Sad news for the plastic surgery industry as pioneer and world-famous surgeon Dr Ivo Pitanguy passes away.
Ivo Pitanguy began his career in the East Grinstead specialist burns unit, run by Sir Harold Gillies. Gillies was a pioneer of skin grafts on soldiers during the First World War. Under his wing, Pitanguy was taught the techniques of reconstructive plastic surgery. Later in his career he applied those skills to aesthetic procedures.
Setting up his own clinic in 1963, Pitanguy soon became renowned for his skill, often operating on the rich and famous. One of his signature surgeries, nicknamed the “Brazilian butt-lift”, helped put Brazil on the map in this competitive industry.
Pitanguy was a great believer that plastic surgery healed psychological ailments and should be treated as seriously as remedial operations. His clinic included a therapy centre where his patients could address the psychological problems that he believed fuelled their desire for plastic surgery.
With his high-flying clientele, Pitanguy made a fortune. However, he did not reserve his skills for those with the money to pay for it. He also helped many of the poor. Pitanguy had a weekly clinic in which he treated burns victims and those with deformities completely free of charge.
Moreover, with his passion for plastic surgery and personal background, he trained many doctors and believed strongly in the importance of teaching and research.
Working well into his 80s, he still examined new patients and was involved in parts of operations.
The sad news comes just one day after he carried the Olympic flame in this year’s opening ceremony. Spokeswoman Patricia Sallum said he’d had a heart attack at his home in Rio de Janeiro, dying aged 90.
His loss is a great one to the industry but his legacy and impact on patients lives will ensure he remains a well-celebrated surgeon for years to come.