Generally speaking the word beauty is a positive word, with roots in balance, harmony and overall general visual appearance. Although spiritually and philosophically we know that beauty is more than skin deep. However, for the purposes of our profession, we focus on anatomic or visual appearance as the gold standard for beauty. In today’s culture, the concept of beauty is clear — it’s all about how something or someone looks. This may sound superficial, but over the decades I’ve learned that one’s appearance is deeply rooted and intimately connected to their personal well-being.
Asa part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Thomas Trevisani.
Dr. Thomas Trevisani, often referred to as Dr. Tom, is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in Rhinoplasty, Primary and Revision, as well as Body Contouring after weight loss including post-bariatric reconstruction. His body contouring procedures are precise and transformative. His Rhinoplasties are elegant and refined. Practicing for over 30 years, Dr. Tom has become widely known for performing Closed Rhinoplasty, also referred to as Endonasal Rhinoplasty, nasal surgery performed by making all main incisions hidden inside.
Based in Orlando, Florida, Dr. Tom is one of the most experienced and trusted cosmetic surgeons in the country. He has been featured in a wide range of top tier media outlets including The Doctors, and won “Best Bets” by Orlando Sentinel for five consecutive years. He was named “Top Physician” by Orlando Family Magazine, “Top 100 Doctors” by Real Self from 2012 to 2019.
In addition to being certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Tom is a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and was previously on the Board of Directors for the Orlando Chapter of the American Cancer Society. In response to his lectures and publications, Dr. Tom has been the recipient of the Physician’s Recognition Award for Continuing Medical Education by the American Medical Association. Dr. Thomas P. Trevisani’s private practice has been successfully performing plastic and reconstructive surgery in the Orlando area since 1981.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
What brought me to this specific career path of plastic surgery goes back to my preteen years.
I’m part of a large Italian family and I’m a second-generation Italian American. We have a family grocery store and working there as a teenager taught me the benefit of serving the customer. Weekends at the grocery store were very busy, noisy and educational.
My father and grandfather were very specific and demanding with respect to the details of customer service.
One day I sustained a very deep cut on my right hand. My grandfather quickly applied pressure, wrapped it up and off I went to the emergency room. I was accompanied by my father’s younger brother, who was a medical student at the time. He actually supervised the repair of the cut. That was my first exposure to the power and efficiency of the field of medicine.
As a senior in high school, I started to develop abdominal pain, which was followed by two or three days of observation by my uncle, who now was a practicing family doctor. He ended up taking me to the emergency room, where I ultimately received the diagnosis of a perforated appendix. I was immediately rushed to surgery. At that time, we were lacking certain antibiotics and I spent one full month or more in the hospital, being tended to by nursing students, registered nurses, and my uncle. That experience solidified the path of medicine for me.
I made my way through college graduate school medical school but it wasn’t until my first job in the emergency room that I felt the calling for plastic surgery. The more I demonstrated my skills and proved my worthiness, the two plastic surgeons on staff both separately approached me with a direct order that I needed to return to residency training and focus on plastic surgery. They said I had the gift. That was a first I had heard of any specific kind of gift but I took them seriously and the more I pursued it the greater knowledge of how true it was.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
From the time I graduated high school at age 18, it took over 15 years of schooling and training in preparation for private practice.
My last and final year as a resident was very exciting and full of responsibility and fulfillment. But that first year of private practice was profoundly challenging in a much different way. Creating an office with all of its equipment and furniture is a daunting task. I had significant help in organizing this new and exciting venture and the practice became successful from day one.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
The tipping point of my success occurred when I was one of the younger plastic surgeons in the community and therefore all the older doctors gave me their call; meaning I was on call for all of the city and local hospitals. Within a matter of weeks, my waiting room was full of trauma patients, as well as patients with automobile accidents, and reconstructive cancer patients. I no longer had a professor watching over me since I had completed all of the required training and had passed all of the required testing. Within a matter of months I knew had made the right decision and the practice was off and running, serving the community.
The only thing different was that I was now completely and totally responsible for all aspects of the practice — — clinically, administratively, and financially.
The primary lesson that I learned was that preparation is everything; and oddly enough it was the customer service in respect for the patient’s that I had learned in the family business that gave me the greatest degree of advantage and fulfillment.
Clinically and surgically I was very competent from the beginning, but the relationships I made with my patients were just as important — and that is not taught in medical school.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My gratitude is spread over several individuals. My parents encouraged me to seek a path that I could find exciting, exhilarating and make a full commitment to.
The family business was an option, but I had different aspirations. My parents were understanding and helped encourage my exploration of career. My uncle, the physician, served as a role model and I tried to emulate his style and personality. He was very successful and loved by his patients.
My pivot to plastic surgery is definitely attributable to my relationship with the plastic surgeons in the community Hospital where I worked in the emergency room. They saw in me what needed to be seen in order for me to realistically achieve stature as a board-certified plastic surgeon. Without their acknowledgment of my performance in the emergency room and with their specific recommendations to residencies and training programs I may not have achieved what I was meant to do.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?
Technology certainly has a very identifiable role in the delivery of products and services in all aspects of life, especially the beauty industry.
However we must keep in mind that from a medical standpoint the beauty industry is divided into surgical and nonsurgical services.
The technological advances have been more profoundly identifiable in the non-surgical arena; Laser skin resurfacing, radio frequency applications, micro needling and many other noninvasive techniques have been found to be extremely helpful with respect to beautification and anti-aging of the skin.
One particularly interesting technological achievement is the UV sense device by L’Oreal. It is a nail appliqué that measures the UV light that you are exposed to at any given moment. It can sync with your smartphone to give your reading. I’ve used infrared light at a medium to low wavelength in order to facilitate dissolution of fat cells; if used in conjunction with liposuction, it allows for greater amounts of fat removed.
As a surgeon focused on rhinoplasty and revision, I have found the use of ocular magnification devices with built-in illumination abilities have helped to achieve greater, more refined results.
Body contouring can now be assisted with technologies like tissue glue; in the right hands and when used properly, this can help eliminate the need for postoperative drains after large abdominoplasty’s.
All of these technological advances for the most part can help achieve better results with lower complication rates — — greatly benefiting the public in general.
Charlie Brooker, the creator of black mirror presents some very interesting dilemmas with respect to technology and humanity as portrayed in his TV series “Black Mirror”. I can think of one element with respect to surgical robotics — — that is the performance of surgery using robotic assistance.
Today, the robots are controlled by a surgeon from a distance. However it could be envisioned that these robots could develop artificial intelligence and begin to challenge the surgeons next move or decision-making process. This could create a very challenging environment for the future of robotic surgery.
Plastic surgery would be very difficult to transform itself into robotic surgery because the performance of our procedures are so specific and dependent upon the creative capabilities of the surgeon. In essence, plastic surgery is creative anatomy. Each and every operation is designed specifically for that particular patient by that particular surgeon.
Body dysmorphia can be very detrimental to the patient if that patient finds a surgeon willing to help materialize the images that sufferers of this entity create in their mind. We’ve all seen noses that are overdone, lips that are overdone, facelifts that have been overdone and pulled too tightly, as well as laser resurfacing carried to the extreme. Like most all things in life, balance and judicial use must be respected and sought. It takes a human conscious to make these types of judgement calls; you can’t replace that kind human emotion with a computer.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?
The beauty tech industry is fascinating! There are products now available on the market that have never existed before. Some of them work, some of them don’t, some devices are not for everyone. But overall, the variety of existing products is fascinating.
In my opinion, one of the most important elements of attractiveness is smile — and teeth.
I have always advised my patients to address their teeth prior to undergoing any facial surgery. One of the tools I always recommend is Electric toothbrush, such as Braun Oral B. I can’t wait to try the new Oral B iO Toothbrush — it will be a fun, multitasked brush!
Another very important element of the face is skin. We all want to have a more youthful, more glowing skin. In professional offices we have professional devices that can address a lot of skin conditions and issues. Led light therapy-completely non invasive and easy — helps regenerate skin from aging, and other skin conditions, such as acne. Of course Professional grade devices are always better , but you can always have a mini device at home as a maintenance in between office visits.
Lastly, we want our bodies to look the part. I always encourage patients to live a healthy lifestyle. In addition to it, there’re great devices to assist them with creating toned bodies, such Emsculpt or CoolTone. It is not a substitute for healthy diet and exercise but definitely a great machine to help tone the body.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
One aspect of the plastic surgery profession that concerns me is how do we address the concept of body dysmorphia. This is a condition that is essentially a mental illness characterized by an obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in one’s appearance. This can be very difficult to diagnose. These individuals may spend countless hours in front of a mirror evaluating and analyzing a perceived flaw and what can be done to improve it. They constantly compare their appearance with others and avoid social interactions and photos. There are no blood tests x-rays or other methods to make the diagnosis. The patient must recognize that they have this problem and seek psychiatric evaluation and assistance. More often than not however, they shop for a Plastic Surgeon that will agree with their perceived deformity and offer some surgical or nonsurgical treatment. There are charlatans and unethical surgeons out there who will take advantage of and abuse these individuals.
One way to address this is to require Plastic Surgeons to attend training programs given by psychiatrists to help identify these individuals prior to accepting them as a surgical candidate. Furthermore, it would be helpful if each State throughout the country requires very specific credentials for plastic surgeons to elevate our professions level of performance. Unfortunately, state laws allow many individuals, who are not qualified plastic surgeons, to operate and treat patients. Currently the profession to a great degree is self policed and unfortunately charlatans and unscrupulous and untrained individuals are often only held accountable after they do damage.
A second aspect or element of my professional Plastic Surgery is the concept of internal or closed versus open rhinoplasty. For many years beginning in the late 19th century the internal approach to creating an improved nasal appearance was the standard. The open approach gained popularity in the 90s and is the primary method of teaching new residents who perform rhinoplasty. I support that many primary rhinoplasties should not be done open as they have inherent risks, complications including a visible scar and prolonged swelling of the all-important tip area.
My solution to this would be to require all training programs whether they be plastic surgery training programs or ENT residencies — — be taught how to perform closed rhinoplasty.The new surgeon, armed with these two techniques can then be better suited to make the right decision to serve the patient. I am a proponent of closed or internal incision rhinoplasty whether it be primary or revision.
A third aspect of health and beauty as it pertains to my profession of plastic surgery is obesity. The relationship between a person’s height and weight will determine clinically whether or not they are obese. Charts are available online to evaluate one’s BMI and therefore their level of obesity. Being overweight is more than marginally appealing. Obesity has a direct link to diabetes, heart disease, and other potentially fatal conditions that can be minimized and in some cases eliminated by having an appropriate weight for one’s height. Improving the situation is very challenging. Because we have a nation predicated upon liberty and freedom, it’s challenging to mandate diet exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle. This must be a patient’s choice based on knowledge, experience and training.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
The word beauty is as old as man himself.
Generally speaking the word beauty is a positive word, with roots in balance, harmony and overall general visual appearance. Although spiritually and philosophically we know that beauty is more than skin deep. However, for the purposes of our profession, we focus on anatomic or visual appearance as the gold standard for beauty. In today’s culture, the concept of beauty is clear — it’s all about how something or someone looks. This may sound superficial, but over the decades I’ve learned that one’s appearance is deeply rooted and intimately connected to their personal well-being. Body weight, BMI, muscle mass, cardiovascular conditioning, as well as drinking and smoking can all have very direct and profound influence on one’s appearance. In my particular profession, I focus on the nose and the overall body as it relates to excess skin and sagging. If a person chooses to be overweight, then that’s their choice. If a person would feel better having a more attractive nose, then it’s their choice to pursue surgical intervention. You’d be surprised to hear how something as simple as improving a person’s nose can help them feel better and more beautiful.
One of the most rewarding elements of my practice is when I have the privilege of assisting a person who’s made a lifestyle change and has lost over 100 pounds. Shedding unwanted pounds, especially in the 100 or more range, is cause for celebration in and of itself. Though, it normally welcomes unwanted excess skin. So, we discuss our surgical goals. I usually prefer to address the breasts and abdomen first, as this gives the best and quickest result for a person who’s lost significant weight. Redesigning and re-contouring the patient’s body after massive weight loss is a challenge, requiring great creativity and vision.
More often than not when we remove the splint off a rhinoplasty patient, whether primary or revision in, the patient and the family break down in tears. It is a very rewarding and emotional time. Similarly, with the body contouring patients the first set of procedures — breast and abdomen produce a profound improvement in their appearance and in their body image that they also are very emotionally impacted. This profession, plastic surgery is so rewarding and fulfilling that I am as motivated today as ever. I feel totally blessed to have found the profession that fits me perfectly.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could inspire a movement that would benefit the most people with the most amount of good it would be a commitment by all humans to be the best. This may sound trite, but it is essentially a commitment by each and every one of us to a life of knowledge, experience, skill and training.
It takes great commitment and work to be our best both physically, morally, ethically, spiritually and financially. Ancient civilizations for example Greeks and Romans embraced these concepts very seriously. Much of the beliefs we have today have roots in antiquity. The great philosophers of the past focused on these attributes. I firmly believe that each human being has at least one gift and at least one passion. Many humans have multiple passions and multiple gifts — — these individuals stand out among us. However when a passion meets a person’s gifts that creates a life — I urge all my patients and everyone willing to listen to search their soul for what they truly find important and pursue it.
In the meantime, let’s stay healthy, check our blood pressure, modulate our blood chemistry and make a commitment to longevity. It’s not enough to just live longer, we have an obligation to live longer, live better, and look our best. My personal opinion is that this is God’s will for us.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — — think about such things.”
Of great influence on me were my parents. My father died young in his early 50s from cancer, but he was a hard-working, noble man full of generosity and very inquisitive. My mother had a very clear sense of right and wrong and she portrayed it to all of her six children on a daily basis. She was stern but not mean and had very high expectations for her six sons to live honorable lives.
How can our readers follow you online?
For more information about Dr. Thomas Trevisani, and to book a consultation, you can go to https://drtomtrevisani.com/
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.