Dr. Dan Calva is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes in aesthetic and cosmetic procedures as well as complex head-to-toe reconstruction. Dr. Calva is known in part for the breast reconstructive surgeries he completes for patients using a fat/tissue grafting procedure rather than implants.
Dr. Calva received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, where he graduated with honors. He went on to study medicine at Carver College of Medicine. Following his graduation from medical school, Dr. Calva trained from 2005 to 2012 in the discipline of general surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. His training included two years in which he focused on the molecular genetics of cancer. During this time he was the recipient of two grants from the National Institute of Health and conducted award-winning research on cancer biology.
Dr. Calva finished his training at John’s Hopkins Hospital in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, where he served as the Administrative Chief Resident. He was the recipient of the prestigious Frank. I. Coulson Jr. Award for Clinical and Academic Excellence at John’s Hopkins. After completing his training in 2015, Dr. Calva began work at the Miami Hand Center and the Miami Breast Center. He was inducted to become a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a group known to hold the highest standards of surgical care.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Typically, I wake up very early and get into a productive mindset right away. My days vary according to what day of the week it is, and the patients I have scheduled. I see patients from all over the world, so often my schedule reflects a pattern that we use for out-of-town patients.
Wednesdays are often a day of preparation for procedures which will occur at the end of the week. Thursdays and Fridays are usually surgery days. On Mondays, I will evaluate and follow-up with patients who have had work done the week prior. I work long hours, but I love what I do.
What sets you apart from other surgeons who do similar work?
The breast reconstruction work that I do uses a minimally invasive technique, which leaves no to minimal scarring. That is one significant difference because usually other surgeon’s utilize a method which leaves a noticeable scar.
Also, I use a technique called fat grafting, which can augment or reconstruct breasts without the use of implants. With fat grafting, women can go from having an A cup to a full C cup with one procedure. I feel that this is a far superior method of breast reconstruction and augmentation, as women get natural looking and feeling breasts without the complications of implants.
An added benefit is that we perform liposuction, usually at the abdomen or thigh, to obtain the fat grafts. Women love the added toning and shaping that the liposuction provides.
What new advances in your industry most excite you?
I am very excited that more and more women are turning to fat grafting procedures rather than implants for breast reshaping and augmentation. I have written several chapters about fat grafting in academic books, and I am passionate about helping other plastic surgeons recognize the benefits of using fat grafting instead of implants.
What is one thing that you hope to see a change in healthcare in the next ten years?
I love to see my patients take interest and initiative with regards to their health. I feel that in the past, the cultural norm was to treat health-care as a problem-solving tool. People waited until they had a problem, and then sought out doctors to fix it.
Now I see our culture trending towards a more proactive outlook, and I think that is wonderful. We are starting to realize the potential of medicine, and to turn to it to help us become our best selves. Medicine has a lot to offer, even to the healthiest individuals. I hope that this trend continues.
What do you like most about your work?
I love meeting people from all over the world. I enjoy talking to my patients and getting to know them. When I first have a consult with a patient, we go over all of the details of the procedure. I help them get fitted for a BRAVA like external tissue expander, and together we come up with a plan for when the procedure will occur. We see each other again when we prepare for the surgery, and decide where to do the liposuction. I enjoy these visits.
I find it fascinating to work with people from different backgrounds, so I feel privileged to have a patient-base which is so diverse. I love seeing their satisfaction at the end of their stay in Miami.
How long does the procedure take?
That depends on whether the patient wants to do everything in one trip to Miami, or if they want to have at least two separate visits. If they want to get everything done in one visit, the whole thing — from evaluation and consultation to discharge — takes about three weeks. This is because they need to wear the BRAVA device for two weeks before the procedure, and they need to stay in Miami for one week after surgery.
Otherwise, if they are happy to travel back and forth, we schedule the procedure at their convenience, and it may be weeks after the initial evaluation. It all depends on the patient.