COVID-19 – A new challenge

journal for aesthetic surgery

The current issue of the Journal of Aesthetic Surgery was originally intended to be devoted entirely to the topic of lipodystrophy treatment, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Sandhofer for his guest editorship and for compiling a very good overview of this successful and pioneering procedure.


However, current circumstances are also forcing our journal to focus on current problems.

Most of us are faced with tasks that we could not even have imagined just a few weeks ago and may fear for the well-being of our families or even the continued existence of our careers. From a sober point of view, the greatest dangers probably lie in the deterioration of general economic conditions and in fear itself.

Winston Churchill had said in the midst of Britain’s seemingly hopeless situation during the German bombing:

We have nothing to fear as much as fear!

It was not least thanks to his courage and determination that the British emerged victorious from the war.

Each of us will now seek good advice from our own life experiences in order to overcome the problems. Please allow me to name 2 sources that give me personal strength and confidence. The books were written at very different times and by different personalities, the emperor Marcus Aurelius (born 121, died 180) and the stock exchange trader Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2007).

Marcus Aurelius led the Roman Empire from 161 to 180 AD, and never before or since had it expanded to such an extent. He was successful in battles and was able to secure internal peace in the empire for a very long time. But he was also a philosopher and can be categorized among the Stoics. In general terms, the core thesis of the Stoics is:

Stay calm, take things as they are and give what you can.

In his book “The Way to Himself” [1], Marcus Aurelius describes countless situations from his life in which the right way to act according to his ideas is described. You don’t have to be an expert in literature or philosophy to grasp the essential messages in this book. In any case, reading it has given me many new insights that help me cope with my tasks every day.

The other book I am telling you about is Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s bestseller “The Black Swan – The Power of Highly Improbable Events” [2], which he published in 2007, one year before the last major “financial crisis”. In this book, the fundamental error made by most people in assessing probabilities is described very clearly and with an impressively extensive reference to historical events and personalities. Not only do we derive too much regularity for the future from past experience, but we also regard any unforeseen deviation from it as a catastrophe. Both do us more harm than good. In fact, forecasts based on past findings are always subject to a great deal of uncertainty, unforeseen events are the rule rather than the exception and are often the reason why there is any further development at all. After all, we owe the evolution of all organisms to a large extent to “faulty” mutations of amino acid sequences in the genome and other deviations from “regular” processes.

There is probably never a day when I don’t benefit from the findings of the “Black Swan”. Both Marcus Aurelius and Taleb provide serenity and strength in their books, qualities that are always important for us. This is particularly important now that we, as doctors and entrepreneurs, are taking on a special responsibility for our families, patients and employees. The current crisis will also pass, and we will be stronger and more experienced afterwards. Reading the above-mentioned books in particular helps us to see an opportunity rather than a catastrophe behind every unexpected event.


I wish you all the best for the coming period and stay healthy!


Dr. Dr. Frank Muggenthaler
Editor of the JÄC and President of the GÄCD


Click here for the Journal for Aesthetic Surgery



1 AurelM (2008) DerWeg zu sich selbst. Anaconda,

2. TalebNN (2007) The Black Swan – the power
highly improbable events. Hanser, Munich