Plastic Surgeons Are People Too

MakenzieR on 29 Mar 2011 at 12:00am

For bloggers who frequently pick through stories of celebrity surgeries and the inappropriate uses of Botox, it's nice to be reminded that plastic surgery is a valuable tool for more than the vain and affluent. So when RealSelf hears about one of our doctors donating their skills to the less fortunate, we have to share it. 

Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon Andres Bustillo flew to Vietnam, not for rest and relaxation, but for a medical mission. He performed reconstructiveDr. Bustillo Vietnam demo surgery surgeries on patients with facial deformities, and held a five-day course for resident doctors.

If time donation weren’t enough, Dr. Bustillo also footed the entire bill. “I enjoy giving back by operating [on] these patients that would otherwise not have an opportunity to have […] surgery,” Dr. Bustillo said in an interview with RealSelf. “The teaching allows me to help the resident physicians learn these techniques so that they may better help the patients of Vietnam.”

Dr. Bustillo has been making trips like this for six years. He started in Kenya, but that became too dangerous. Now he goes to Vietnam in March and Guatemala in November. On his most recent trip, he performed about 30 surgeries on patients from two to forty-five years old.

“These patients have severe cases where some are born with nasal defects and needed reconstructive surgeries,” said the doctor. “These things have to be done. I think it’s important to give back in whatever form or fashion a person can. For me, this is what I do, and it’s my way of giving back.”

Dr. Bustillo Vietnam mission post-opAs for the shallow image often associated with his profession, Dr. Bustillo has a practical view: “I don’t think plastic surgery is vain. It’s simply that in today’s world our appearance is very important. This is a continuum. From reconstructive surgery to aesthetic surgery, it’s all done to improve the appearance and—sometimes—function.”


Check out another feel-good story about a RealSelf doc. And come back for a new one tomorrow!

All photos courtesty of Dr. Andres Bustillo.