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Community Highlights: Meet Nathaniel Villanueva, MD of The Plastic Surgery Institiute

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nathaniel Villanueva, MD.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My story begins before I was even born. My family are Cuban refugees who fled oppression and assassination to come to the United States and start over. My grandparents and parents instilled gratitude in us for this country and taught us to be grateful for any opportunity given to us to progress and advance academically which can ultimately leads to socio-economic advancements. From a young age, I was taught that nothing is given to you and you need to work towards your goals and never give up. I’m a SoCal native and while going to high school in San Marino, CA, I worked the family business, selling tile and stone, with my dad, Raul Villanueva Sr. I learned how to care for all sorts of clients and spent many hours delivering heavy marble and granite slabs to customers homes. I distinctly recollect telling some clients that asked if I was going to take over the family business that my plan was to go to medical school and that was quickly followed by a fake “sure you are.” Hearing people not believe in my plan was something that I would get used to but through my faith in a greater plan and support from my family, I knew nothing could get in the way. I then went to the University of Southern California where I earned my degree in Kinesiology and my love for human anatomy and physiology began to flourish.

While in college, I still worked at the family store and would still hear doubtful remarks regarding my plan to go to medical school. Furthermore, while at USC I went to the counselor’s office seeking advice to get into medical school and I was once more told that I should consider alternate paths because I would not likely get into medical school. That didn’t discourage me and continued pressing forward. Following my graduation from the U.S.C. I was accepted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. I finally made it, I thought, but I also knew how fortunate that I was to get this opportunity to be able to study medicine because I remembered all of my naysayers and I also saw a number of my friends not get into medical school on their first try. At first, I felt super overwhelmed being surrounded by such intelligent people but I fell back on what my foundation to work hard to achieve my goal of earning my Medical Doctorate. I sacrificed many things (i.e., sleep, time with friends, time with family, vacation time, etc.) in medical school in order to learn as much as possible and to truly give it my all. Also during medical school, my passion in human anatomy grew further and I knew I wanted to work with my hands. I explored a few surgical fields but quickly fell in love with plastic surgery because to become a plastic surgeon one has to have a thorough understanding of human anatomy from head to toe. Another interesting fact was is that getting into a plastic surgery residency is one of the hardest specialties to get into out of medical school. Thankfully, I didn’t let that discourage me and I pressed forward giving it my all in medical school. I am grateful to say I graduated at the top of my class, earning the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society membership, Gold Humanism Award, and graduating with distinction in medical research. These accomplishments were not possible without the unconditional support of my family.

Following medical school, I was accepted at the top plastic surgery residency in the country at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where I learned to be a plastic surgeon and further expanded my knowledge of human anatomy. During my residency, my passion for aesthetics flourished and I knew that I wanted to focus my career on aesthetic plastic surgery. Following my residency, I was accepted at the prestigious MarinaRox Aesthetic Plastic Surgery fellowship where I further refined my aesthetic surgery skills. During my time in the fellowship, I worked with Drs. Andrew Ordon and Ritu Chopra who decided to give me a chance at partnership following the fellowship. Fast forward a couple of years and I am now board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a partner with Dr. Chopra. Our practice is growing exponentially and now, my total dedication is to my patients. We take pride in listening to our patient’s concerns and desires and work to help them achieve their goals. We take a “concierge” approach to our practice by giving our patients access to us at all times. Our support staff is fantastic and caring. It’s pretty surreal for me to think that I am a board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills with a thriving practice knowing that from the very beginning many thought I could never do it. I am grateful for everyone that supported me and never doubted that with hard work and dedication anything is possible.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
We are a diverse small business that places our patients first.

I specialize in aesthetic plastic surgery with a focus on noses, breasts and body contouring.

We are accessible to our patients throughout the entire process and especially after surgery. Our patients have direct access to us and we ensure that they are well cared for not only during surgery but throughout the entire recovery process.

I am most proud of how well we take care of patients as a brand.

We provide the full complement of plastic surgery procedures both invasive and non-invasive. We seek to help patients achieve their goals and will make recommendations based on what will benefit the patient the most.

What makes you happy?
My happiness is dependent on my patient’s happiness. This interrelationship is a culmination of all of the years I have spent perfecting my practice of medicine and surgery to help a patient achieve their goals.

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