling his at 5th Avenue and 50th Street.
Acquiring the practice and associating with the Father of Oral Implantology seemed to be the right choice. The idea was to expand the scope of services offered to the patients from oral implants to advanced reconstructive and aesthetic maxillofacial surgery. Both Dr. Linkow and I were very enthusiastic regarding these possibilities. This is how the “Linkow Institute for Advanced Implantology and Aesthetic and Reconstructive Maxillofacial Surgery” was born.
We built an entirely new facility equipped with state of the art instrumentarium and fully accredited operating room on the premises in 1999.
Dr. Linkow worked with us until 2002 when he retired from active clinical practice.
During this period, not only we treated a large volume of full oral and facial reconstructions on some extremely challenging cases but we performed just about anything maxillofacial surgery has to offer; from hair transplants to full facial rejuvenation and total facial makeover.
We also traveled extensively with lectures and surgical demonstrations internationally. Besides being colleagues, we became extremely close friends.
I learned a lot from Dr. Linkow in oral implantology but much more importantly, I learned how to strive for perfection, never compromise, always find a solution no matter what the circumstances are and remember that the ultimate “hero” is the patient, not the one treating him.