The kindest cut of all
By Dinna Chan Vasquez
Florencio Lucero says the best cosmetic surgery is when you cannot tell if
the person had anything done even after she’s been through two or three
“For me, the biggest compliment is when one of my patients is told that he
or she must have come from a vacation because that person looks really
good,” says the man who is considered the dean of plastic surgery in the
Lucero, a two-term president of the Philippine Association of Plastic,
Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons and our representative to the
International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, has done more noses,
breasts, eyelids and tummies than he can count but he refuses to do one
thing that some of his colleagues like to indulge in: name-dropping.
“It is important for me that my clients are happy with the results of my
work,” he says.
Lucero is said to be responsible for some of the country’s most beautiful
faces, including showbiz personalities, socialites, politicians and their
wives, members of the business community and many others.
He points out that the real plastic surgeons do not need to compete with
those who have had very little training and compensate for this advertising.
He says the best way for a doctor to “market” himself is by the result of
Lucero has also received his fair share of weird requests from patients,
like being asked by a man to change his face. At first, the doctor thought
his patient was a fugitive from the law. It later turned out that he was
running away from a fixed marriage.
So did Lucero go through with the surgery?
“Yes, I did, but not before making the patient understand the limitations of
surgery and making him accept my recommendations of a noselift and eyelid
surgery,” he says, clarifying that it is not possible for anyone to have his
or her appearance altered significantly through surgery.
Lucero has also turned down patients whom he thought didn’t need surgery.
“If my patients believe me when I say they don’t need surgery, they go home
smiling and happy. If they don’t believe, they go to another surgeon. Some
of them have come back to me to say they should have listened to me but
others continue to search for surgeons or non-surgeons who can give them
what they want,”he says.
Lucero explains that aesthetic surgery deals with normal features that, from
the person’s point of view, need improvement or enhancement. He says it is
important for a doctor to point out to the patient that the surgery has
limitations. “This has to be explained clearly because we don’t want the
patient to have unrealistic expectations about the procedure.
A devoted husband to the woman he considers the best testimony for his
work—his wife Tinette—and the proud father of three children, two of whom
are studying to be doctors, Lucero defines beauty as “generally good
“Good proportion and symmetry will greatly affect one’s appreciation of a
beautiful person. Beauty in a person is influenced by the beholder to a
large extent. One beauty queen defined beauty as 90 percent youth and the 10
percent, something one has to work on. Youthful appearance therefore is an
important determination of beauty,” says Lucero.
He considers actresses Nicole Kidman and Catherine Zeta Jones two of the
world’s most beautiful women but it is his wife Tinette that he says is the
loveliest of all. “The appreciation of beauty varies according to who is
Lucero’s mission right now is to put the Philippines on the medical tourism
map. He says medical tourism has been going on for many years and started
with plastic surgeons operating on foreign visitors or Filipino migrant
workers on vacation.
Lucero says his wish is for the government to help implement a higher
standard of care, with only certified plastic surgeons allowed to provide
plastic and cosmetic surgeries. He explains that certified means the surgeon
would have passed the plastic surgery board under the Philippine College of
Lucero has done his part for Philippine medical tourism by conducting
lectures and fulfilling speaking engagements abroads.
“I want people in other countries to recognize that the Filipino surgeon is
world-class,” he says.
Lucero, 60, also wants to continue his legacy of being an ethical and
competent plastic surgeon so part of this advocacy is helping train other
doctors. “I plan to continue to offer training programs to plastic surgeons
here and abroad.”