By Denise Mann
A wrestler’s mentality helps Angelo Cuzalina, MD, DDS, shine as a cosmetic surgeon
There’s a lot you may already know (or think you know) about Angelo Cuzalina, MD, DDS, but there’s
more to the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based cosmetic surgeon than meets the eye. For starters, Cuzalina, the past president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS), was a member of the US National Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling teams and medaled in the World Championships in 1982 and 1986.
He’s quick to tell you that wresting season ended a while back, but Cuzalina does still operate with the same drive and discipline that led to his success on the mat. This mind-set has also helped him to manage his Type 1 diabetes without insulin. He sat down with PSP to discuss why he now goes to the mat for all of his patients, and the important mark he hopes his presidency will leave on the specialty.
1 Procedure you perform most often?
Simultaneous mastopexy plus breast augmentation.
2 Procedure you perform least often?
Mandibular angle implants. People don’t come in and say, “I want my jaw re-angled.”
3 Favorite procedure?
I just love surgery in general. I would be hard-pressed to choose between breast lift/augmentation and rhinoplasty. Both are considered more technically challenging, and that is why I like them. They are certainly not boring.
4 Technology you would not want to practice without?
Electrocautery. We don’t think about what a huge advance it is to have electrocautery. It has helped reduce blood loss—and made all surgeries and techniques much more efficient.
5 Greatest personal challenge?
I developed Type 1 diabetes at age 40 out of the blue. I am so strict with what I eat that I maintain my blood sugar by diet alone—without any insulin. I eat an extremely low-carb diet with minimal to no sugar.
6 How do you relax?
I like to get away on short vacations. I work hard and play hard.
7 Practice mantra?
I treat every one of my patients as I would my closest family members.
8 How did your AACS presidency affect your practice?
I was away from my practice for a total of 3 months for travel and lecturing. To maintain my practice, I had to work longer hours and then stay up late to go through all of my e-mails.
9 Did anything else fall by the wayside?
I slept a lot less as a result of the extra responsibilities.
10 What was the biggest accomplishment of your presidency?
We finally made moves toward a unified method of training. If we look at cosmetic surgery as truly a specialty, we need a full fellowship. We have made some good strides toward extending the necessary training. n
Denise Mann is the editor of Plastic Surgery Practice. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.