Every day is a learning experience in plastic surgery and we strive for continuous improvement and innovation so that we can avoid complications. Through education and technology, we can perform optimally.”
Dr. Daniel Calva was born and raised in Mexico. He moved to the United States to attend Georgetown University for his undergraduate studies in biology with a focus on pre-medicine. After that, he attended the University of Iowa for General Surgery followed by attending Johns Hopkins for his Plastic Surgery training. Dr. Daniel Calva was granted the Franc I. Coulson Jr. Award for Clinical and Academic Excellence at Johns Hopkins for having demonstrated excellent clinical judgment and surgical skills.
Dr. Calva also served as the first administrative chief resident of the department, which is elected by the chair of the department. This position helps manage all of the residents as a junior faculty member. Dr. Daniel Calva then moved to Miami to pursue reconstructive surgery with Dr. Khouri, who is one of the pioneers of breast reconstruction using tissue grafts.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I pursued plastic surgery because it makes you think about how to reconstruct and how to take care of clinically demanding surgical problems. You encounter patients who may have significant damage from trauma or disease, such as cancer, and you utilize their own bodies to reconstruct the damage so that they look back to normal, not just in appearance, but functionality as well. The field of plastic surgery tends to attract people who are creative, thoughtful, and meticulous about their work. Throughout my life that is how I thought about problems. That thought process caused me to gravitate toward the surgical sciences and focus on plastic and reconstructive surgery.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day focuses on reconstructing hands that have been injured as a result of trauma or repetitive activities, as well as reconstruction of the breast after cancer surgery using a very special and unique procedure that was pioneered at the Miami Breast Center by Dr. Khouri. I also do some cosmetic procedures during the week. My main area of focus is hand and breast reconstruction, however.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring my ideas to life through an analysis of the problem and what parts and functions are missing. I weigh the best options in order to reconstruct the parts that are missing and functionality without creating any significant morbidity.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
What really excites me is the method that we use to reconstruct the breast by using tissue grafts. This allows us to mold a person’s breast and reconstruct it to give them back their contour and volume without having muscle flaps or other aggressive procedures used. It is a way to reconstruct breasts using their own tissue, thus avoiding the complications of implants. In my mind, this is the future of breast reconstruction. Every day I think about how to make the procedure better.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
As a plastic surgeon, I draw from my love of sculpting and painting to fuel my creative juices.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
During medical training, I rotated through psychiatry for four weeks. I did not quite connect with the disease process and the patient population. I learned that psychiatry was not for me and that I enjoyed plastic and reconstructive surgery.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I was to redesign the medical field, it would be a place where the insurance companies and third-party payers would allow us to make decisions and treat patients the way we would like to treat them so we can maximize our efforts and our results. If I had to start all over, I would figure out a way to become politically involved so that I could help change our system.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I recommend that patients follow their doctor’s instructions, do not smoke, and consider all options before undergoing any surgery. Know what your alternatives are and understand what your risks and complications are before having surgery. Medicine is not an exact science and many procedures can have even small complications, so it is very important to understand what can happen and how to deal with any side effects or complications. Educate yourself!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Being available to assist other physicians when they need help. Also, taking care of the patient like you want, which is the same way you would want a family member treated. I am very mindful that the patient is going through something surreal, especially if you tell them they have malignant cancer that will require reconstructive surgery. I like to spend plenty of time with the patient so that they feel comfortable with what is happening.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Every day is a learning experience in plastic surgery and we strive for continuous improvement and innovation so that we can avoid complications. Through education and technology, we can perform optimally.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The best advice I have for patients is to speak to former patients about the doctor they are using. Word of mouth is a much better gauge of a surgeon’s performance than simply looking online.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
We had a family outing with a bite to eat. I want to spend time with my children. I especially do not want to miss their younger years, since that can pass very quickly. Our family outing allows us to talk, play, and bond!
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Our electronic medical record system is outstanding. It allows us to put in photos so we can see the patient’s progress from the beginning to the end. It also allows us to do simulations for them so they can see what they will generally look like after surgery. Although they are artificial simulations, they can get a good idea of the outcome. I am so sorry, but the name escapes me at this moment!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The book is called “Alchemist” and it is a great book about someone who is persistent and does not allow failure to take over his life. He perseveres until he finds success as well as love.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.