Dr. Mel Ortega: Changing Lives and Going Strong at 68

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Jul. 13 2023, Published 4:51 p.m. ET

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The ancient Egyptians believed that a person dies twice. The first is when their soul leaves the body, and the second is after the death of the last person who remembers their name. And ever since the dawn of time, people have been searching for a way to reach the stars and make their names live forever. But history is unforgiving, as it only remembers people and acts that changed people's lives.

Dr. Mel Thomas Ortega, a brilliant plastic and corrective surgeon in Miami, Florida, unknowingly put himself on such a path over 40 years ago when he decided to become a medical doctor. In his mind, becoming a doctor was one of the noblest and purest callings. He wanted a career where he could take away the pain and suffering of others by giving them medical treatment and healthcare.

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He initially started as a pediatrician, but due to his part mechanical, part artistic nature, Dr. Mel Ortega switched his residency first to general surgery and topped it off with plastic and corrective surgery. As Dr. Ortega explains, general surgery is very mechanical; almost everything you do, you are doing with your hands. On top of that, plastic surgery allows you a lot of creativity in planning and executing procedures, which is the aesthetic part.

Despite being 68 years old, Dr. Ortega effectively manages two thriving plastic surgery clinics in Miami, FL: Spectrum Aesthetics and iBody Aesthetics. As he points out, age is nothing but a number, and he will keep operating as long as his hands stay steady.

"As a kid, I was interested in art, music, and aesthetics. I also learned to play several instruments, and I still play guitar. I wanted to do similar things as a doctor," he says. "That's how I found my calling as a plastic surgeon. I love my job, and I'll stay on this path as long as possible because I love seeing the joy on people's faces when they look in the mirror after the operation."

While most people assume that plastic surgery is purely cosmetic – as its focus is not always on curing illnesses – Dr. Mel Ortega points out that it can still play a significant part in people's overall well-being. In his experience, most people who decide to undergo a corrective procedure simply want a chance to get the bodies and looks they always wanted.

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"According to the definition, a person needs to be in a state of physical, mental, and socio-economical well-being to be healthy," he explains. "If a person is dissatisfied with how they look and feels uncomfortable in their body, they will be unhappy. And we are here to change their lives and bring smiles back to their faces."

During his extensive, 30-year-long career, Dr. Mel Thomas Ortega successfully operated on so many people that he lost count. As he explains, he works on average four days a week and performs at least 20 tummy tuck (just one out of many procedures he has under his belt).

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That is 80 tummy tucks per month and a stunning approximation of over 28,000 patients he has helped by making their tummies look better and prettier. Besides tummy tucks, Dr. Ortega and his talented and experienced teams of surgeons at Spectrum Aesthetics and iBody Aesthetics offer a broad spectrum of plastic surgery procedures such as liposuction, mommy makeover, Brazilian butt lift (BBL), breast augmentation and reduction, and many more.

They use state-of-the-art technology and innovative procedures that are as safe and comfortable for patients as possible. Still, this double board-certified surgeon points out that the secret of his long and successful career is simple— dedication to his craft and patients.

"Plastic surgeons who come into this line of work just for the money have short-lived careers. Not all of them are, but aesthetic medicine and surgery are rife with a bunch of charlatans who play their trade and promise things they can't deliver," says Dr. Mel Ortega. As he explains, these charlatans will tell patients anything they want to hear just to get their money, even if it's impossible to achieve.

"This is how you get patients who spend thousands of dollars and leave your practice unhappy, never to return," he says. "You need to consider the patient's best interests, and sometimes even tell them that they don't need this expensive procedure because there is a simpler and cheaper one that will net the same result. That is the only way to stay in this business for as long as I have."


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