Plastic Surgery Blog
July 6th is a special occasion here at the clinic, and not just because it’s International Kissing Day 😉
The Plastic Surgery Clinic is celebrating 35 successful years in operation! In honour of this tremendous milestone, we sat down with Dr. Lista–our founder and executive director–to discuss his early days at the clinic, his vision for the upcoming years, and how the field of plastic surgery has changed in the last three and a half decades.
Can you tell us about that first day on July 6th? What was your space like? What did it feel like opening your own clinic?
It was so exciting and also extremely nerve wracking. I was only 32 years old. The space was TINY. It was located in a small medical building just up Hurontario street, on Cliff Road, not far from where we are now. There was one small bathroom, and two offices, one of which functioned as our staff kitchen. It was a really multi-purpose space, one exam room and one operating room. I think only two rooms had windows – there were no windows in the waiting room, admin area, or any of the offices.
The first day we opened I had just a few people on staff. Our team is very large now, and many of those original team members are still with us. Some have been working with me for over 30 years. Diane, Rose, and Judy all recently retired after 30 years at the clinic. My joke with all of them has been, “jeeze, when you hire someone you think they’re going to stay a while.”
It’s incredible how many current patients originally met us when we were working out of that little space on Cliff Rd. They come back for non-surgical treatments or for repeat procedures, it’s amazing.
Oh wow! It’s hard to believe there was a time before our beautiful, state of the art surgical centre.
It is isn’t it? And we’ve actually kind of out-grown the clinic on Hurontario street in Mississauga! We have so much going on at the clinic now, my partners Dr. Ahmad and Dr. Austin have super busy practices, and as a team we work together to create incredible solutions and results for our patients.
We have a large minor procedures practice, and of course the always busy non-surgical side of the business, MD Beauty Clinic. There is always so much going on… which our patients can attest to… we know how annoying the parking lot is! We’re trying to brainstorm a solution that doesn’t involve tearing everything down LOL.
With all the construction happening on Hurontario, that might actually be a viable option. It’s nice to hear that the clinic is doing well. I imagine this growth is reflected in the industry as a whole. Tell me, how has the field of plastic surgery changed in the last 35 years?
Cosmetic plastic surgery has been around for a very long time and can be dated back to the late 19th century when duck sternums were used in rhinoplasties. There have been significant improvements since, as you can probably imagine, and the last few decades have seen quite a bit of growth.
Due to the nature of plastic surgery, there’s a lot of pioneering done within the field. Plastic surgeons are some of the greatest innovators because we’re always looking for the best way to achieve a durable and aesthetically-appealing result tailored to the patient. So we’ve seen an improvement in the materials used for various procedures.
For instance, not too long ago, saline implants were the go-to for breast augmentation. Now, silicone gel implants have become the new standard. Even within the manufacturing of said “gummy-bear” implants, we’ve seen various companies competing to create lighter-weight, softer, longer-lasting materials.
These changes are not only observed from a medical standpoint, but from a cultural one as well. People are becoming more open about their surgeries, and there are notable increases in demand. Beauty standards are always in flux and so there’s been increasing popularity in some alternative procedures and newer treatments are being introduced to the field.
Social media has certainly challenged the zeitgeist and brought different procedures into the limelight. It can be very polarizing as we have seen people undergoing intense and obvious body modification and that’s becoming a norm in its own right. On the other hand, there is a real focus on natural-looking results and “tweakments” as opposed to more invasive procedures.
Ultimately, we’re looking to improve safety, since that’s our primary role as doctors, as well as give patients the results they desire without making any drastic changes to their appearance.
It’s amazing to witness such incredible developments in the plastic surgery industry. What is your favorite part of being a plastic surgeon?
I love the feeling I get when a satisfied patient tells me about how a procedure changed their life. At our clinic, patients consult with the same surgeon that will be operating on them. So we get an idea not only of the patient’s medical history, but also the history of their concerns, their expectations, and how scared and excited they are to embark on this journey.
The decision to undergo plastic surgery is as complex as the person making it. What makes this field special is that it’s entirely elective. Patients are actively choosing to have surgery–which is not often a pleasant experience, but they’re doing so because they see the value it may add to their lives.
Once a patient fully recovers and begins to reap the fruits of their labour, it’s incredible. As a provider there’s nothing that thrills me more than the knowledge that I helped someone accomplish a dream.
Where do you see The Plastic Surgery Clinic in 10 years?
Plastic Surgery is a growing practice so I anticipate that private clinics in general are going to get bigger. Perhaps not in physical space, but there will definitely be an increase in the patients we operate on and the number of surgeons working here. To that same extent, we’re looking at diversity as an area of interest for our patients’ needs.
When I first opened my practice 35 years ago, all of my patients were white women. Now, the population in Mississauga, and Ontario as a whole, has changed and we see that change represented in our patient population. Patients of different ethnic backgrounds require different approaches to their cosmetic surgeries.
Diversity is an important factor to consider when you’re doing a rhinoplasty, a breast augmentation, liposuction, or really any cosmetic operation. It’s important in how we treat patients from the consultation all the way to the operating room. It’s also crucial to reflect diversity in our staff so we can accommodate our patients and provide them with the cultural sensitivity and awareness they deserve.
We’ve very recently onboarded a woman to our surgical team, not because she’s a woman, of course, but because she’s incredibly skilled. I do think, however, that the fact that she’s female will enable us to meet certain needs.
In sum, I think our approach to surgery is what’s really gonna change in the next 10 years, and our desire to be able to reach more people.
I completely agree! We often get patients calling in and asking if we have any female practitioners on board. It’s important for patients to see themselves reflected in their providers.