At only 32-years-young, Dr. Sergio Alvarez (www.alvarezplasticsurgery.com) has been recognized as one of Miami’s top plastic surgeons and a man who is in high-demand of countless celebrities around the world who visit Florida just to have him work his magic!
From specializing in Breast Augmentation, Rhinoplasty, Tummy Tucks and Face Lifts, Dr. Alvarez has been making a name for himself over the past few years. But besides running a successful practice, Dr. Alvarez is a charity man, and spends a couple days a week at the VA in Ft. Myers, Florida, where he does reconstruction cases on veterans. Additionally, he is a key member of The Alvarez Foundation, a family charity organization that is tailored towards sponsoring scholarships for college and graduate school students who cannot afford an education.
The Levity Ball spoke with Dr. Alvarez to learn more about his craft, his advice to others and if we will ever see him doing a show like Nip/Tuck…
When did you first “know” that you wanted to become a plastic surgeon?
After seeing my first open heart surgery at the age of 10, I knew then that there was nothing else I wanted to do than to be a surgeon. The ability to know what I wanted in a career at such a young age gave me the ability to focus and achieve my goals by the age of 32. Plastic surgery got my attention during medical school due to the fact that it was not only the most competitive specialty to get into and the surgeons training me were revered as “the best”, but it was the ability to work on every part of the body and really focus on the “art form” that captured me. It was the finesse that it required that captivated me.
Who were some of your role models growing up?
My father was no doubt my biggest role model and the one that always pushed me to do what I wanted and to do it at the best of my ability. Even though he was a physician, it wasn’t his desire that I follow his footsteps rather that I choose something that I was passionate about and be the best that I could be.
The surgeon that I saw operate at the age of 10 was a close family friend and whose son continues to be like family, was also someone I looked up to. To be exposed to this professional life as a naïve 10 year old was mind-boggling.
During my training I also had the ability to meet Dr. DeBakey, who was a world-renowned and the forefather of modern surgical specialties.
Do shows like Nip/Tuck properly portray surgeons such as yourself or others you know?
There is no doubt that these shows sensationalize and take the personalities found in our field to an extreme; however we live in a funny world and Plastic Surgery is no exception. People who choose this field are by nature alpha males (females) that dedicate themselves to being the best. Mix this with the business of aesthetic surgery, and it is a formula well suited for prime time television.
What type of procedures do you offer and are your personal favorite to perform?
I dedicate my practice to the field of aesthetic (cosmetic) surgery. Most people are quick to assume that plastic surgery is solely cosmetic, but we are trained on a wide array of sub specialities including hand surgery, cranio-facial, head and neck, breast reconstruction and microsurgery. My favorite cases are those that I find as the most challenging including rhytidectomy (face lift) and rhinoplasty (nose surgery).
What has been the hardest thing you’ve gone through since opening your own practice?
There is no question that the hardest part of starting a business is finding the right people and employees. Plastic surgery is no exception and due to the high level of competitiveness in the Miami market, this has been my biggest challenge.
Do you have a lot of friends coming to you asking for free breast implants and stuff?
This is a funny question, because it is very true. Everyone is always looking for a deal, and even though it hasn’t happened to me just yet, I have colleagues that say people offer to barter services or trade in a watch for cosmetic surgery.
What makes your practice different than others?
I have decided to concentrate my practice on brining a high level and quality experience to all of my patients. I want to bring the glamour back to our field and prefer to dedicate myself to giving a unique experience while giving the best results I can achieve to each individual; rather than have a high volume practice. I am my own biggest critic and that drive to deliver the best result is what pushes me to be “the best” to each patient that I encounter. Each patient is different, and there is no “blanket” procedure that works best for everyone. I truly believe that each procedure and technique needs to be “customized” to each patient, and each patient needs to be listened to so that mutual goals and expectations can be met.
What is your advice to others looking at getting into the same type of industry as yourself?
I advise many students that desire to be where I find myself today and the best advice I can give is to follow their passion. And if their passion is medicine and in specific plastic surgery, than don’t sweat the small stuff; because this is a long road that has a lot of ups and downs. You can’t always win, but if you want it bad enough, anything is possible!
Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
I am teaming up with a colleague from Spain, so that we can start developing an international clinic that satisfies our expectations of a high end, glamorous practice that provides the finest surgeons from all parts of the world. I would like to build an international brand that again brings the allure and glamour back to our field. I believe that beauty and vanity is a large part of every culture and crosses all borders.
If you could change one thing in our world today, what would it be?
I believe that we live in a world of entitlement that I fear is the biggest challenge our kids face today. I see a lot of students today, even friends of mine that feel they deserve the best this world has to offer. The truth is, everything needs to be earned, and hard work pays off!