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17 Years as a Plastic Surgeon in Florida

22Feb
plastic surgeon, plastic & reconstructive training, hand & microvascular training, cosmetic

17 years as a Plastic, Reconstructive, & Cosmetic Surgeon in Florida

It was the summer of 2000, it was the year that digital music broke into mainstream, low carb diets were all the rage, and a gallon of gas was $1.51. Having just finished my Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery training at Indiana University the year before and then spending time in Tampa, Florida for my Hand & Microvascular training at USF, you could say the the sunshine, beautiful scenery and warm weather of Florida was calling my name. I was seeking my first job as a plastic surgeon.

Big life changes for a new plastic surgeon

The years of 2000 & 2001 were busy with getting engaged, getting married, and moving my new family to Ocala, Florida for my first job out of training as a plasic surgeon.   I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect or how myself or my family would like Ocala, but we were happy and the doctors and staff in the group welcomed us with open arms.

Right away, they put me to work on minor procedures while insurance contracts and hospital privileges were being finalized. Once those were finalized I found myself doing all the plastic, reconstructive, cosmetic, and hand surgery any new surgeon would be thrilled to do. The cases were challenging and diverse.

We bought our first home and shortly before closing date, my wife and I found out we were pregnant with TWINS! What?!?! She had a difficult pregnancy, but thankfully both girls were born healthy and thrived. After the twins arrived, we quickly realized we needed to be closer to family, or at least live in an area where it was easy for family and friends to travel us. We started looking for other jobs and remembered how much we loved Tampa during my hand fellowship.

Big Challenges for a Plastic Surgeon in Tampa, Florida

Fast forward to summer of 2004. We left Ocala and moved to Tampa, Florida. I was quickly busy with call at 3 hospitals, lots of trauma and the work was more reconstructive than cosmetic. It was great experience to work in a larger city with a level one trauma hospital. But after working in two group practices, I had a desire to own a private practice of my own. I lived in Westchase and spent a lot of time driving to South Tampa for work. That travel time really limited how much I could spend with my young family.

Plastic Surgeon Opens New Practice in Westchase, Florida

So in 2006, I opened my plastic surgery practice in Westchase. Westchase is a great community to raise children and there were plenty of “mommy makeovers” to get the practice up and running.

Since 2006, the practice has gone through many changes with types of surgeries ebbing and flowing based upon the economy, referral sources, and insurance contracts. However, having my own practice has been greatly satisfying.

Established Plastic Surgeon Talks About Changes in His Practice Over the Years

Fast forward to 2018, and a lot has changed in the landscape of medicine & plastic cosmetic surgery, some good, some not so good. However, with my practice in Westchase I have been grateful to continue to offer reconstructive, hand and plastic cosmetic surgery to my patients.It feels amazing to have a practice that gets most of our new patients from referrals of current or previous patients.

Here are a few things to help round out the history.

The best thing about cosmetic surgery is……No insurance companies. The patient and I get to develop a plan to reach their goals and I love seeing the patients thrilled with the results.

The best thing I’ve been given…….the constant gratitude from my patients, cosmetic or insurance. One time I received a thank you card from every relative of a breast cancer/reconstructiion patient. Opening the mail was fun for weeks!!

The surgery I have done the most……..breast augmentation.

My favorite surgery……hmm there are many for different reasons.

1. Tummy tuck–I pride myself on doing the very best tummy tucks in Tampa.

2. Facelift with fat grafting–Very challenging surgeries. I like to produce a natural, refreshed look and to sculpt the face with fat to add back in the youthful contours.

3. Breast Reconstruction–Getting a mastectomy is very traumatic for a woman. I enjoy the process of making my patient feel whole again.

The operation I no longer do but miss…….the very technical microvascular sugery of traumatic hand injury. Unfortunately, these surgeries can take up to 12 hours, and it is very difficult to fit one of those into a day that is scheduled with patients weeks in advance.

Although the kinds and quantities of surgeries have changed over the past 17 years, the basis of plastic surgery has not. The plastic surgery training and hand surgery training has been the cornerstone of everything I do for my patients.  Plastic Surgery has been and continues to be a field that is innovative and requires me to continue learning all through out a career that I hope to be another 20 years or longer. In plastic surgery, we often aren’t saving lives, but we are improving the quality of life for our patients, and that makes the field a very rewarding one.

None of us know what the future holds, but I am happy being a plastic surgeon and my health is good. Therefore, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to do anything else.

Do what makes you happy!

All the best,

Dr. Joseph W. Aguiar

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