What was your reaction when you first learned you were on “the list?”
DR. CAPIZZI: “Surprise, quite frankly! Let me say that while this is an honor, the Top Doctor survey was really not on my radar. There are a lot of great physicians and surgeons in the Charlotte area. We are so fortunate in this regard. The Charlotte Magazine list is hardly complete. That said, I hope I am building something very special at Stillwater Plastic Surgery. That’s been my goal since I established the practice ten years ago. I saw the need for a more personalized approach to plastic surgery. Great patient care, including great outcomes, is what matters to me.” Dr. Capizzi
EDITOR: But the Top Doctor survey is not based on patient votes feedback, is it?
DR. CAPIZZI: “You are correct, it is not. It’s peer-review based. And, of course, that is extremely gratifying – to know that fellow surgeons thought so highly of me as to cast a vote for me. And, Doctors Lefaivre and Matthews, of course – the two other plastic surgeons honored. Process-wise, as I understand it, Charlotte Magazine issues a survey to licensed physicians in the area. It’s specialty-centric, I believe. So the community of cardiac surgeons, as an example, recommends fellow surgeons.” Dr. Capizzi
EDITOR: Who administers the survey?
DR. CAPIZZI: “The magazine and its editors. I know they work hard to keep their database current. And, I’m sure it’s not flawless, but Charlotte Magazine is very professional and, again, it certainly is an honor to be part of the cadre of top doctors. There are approximately 3,000 doctors in the database who cast votes. That’s significant, comprehensive.” Dr. Capizzi
EDITOR: Your patients love you. By all accounts you are a most accomplished plastic surgeon. Going back to your first comment, tell us why are you surprised to win?
DR. CAPIZZI: “Well, I mentioned I started Stillwater with the idea of a very personal, one-on-one approach to plastic surgery, focusing on breast and body contouring and reconstructive breast surgery. Preventative aging also emerged as a specialty. My team at Stillwater is the BEST. I won’t be modest about them. But, I am the only surgeon in the practice. Quite frankly, there are larger practices that attract more attention. Don’t misunderstand me: these are very capable practices. I was part of one for six years. I think I probably made the assumption that bigger practices with more doctors, more marketing and more visibility would tend to win awards like Top Doctors. I guess I’ll have to rethink that!” Dr. Capizzi
EDITOR: So you’re saying that you find satisfaction and personal reward, if you will, in providing great patient care and outcomes. Can you dive deeper into what this means?
DR. CAPIZZI: I’d love to. Great patient care and outcomes are what motivate me every day. Let me give you a very specific example. Breast reconstruction is basically ground zero for all breast surgery, even cosmetic surgeries. This is where best practices and innovation originate. I have worked hard to stay at the forefront in the area of reconstructive surgeries. The FDA recently approved the fifth generation of silicone breast implants – the Gummy Bear, as it’s called informally. I have been part of the FDA implant study for the past ten years. This implant requires new surgical skills, which I have helped establish. Because this implant is customizable in many shapes and sizes – including teardrop, which mimics actual breast shape – it is usually the best solution for reconstruction patients. So too for less complicated cosmetic breast surgeries. I am proud of this work. Actually, I am now participating in national programs to help train fellow plastic surgeons on implant technique related to the new Gummy Bear implants. [More about this new implant at http://www.capizzimd.com/blog/about-us/meet-dr-capizzi/gummy-bear-expertise/]
EDITOR: So, there’s direct benefit to patients in your work with the FDA and in these national surgeon-training programs?
DR. CAPIZZI: Absolutely. First, it means the best care and best outcomes for my patients locally. And, these activities are an opportunity to share my expertise with other plastic surgeons nationally. I have had so many teachers and mentors in my career. In fact, I’m still learning today. Participating in FDA studies and national training programs is a true honor and a responsibility. The Top Doctor award is icing!