The Daily Quarterly: How old were you when you knew you wanted to be in medicine?
Sergio Alvarez: After seeing my first open heart surgery at the age of 10, I knew then that there was nothing else I wanted to do than to be a surgeon. The ability to know what I wanted in a career at such a young age gave me the ability to focus and achieve my goals by the age of 32.
TDQ: What made you want to be a plastic surgeon?
SA: Plastic surgery got my attention during medical school due to the fact that it was not only the most competitive specialty to get into and the surgeons training me were revered as “the best,” but it was the ability to work on every part of the body and really focus on the “art form” that captured me. It was the finesse that it required that captivated me.TDQ: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
SA: I think the best advice I got was from my father… Do what you love and be the best you can be!
TDQ: What’s the worst advice you’ve ever gotten?
SA: The worst advice I got was that I should study chemistry or biology in college. This is a huge misconception. You can have a degree in anything you want as long as you take the pre-requisite courses for medical school, study something you enjoy and are passionate about!
TDQ: Who are your influences and role models?
SA: My family is a big part of my life. I have learned a lot from both my father and mother and look up to them immensely. I also cherish the time I get to spend with my brother and sister because, although we had the same upbringing, I continue to learn and grow from being around them.
TDQ: When you were toiling away in medical school, did you ever envision working with celebrities and being in such high demand to perform surgeries on them?
SA: Haha… I had no idea that my life would turn out this way. I knew long ago that I wanted to have my own practice and be the best that I could be, but I had no idea that it would snowball in such a way that would allow me to interact with people from all walks of life and from all over the world.
TDQ: Tell us about your work with The Alvarez Foundation…
SA: The Alvarez foundation was created through the hard work of both my father and mother and was an entity my siblings and I founded to channel the charitable donations my family is passionate about. We have donated to the arts, medical research and education. Our board meets on a semi annual basis and we review different interesting options to help people in need and projects we feel strongly about.
TDQ: What advice would you give young people who want to go into medicine, especially as a surgeon?
SA: The best advice I can give is to follow their passion. And if their passion is medicine and in specific plastic surgery, then don’t sweat the small stuff; because this is a long road that has a lot of ups and downs. You can’t always win, but if you want it bad enough, anything is possible!
TDQ: Tell us about your recent work with NHL players injecting them with Botox…
SA: Professional athletes are an entertaining bunch. I have had the pleasure of having them as friends and clients. I think my work with them has come from thinking outside the box; listening to their concerns about their work and looking for solutions, whether invasive or non-invasive.
TDQ: Where do you see yourself and your practice in five years from now?
SA: I am teaming up with a colleague from Spain, so that we can start developing an international clinic that satisfies our expectations of a high end, glamorous practice that provides the finest surgeons from all parts of the world. I would like to build an international brand that again brings the allure and glamour back to our field. I believe that beauty and vanity is a large part of every culture and crosses all borders.
Professionally, I would like to dedicate about three months out of the year traveling on mission trips. I would like to dedicate that time to donating my talents and abilities to those that are less fortunate. In specific, I would like to direct a foundation that treats people, specifically children, affected by war. Most people are unaware of this, but our specialty of plastic surgery was born from the atrocities of WWI.
Learn more about Dr. Alvarez and his practice at his website.