Everyone has heard of plastic surgery. Perhaps you have even thought about “going under the knife” yourself, perhaps you have even done it. With the negative taboo that once surrounded these procedures, all but disappeared, we decided to get together with Dr. Luis López Tallaj of Santo Domingo, a regular visitor to Casa de Campo, to find out a little more about not only his practice, but also plastic surgery in general.
Considered as one of the most well-know Dominican plastic surgeons both in the Dominican Republic and internationally, Dr. López Tallaj graduated as a doctor in 1995 from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) university in Santiago de los Caballeros. He then specialised in general surgery, plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery and hand operations at the General Santa Casa de la Misericordia hospital in Río de Janeiro, Brasil, one of the world’s top destinations for plastic surgery.
Here we bring you an interview with Dr. Luis López Tallaj, in which we were able to dig a little deeper and find out a little more about this fascinating and increasing popular topic.
@cdcliving: Tell us a little about yourself. When and why did you decide to be a plastic surgeon?
At the age of 2 I told my parents that I would be doctor, and at 16 years old, I entered the Faculty of Medicine at PUCMM in Santiago de los Caballeros, graduating a Doctor of Medicine at 23.
During my internship period to observe and assist with cleft lip reconstructions in children, I fell in love with seeing how this transformation changed lives, and at 30 years old I travelled to Rio de Janeiro to get my specialist degree in plastic surgery. I learnt about all procedures, including the selection, implementation and outcome.
In my practice today, I maintain a focus on ethics, honesty and commitment to excellence, which culminates with the right choice of procedure for the patient, and a successful outcome.
@cdcliving: Describe the patients that you see in your practice.
I see patients who are conscious of the fact that they are seeking a comprehensive approach to a problem that burdens them. We have been working hard to build awareness and guide the population with our television program “Consultando al Cirujano” (consulting a surgeon), which we produced about a year ago with CTN, channel 30, and of course through social networks.
We see many teenagers, who are not happy with the size of their breasts; they either want bigger or smaller, in this case the patients are always accompanied by their parents to the consultation. The girls often have very low self esteem and a breast augmentation or reduction, can greatly solve this problem. Equally, we see women who are unhappy with their breasts after motherhood.
Another common patient is the man over forty, who wants to receive a comprehensive approach to facial ageing, everything from prevention, to Botox treatments, Hyaluronic Acid and Platelet Rich Plasma procedures to correction of under-eye bags.
@cdcliving: What is your focus during a patient’s initial consultation visit?
The expectations that they may have, whether they are real or fanciful. We look at whether they are the proper weight for their height, if they have any major health disorders, as well as if they have the time needed for recovery after a surgery.
@cdcliving: What makes a doctor a good plastic surgeon?
The ability to work ethically, to know how to select the best procedure or course of action for optimal results, and of course, the sense to say when you do not feel qualified to solve a problem.
@cdcliving: Besides an improved physical appearance, what other benefits do you see in your patients who have undergone cosmetic or reconstructive surgery?
A significant increase in self-esteem, and a much more sunny outlook on life.
@cdcliving: What procedures are most popular in the Dominican Republic?
For females, it’s procedures related to breasts, and in both sexes, injectable clinical procedures. Men are very concerned by the double chin, for which we offer a minimal incision procedure, which we have called the “Double Chin Express”.
@cdcliving: Have you ever refused a patient? Why?
Many times. Most often with patients who are overweight, have anaemia, those who have had open heart surgery, and patients who do not reside in the Dominican Republic, and therefore do not have the time needed for recovery. Others have to be rejected on ethical grounds, because they have unrealistic expectations or because they have some kind of emotional or mental disorder.
@cdcliving: What subtle changes make a big difference in the overall balance and attractiveness of a patient’s face?
For those wishing to maintain a youthful appearance, they just need to have some awareness of how to take care of themselves. Ensuring you get a good intake of water, eat a balanced diet, avoid smoking and stay out of the sun, will all help improve appearance. This can also be optimized with the use of Botox and Platismal bands for wrinkles, asymmetric eyebrows and the “sad smile” syndrome. The use of hyaluronic acid of different densities can improve the grooves and depressions of the face, as well as “Platelet Rich Plasma” (known as the vampire facelift), which has growing factors that makes skin stronger, and helps to eliminate superficial wrinkles, hyperpigmentations and even the dark circles around the eyes.
@cdcliving: Do you like to perform “big” procedures more than smaller procedures?
In plastic surgery, the less we need to do, the better the results will be, less is more. I love the simple and small procedures that really make a big difference.
@cdcliving: Have you been seeing more male patients in your practice in recent years?
10 years ago, not even 6% of the patients were male, no its approximately 30%.
@cdcliving: What advice do you have for someone contemplating plastic surgery?
You must check your doctor’s credentials and background. Look for someone who belongs to specialty societies, such as the ASPS and ASAPS in the United States. The surgery should also be performed in a General Hospital, and the products to be used must meet FDA standards.
Dr. Luis López Tallaj
Chair of the International Committee of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Accredited by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons® (ASPS®).
Dr. Luis López Tallaj has two Plastic Surgery offices here in the Dominican Republic. One in Santo Domingo and the other in Punta Cana, both within easy reach from Casa de Campo or La Romana, thanks to the new highways!
Edificio Profesional I
C/ Fantino Falco 23, Naco
Boulevard 1ro de Noviembre #303, Edificio las Arenas, Local 1B, Punta Cana