When it comes to choosing a plastic surgeon here in Columbus, Ohio, patients can ask their friends, family doctor, and look at websites to help them decide. There are so many choices! Sometimes when I am doing a consultation, patients have a printed list of questions ranging from simple: “How long should I take off work?” To the more complex: “What can go wrong?” And sometimes an especially savvy patient will ask me, “Why should I choose Aesthetica?”
This particular question is one of the easiest for me to answer, but it was not always that way. When I was first in practice, I would try to be humble and list my board certifications as proof of my qualifications. Looking back, I realize I might have sounded less than humble rattling off all the degrees. I now understand how little I did know. Don’t get me wrong, I had completed 4 years of medical school and 6 years of surgery residency training, and I thought that made me an expert. Now after a quarter-century in practice, I can tell you, I had the training; but the reality is, it takes a lot more than that.
The 10,000-Hour Rule
How long does it take to become an expert? The author Malcolm Gladwell writes about the 10,000-hour rule, and there is a nugget of truth in this. Why did it take me twice as long to do all of the surgeries back then? What was I doing during all that extra time? The muscle memory that comes from doing something almost every day for 25 years is incredible, even to me. My hands just do it. And my mind knows what to do. Decisions are made in split seconds and I can’t even say why I came to the decision—I just know. This type of experience and expertise is such a joy—finally! It might not take every surgeon as long as it took me, but I can tell you that now that I am here, it feels good. I do remember driving to the OR when I was younger, feeling a little nervous. Sometimes very nervous. Now I drive to the OR feeling relaxed; I look forward to enjoying the hours spent doing my craft.
Could I Be Peaking?
But after 25 years, I am beginning to feel tired after just a 3 or 4-hour case. What happened to my stamina? What happened to the resident doctor working 100-hour workweeks and not missing a beat? I have found myself thinking about what it will look like to slow down a bit—but wait—am I peaking now? How much longer do I have? I hope with proper rest and nutrition, I can keep going for another 10 to 15 years. And I want to continue to improve, but what if I am peaking right now? This prospect haunts all surgeons, and I, like those before me, keep my skills sharp by reading and continuing to learn more. The prospect of declining is just not allowable.
A Team Effort
The ladies of the A-team are a special bunch. There are some veterans who have worked with me for more than 15 years, and some new faces too. But these team members are the other reason to choose Aesthetica. This practice is a small, boutique plastic surgery office. We do things the old-fashioned way, with a real person on the phone and an attentive person speaking to you at an office visit, not looking at the computer and inputting the data. This personalized attention is the hallmark of Aesthetica—from a team member’s welcome smile greeting you at the front desk to the even bigger smile at the back checkout desk, the entire team is happy to see you and serve you. We each have our own particular duties, but almost every day I hear one A-team staffer asking another, “Is there anything you need help with?” The team pulls in the same direction and it makes all the difference for the patient experience. Patients can tell we like each other, and enjoy our time together. We regularly get together outside the office as well, on camping—I mean glamping—trips and evening events. We even attend the annual medical society party in matching themed outfits—corny but fun for all. The evidence of these events hangs in the lobby on our family photo wall.
The A-Team Is a Family
While it might sound cliched, the entire staff of the A-team considers one another family. As just mentioned, we get our pictures done together every year, and they hang on the wall in the lobby. It is our work family and in many cases, including mine, we spend more time with this family than our home family. This type of real respect and affection for each other make it possible for a group of ladies to work together without the drama—well OK—with minimal drama. Of course, there can be misunderstandings, but in the end, we have each other’s back. The time spent together may be called work, but it is more than that. For me it is therapy. At what other job would you be able to share as much? The bottom line for every one of us is this—we like what we do because of the people we do it with—the ladies of the A-team make each day better. We like the patients and we like each other—quirks and all.
A Package Deal
So when you choose Aesthetica, you are getting me–Dr. T—AND the A-team. This is a real deal. This is a comprehensive experience from the moment you call, every person who answers is knowledgeable and happy to hear from you, to the sincere “take care” when you are finished. (Find out how we came through the COVID shutdown together in this blog post.)
I hope you will choose Aesthetica Surgery and Spa, and join our family.
The entire A-team at Aesthetica looks forward to assisting you on your cosmetic journey. Contact my Columbus plastic surgery practice using the online form to request a consultation. Or call my office at (614) 428-0212 to schedule an appointment to get started.