Over the past 10 years, the editors and staff at MedEsthetics have been continually impressed with the innovation, dedication and compassion that defines the providers who care for and serve aesthetic patients. Physicians in this field face some unique challenges. They must not only take part in practice marketing to make patients aware of their services, but also offer consistent, top-notch results in an environment that makes patients feel both comfortable and valued. With these awards, we wanted to publicly recognize practices and medspas that have mastered the art of cosmetic medicine as well as practice marketing, management and growth.
In May 2015, we began soliciting nominees for the following categories and we are thrilled to report that we received more than 300 nominations from providers, employees and even patients who wanted to sing the praises of their providers. Our editors and designers took part in reviewing the marketing and décor-related categories. Physician nominees were ranked based on practice growth, patient ratings and number of nominations.
Best Single Physician Practice: Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery
Best Single Physician Practice was by far our largest category for nominees, and choosing just one winner was difficult. Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery stood out among the nominees thanks to the long career of its founder, Paul Vitenas, MD, and the continued growth and transformation of his private aesthetic practice. After completing his plastic surgery residency at Tulane University, Dr. Vitenas completed multiple fellowships in craniofacial and maxillofacial surgery with Tony Wolf, MD, Paul Tessier, MD, and Ralph Millard, MD. He opened Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery in 1991 while serving as chief of surgery then chief of the Memorial Herman Hospital System in Houston.
In 2006, he added the Skin Institute, a facility dedicated to noninvasive cosmetic procedures and esthetics, to his plastic surgery practice. “Back in 1990, I met a 65-year-old woman in Miami who had a facelift by Dr. Millard. She did maid work in the neighborhood where we were renting a bungalow and I thought, if maids here in Miami are having facelifts then this whole idea of cosmetic surgery being only for the wealthy is going to go away,” says Dr. Vitenas. “By 2006—with the growth of noninvasive procedures—it was clear that a change in the mindset of consumers across the country had taken place.”
Dr. Vitenas is a Castle Connolly Top Doc, a Vital’s Patient Choice Award winner and is listed among America’s Top Plastic Surgeons by Consumer Reports. But what truly impressed us was his continual growth—he has expanded his facility three times, most recently to a free-standing, three-story building in the heart of Houston complete with a surgical center; overnight suites; esthetic, laser and injectable services; and a robust retail skincare center—and the gushing reviews of hundreds of patients who cite his and his staff’s warm manner, ability to create beautiful, natural-looking results and careful follow-up care.
“I love doing what I do. It is my passion, and it’s been my passion for many, many years,” he says. “Changing people’s lives and seeing the joy, confidence and brightness in their eyes is a tremendously rewarding experience for any physician, and we get it here in spades.”
Best Group Practice: Elite MD
Launched in March 2009 in Danville, California, by dermatologist Sonia Badreshia Bansal, MD, and plastic surgeon Vivek Bansal, MD—also husband and wife—Elite MD has quickly grown to five locations with six providers and 45 employees. The practice includes: plastic surgery, cosmetic dermatology, medical dermatology, a laser institute, medspa and patient support center. In addition, the Bansals are heavily involved in clinical research, education and community service. “We believe strongly in giving back to the profession, community and family that means so much to us,” says Dr. Badreshia Bansal.
During their time as undergraduates at the University of California, Riverside, the couple helped launch an after-school program for disadvantaged children as part of a university community relations project initiative. During medical school at Penn State, they worked with second-year medical student Tim Weaver to create LION CARE, a student-run clinic that provides free primary healthcare services to the homeless. Most recently, the couple founded RoseBush Clinics, which enlists physician-volunteers to perform pediatric plastic surgery around the world.
When it comes to patient care, the practice owners look to their name. “We want to go beyond standard care to deliver elite care. If we get even one complaint, we take that seriously. All staff members are brought together to learn if there is a problem. We don’t want to make the same mistakes twice,” says Dr. Badreshia Bansal. “Our providers complement each other as they all specialize in different fields and are able to refer cases to other providers in the practice. If the patient needs additional care outside of our provider network, we do not hesitate to refer out if necessary. Our priority is patient care and creating a positive experience every time.”