Renato Calabria, MD, FACS, is a California board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills—where the clientele is filled with celebrities and high society—who also defines a more comprehensive, emerging role as a kind of image consultant to patients.
“The plastic surgeon has changed slightly and become similar to an image consultant, in that it’s important to develop a relationship with the patient,” Calabria says. “In this long-term relationship that we build, we do advise patients and celebrities as far as when is the time to have plastic surgery, what kind of plastic surgery, maybe advice of not having plastic surgery, because we see the bad results out there—especially on celebrities.
“So, when it’s time to say no, maybe it’s not the right timing, maybe it’s not the right procedure. The plastic surgeon doesn’t want to overexpose the patient to too much plastic surgery. We see examples of careers being cut short because of bad plastic surgery.”
How does one create this long-standing relationship between surgeon and high-profile clientele? “It’s sort of important to come to know the patient. The first meeting is like a first date,” he says. “I barely speak about surgery on that day. I just want to get to know the patient and see their motivations, what brings them to the office, and why do they want to have plastic surgery.”
It is important to make sure they have realistic expectations and a positive view on life in general. “For some of the patients, you can get the best results in the world, but if they don’t work on their aspect of negativity, they’re not going to be eventually happy. It’s not what the surgeon wants; it’s important to follow what the patient wants.”
In addition, Calabria finds that he advises his clients beyond straightforward surgery requests. “We’re not just the technician that does the operation, but we have to have the knowledge of a global approach. There are other aspects in the patient’s health that are important to emphasize, which would be hormonal profiles, bioidentical hormones—new facts that play into keeping a healthy diet—and also the psychological aspect for the patient. It’s important not to focus on correcting only one defect and thinking that the patient is going to get better with that. A good result is not the technical gesture, but depends on a lot of other factors: good health, good exercise, good habit, and good diet.”
In addition to his Beverly Hills office, Calabria has offices in all his favorite places—Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Rome, and Milan. Originally from Italy, he enjoys the balance and diversity that comes from practicing in multiple places.
In Europe, he’s able to jump into the latest technology. For example, he has performed several Cell Enhanced Face Lift procedures in his Italian offices, whereas in the States, he performs a variation of this procedure while it awaits FDA approval.
Sarah Russel is a contributing writer for PSP. She can be reached at [email protected]