We recently sat down with Dr. Raniere, one of our board certified plastic surgeons here at Advanced Aesthetics, to find out a little bit more about his life in and out of our Atlanta plastic surgery practice.
What drew you to the field of medicine?
As a young child, I was always interested in medicine and, at school, I excelled in science classes. As I got older, I started volunteering my time to hospitals and a local nursing home. It was an opportunity to engage with the residents at the home, whether it was just discussion or playing a game of chess.
When I was 15, I joined a first aid squad as a cadet and quickly went up through the ranks. My interest in medicine only increased over time, and I knew, even from a young age, that I wanted to become a doctor and help people.
When did you decide to embark down the plastic surgery path?
After my first year of medical school at Rutgers in New Jersey, I was one of a select number of medical students accepted into the oncology program. The program was at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, affiliated with USC, and one of the offered programs was “Reconstructive Work in Children with Bone Cancer.” These children were losing their legs and needed lower extremity reconstruction to try and salvage their limbs.
I not only thought the program was interesting, I also knew it was my opportunity to really help people. So I went out to California for a few months between my first and second year of medical school. There, I worked with a plastic surgeon and his team to help reconstruct extremities for young children with bone cancer. I was intrigued and impressed by their work, and I knew at that point that I wanted to be a plastic surgeon.
What do you love about your work?
I love being able to help people in a very personal and artistic way. Much of plastic surgery has to do with a vision and seeing through the technical process to an outcome that the patient is going to be happy with, whether it’s cosmetic or reconstructive.
In addition to my cosmetic work, I perform a lot of reconstructive surgeries including skin cancer restoration of the face, restoring noses, eyelids, and ears that have been lost to skin cancer, and I do a lot of breast reconstruction procedures for women who have had a mastectomy. For me, it’s an incredibly fulfilling and life changing experience. Many of these patients are going through some of the worst times of their lives, and I get to be a part of making things better. It’s very rewarding.
I also just like the variety and artistry of plastic surgery—we’re not limited to operating on just one particular area. One day I may be reconstructing a nose, and the next day I might be performing a tummy tuck.
If you weren’t a plastic surgeon, what would you do for a career?
I’d be a rockstar! For fun, I play lead guitar for Gravity, a local cover band that also includes Dr. Gronka on the drums. I love it. It’s a whole other world that is so different from what I do during the workweek. It’s a great way to relieve stress and hugely fun to play.
It’s great because our patients show up to see their doctor performing. Just last week, we had a show and easily half of the audience was made up of our regular patients.
Can you share a patient experience that really touched you?
A few months ago, I took my kids (12 and 14) out to dinner. Where we live in Georgia, there’s a lot of filmmaking and celebrities come in and out of town all of the time. This night, we were seated at a table right next to Michael Douglas. Of course, there were many people making a fuss and taking pictures.
It was my child’s first experience with a celebrity, and I just explained to her that it wasn’t a big deal—he’s just a normal person. We finished our dinner without much to-do and, as we were leaving the restaurant, I was approached by a patient of mine. She is a very beautiful young woman who previously suffered a horrible fall off of a ladder that completely crushed her face and left her with multiple facial fractures. At the time, I helped to reconstruct her face with a number of procedures.
She and her fiancé were out celebrating the anniversary of her surgeries and finally feeling back to normal. It was a huge coincidence that we ran into each other, and I was so thrilled to see her out and about, cheerful, and preparing to get married. She met and hugged my family and expressed a huge amount of appreciation for my work.
It was an incredibly touching experience, made all the more remarkable when my 12-year-old turned to me and said, “You’re more famous than Michael Douglas!”
Are there any new or upcoming technologies or treatments that you’re excited about?
There are a few new things in body contouring that are really interesting. I think that we’re in the early stages of developing newer and better techniques for building up tissue with fat grafting techniques, whether it’s cosmetic in nature, such as buttock augmentation or for enhancing breast augmentation, or even in reconstructive or cancer work where we are restoring lumpectomy patients. Going forward, I think that we will be using a lot more stem cell technology to regenerate fat cells that can be added back to a patient’s body in certain circumstances.
Fat grafting is so interesting and many people still aren’t aware of what we can do. Patients don’t come in and say, “Hey, I want fat grafting!” It’s more along the lines of “what can you do to improve the size of my buttocks or get rid of the saggy appearance?” Fat grafting often provides the best results for certain patients.
When you’re not at work, where are you likely to be found?
On the weekends, you can usually find me performing on stage. We do many private parties and performances at local clubs. But when it comes to leisure time, you can find my spending the day with my wife and two beautiful girls, Brooke and Julia. We enjoy spending time at our lake house in Alabama.
What do you love about Georgia?
Surprisingly, the climate is one of my favorite things about the area—I love that it’s relatively warm throughout the year, though the summers can be a bit brutal! I also love the people and the reasonable cost of living. I grew up in the Northeast and it’s worlds apart from Georgia in many ways. Here, the weather is better, the people are nicer, and everything is much less expensive.
So, what’s in your fridge at home right now?
I have the perfect answer for this! Right now in my freezer, you’d find an assortment of silicone breast implants. My kids have been using them as ice packs. They work well for that, but they’re the most expensive ice packs you could have!
Is there anything else you’d like the community to know about you?
I truly care about my patients and their outcomes. I do everything in my power to give each patient the necessary time and energy required to listen to them and hear exactly what they’re trying to achieve—and I work to the best of my ability to be successful in achieving their goals.