The word of “Plastikus” stands for “Giving a Shape” in Greek language and “Refined Thing” in Latin. Those, who strive for beauty and dream of being good-looking, know very well that plastic surgeon Aleksandre Kalantarov is the best option to make similar dreams come true.
I have heard from many people – “Aleksandre Kalantarov Makes Operations that Even 10 Other Doctors Cannot Do”. I always wanted to get acquainted with this nimble-fingered creator. Sure, He is a genuine creator – He creates masterpieces on the surgical table. I was interested to learn, where the verge between legends around him and the reality lays. Therefore, I visited Caraps Medline, esthetic surgery office in Dighomi. Mr. Aleksandre is head and leading doctor of this office.
Caraps Medline is one of the first centers in Georgia, which works in the field of plastic surgery and esthetic reconstruction. This clinic and its director are well known in Georgia and abroad. We can find grateful patients in Germany, France, Russia, USA, Italy, Netherlands, Azerbaijan, China and many other countries. Rhinoplasty, breast plastic, liposuction, botox, blepharoplasty (plastic of blepharon), rejuvenation of face through endoscopic technology, removing cicatrice and local plastics of skin, otoplasty (plastics of ear lob), abdominoplasty (plastics of the abdomen’s front wall), reconstructive surgery, vessels surgery, bioadaptive jell, treamtnet of celloid cicatrice – this is a shortlist of the services offered at Caraps Medline.
Aleksandre has visited patients, summed up the workday and now we can record our interview.
-I graduated from the institute in 1987. In Soviet country the profession of plastic surgery did not exist. Naturally, plastic operations were made, but by maxillofacial surgeonს and nasopharyngeal doctors. In this respect, Georgia was considered the center of rhinal surgery and Moscow – facial surgery.
In the second half of 1980s, microsurgery started developing at high paces, with focus on transplantation of organs. Microsurgery was not taught in the Soviet Union. There was a department in the Moscow Surgery Institute, which was working on development of this field, but this direction was not introduced in the medical curricula. Having graduated the institute, I decided to study this direction (officially I was learning general surgery), because, I thought that the field of transplantation was the closest field to the plastic surgery. In the course of time, these two directions started development, they were united and shaped into the direction of plastic and reconstructive surgery.
-What recent innovations would you name in this field?
-The world is making huge progress in this direction. Previously, we used to receive information on these innovations and come up with the world achievements…. But today they have made huge progress and we are late. We live in the era of technologies and huge financial resources are required in this respect. Theoretically, we know what is good, but new technologies are very expensive.
Let’s take the simplest thing – liposuction. Today there are about 15 devices for this operation and they have different principles of operation, whilst we follow the old principle. At least, one new liposuction device is introduced every year in the world. We do not have resources to buy all new devices, whilst it is necessary to renew equipment in at least 3-5 years. The device costs the same price for me and Americans, but the procedure tariffs are higher there and the number of patients is 10 times more there. Regretfully, nobody invests money in our field and each clinic works on its own resources.
-There is much demand for the services of your clinic on the market.
-According to the statistics, which is renewed at least twice a year, the number of foreign patients grows. The majority of them are ethnic Georgians, who have migrated to Europe or the USA. They trust us and they prefer to apply to us, because professional doctors in Europe and the USA take much more money. A lot of patients visit our clinic from the Post-Soviet countries. These people constitute one third of our clients. The remaining part are domestic residents.
-What operations are made most frequently?
-Rhinal surgery. This is an ethnic problem. Last period the number of breast operations also grow. Liposuction ranks third, as well as weight loss surgery and so on…
-How old are your patients?
-30-40 years old. Secondary school graduates also visit our clinic, who want to start studentship life with new appearance. I always say to potential patients – visit 1, 2, 3… doctors – there are about ten plastic surgery centers in Tbilisi. Take consultations there, ask the same questions to each doctor, then examine their offers in the internet (in English) and determine who is the most acceptable for you. Those, who have seen the results of the work of a specific doctor, also visit our clinic and they want that the specific doctors make surgery.
-You have noted that there is a lot of plastic surgery centers in Tbilisi. What different products does your clinic offer?
-For example, plastic surgery. This is a very expensive operation and its price reaches even 150 000USD in the world, but we make this surgery for only 50 000 GEL.
-Before coming to your clinic, I have talked with one girl, who visited your clinic after inefficient surgery in other clinics. She had no nose bone and you have used a fragment of her rib for reconstruction. The treatment process continues, but now she has a very beautiful nose.
-This is a standard reconstruction, which is made in other places. We also practice different methods, which is a rare case in our country. In both cases we can be proud of our achievements. Patients visit our clinic and say – we have visited 10 clinics and all of them suggested to amputate leg, but we have maintained the legs.
-Which citizens visit your clinic mainly for reconstructive surgery?
-Suffered and psychologically stressed patients come from any country and it is very difficult to work with them. This category of patients is not financed in Georgia any more and frequently, patients prefer to have legs amputated for 2500 GEL, while the maintenance of a leg costs 50 000 GEL.
-Would you recall specific cases?
-One woman visited us. A bus had overridden her legs. In another clinic everybody told her that one leg would be maintained, but another could not be maintained. I had to persuade the family members for a long period that we were to use even the tiny chance and maintain both legs. Today, this person walks on both legs.
One of the patients, Oto, saved a little boy from a vehicle, but the same vehicle overrode both of his legs. We did our best to avoid amputation. Recently, he sent me a video. He was dancing in wedding. You can imagine what a happiness this is.
–It is very difficult to restore limbs, but you successfully make these operations. Do you make only similar reconstructive surgery?
-No. one girl came to us, 14 years old, with malignancy on upper jaw. In similar cases oncologists remove the half part of the jaw. Only the bone near the eye and the skin above it is maintained and the remaining space is left as a hole up. Oncologists leave similar patients in this condition. Along with the oncologists, we worked on restoration and transplanted tissues from the leg – bone, muscle. Today, this girl has ordinary face and palate. She looks pretty. Only 2 teeth remain for implantation.
-What other surgical operations are made at your clinic?
-We also make sex change operation. It is difficult, but we successfully make these operations. Similar operations are not made frequently in our country, because it is very difficult for patients to obtain a due permit. Foreign citizens visit our clinic more frequently, predominantly Arabs. In most cases, men ask for sex change, but women also apply to our clinic for the same operation.
–By the way, is it easier to remake a man into woman or inversely?
-It is easier to change a man into woman.
-How efficient is it today to reshape a nose by use of the widespread filler method?
-It is impossible to radically change the nose form. This is unreal. We may receive changes, but they will be insignificant and temporary.
-then why has the filler become so popular or the so-called threads, the so-called mesotherapy in facial surgery?
-Surgical procedure – cutting, stitching, surgical stretching, rhinoplasty require due knowledge and professionals spend about 10 years to acquire due skills and knowledge, while only two-week course is required to learn how to inject the filler and then they arrange cosmetic offices and so on… If the patient asks, I apply the filler too, but before I explain: this operation will unimportantly change your nose and you will have to visit the clinic every 6 months and add the filler. For essential changes you should apply efficient method – surgical operation. Those sitting at cosmetic offices will not give similar consultations and explanations.
-If I have already injected the filler and after that I decide to make operation and doctors suggest to wait till resolution. What is the solution in this case?
-You should visit the professional. If they do not know how to eject the filler from a nose, they prefer to keep silent and say – wait for the resolution and then you should come again, whilst the resolution takes 3-4 years. Yesterday a girl came from Russia. Jell had been injected in her nose. Before operation, we cleaned his face from jell. No problem arose. Doctors must know how to clean the face from jell.
How many operations do you make a day?
-3-4 operations a day. My record achievement is 22-hour operation, when I carried out chest reconstruction for an Abkhaz girl, who had the full body covered by cicatrices as a result of childhood burnt. She could not move, eat. In whole, we conducted 6 operations for 60 hours. And now I know that she lives in Sokhumi, she has got married and not she is mother. I am happy to have made contribution to her happiness.
– I have heard from many doctors that plastic surgery is not recommended for underage patients.
-Each case always has some side effects, but if we talk about nose operation, if a person has respiratory difficulties and has defect on the nose, it is better to carry out surgical intervention; but the nose is without problem and the patient does not like its shape and wants to change it, then the patient should wait to become adult.
-Would you operate your family members?
-I have already operated them. It does not matter who is on surgical table. I treat all patients equally and I think about results only and this result must be the best one. I don’t spare knowledge and energy to this end.