Our interview with Dr. Richard Gentile of Gentile Facial Plastic & Aesthetic Laser Center with three locations in Ohio.
Name: Richard D. Gentile, M.D., M.B.A.
Location: Youngstown, Akron, and Cleveland, OH
That’s interesting: Dr. Gentile is deemed as one of America’s Top Facial Plastic Surgeons by the Consumer’s Research Council of America.
Profile: Graduate of Ohio State University, The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Baylor College of Medicine Residency Program. International lecturer and author of many publications including the 2011 Textbook “Neck Rejuvenation” published by Thieme. Dr. Gentile is a past member of the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and served as its Treasurer from 2004-2007.
How did you realize you were meant to practice cosmetic medicine?
As an undergraduate student I had the privilege of spending a week externship with a Plastic Surgeon in Columbus Ohio. It was really my first exposure to medicine and I was significantly influenced by the mentoring that occurred. During medical school I was equally influenced by head and neck cancer procedures and elected to pursue postgraduate residency studies encompassing both cosmetic head and neck and reconstructive surgery.
With three different locations in Ohio you must be busy. Can you describe how your clinics operate and how you staff them?
The Facial Plastic & Aesthetic Laser Center is a fully integrated aesthetic practice with a free standing state licensed and nationally accredited surgery center adjacent to it. There are satellite offices in Akron and Cleveland Ohio where consultation and minor surgery is offered. We are privileged to see patients from all regions of Ohio, Western New York, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. We also see patients from other states and foreign countries as well. A full service medical spa is located in the Boardman office and one of the largest private laser clinics with 20 different aesthetic lasers.
Our main office is not located in a large metropolitan area so staffing is sometimes a challenge. (Larger metro areas feature more cosmetic practices training staff who then have experience in medical spas or pastic surgery centers when they interview for new positions.)
Unless someone moves into our area we usually do not have the opportunity to hire experienced personnel so we have to train them on site. Another disadvantage is the smaller surgery centers need per diem or part time staffing patterns unless they operate five days a week and frequently it is difficult to find personnel who are interested in more limited schedules. Understanding these special needs allows us to zero in on those candidates who are interested in the employment opportunities we offer. We have several aestheticians, a cosmetic surgery coordinator who also assists our marketing efforts, two RN’s one exclusively dedicated to the surgery center and anesthesia staff who are retained from a national staffing firm. Our front office has a billing director and a receptionist.
What IPL or laser technologies are you using? What are your thoughts about the technologies you’re using now?
We have two Lumenis One platforms one in Boardman and one in Cleveland. They are equipped with IPL, Light Sheer laser hair removal diode laser and Nd:Yag. We also utilize three fractional lasers the Lumenis Ultra Pulse with deep FX , the Cynosure SmartSkin laser, and the Sciton Contour with ProFractional capabilities. We also utilize radiofreqency units for skin tightening with LumenisAluma and Pelleve. We frequently combine these modalities in multi-modality laser skin rejuvenation. The Cynosure Med Lite is one of our most frequently utilized lasers and is used for Tatoo removal, non ablative skin rejuvenation and dermal toning. A 532 nm diode laser is used for non-ablative treatment of vascular and pigmented lesions. Laser Lipolyis is a big part of our practice particularly in the head and neck and we developed many of the facial surgery protocols for laser assisted facelifting procedures or Smartlifting™ procedures.
Have your marketing efforts successfully increased the volume of patients coming in your clinic?
We use or have used virtually all media to market our practice and find particular success with internet based, social media, and seminars to educate the public about the procedures we offer. Being features on the websites of our technology partners also helps to let patients know about the services we offer.
Our favorite referral are those that come from a satisfied and happy patient sending their friends and family members to us and those make up about 50% of our new patients.
Are there particular treatments that have increased your profits dramatically?
Our services are divided about 50-50 between surgical services and the other office based non surgical services including neurotoxins (Botox), dermal fillers and laser procedures. Among our surgical procedures 90% are facial plastic & reconstructive in nature but primarily cosmetic and not as much reconstructive surgery as previously.
A small percentage of our practice revenue comes from skin care products and related sales.
What lessons have you learned in your practice that you can pass on to those who have just started their medical spa?
Listen to your patients. I think it is important that they are not always in your office so that you can give them the result you think they should have. They are there to hear about how you can best help them achieve the result they are interested in. The closer you come to achieving their goals the more satisfied and happy they will be. Learn from the unhappy patients so that it can help you to either modify your approach or better select patients so as to not try to please the difficult to please patients.
It has been a great privilege to practice Facial Plastic & Reconstructive surgery for nearly 25 years and the greatest development from early practice to later practice is the accumulation of wisdom from the early years of practice. When first starting in practice you sometimes carefully walk into the exam rooms of post op patients not quite sure what the result is going to be like or whether there will be complications. 25 years later you pretty much know what to expect and the kinds of results that will be achieved. We are always innovating and trying to add modifications to our techniques that will enhance our patients post- operative results. So while we are getting closer all the time our practice continually strives to obtain the best surgical and non surgical results available anywhere.
This interview is part of a series of interviews of physicians running medical spas, laser clinics and cosmetic surgery centers. If you'd like to be interviewed, just contact us.