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Spotlight – Dr. Tony Mangubat

Meet Dr. Tony Mangubat, the owner of La Belle Vie Cosmetic Surgery and presenting sponsor for Gender Odyssey 2018!  Dr. Mangubat, a cosmetic surgeon, is a longtime supporter of Gender Odyssey and the Pacific Northwest’s leading expert in gender-affirming top surgery. He is dedicated to serving and supporting the trans community. 

Dr. Mangubat recently hired surgeon Megan Dreveskracht to help broaden the services offered at the practice. Registered attendees can meet privately with both La Belle Vie doctors at Gender Odyssey in LA or Seattle!

Dr. Mangubat spoke recently with Spotlight blogger Devon Bacso.

What will you be presenting at Gender Odyssey this year?
I will be speaking on the concept of chest reconstruction, influenced by art rather than a surgical-only approach. Many surgeons offer top surgery today and do a great job.  However, some surgeons lack an aesthetic eye. An example is when the two nipples don’t look “quite right” and the eye is drawn to an unusual appearance. My presentation will discuss surgery in the context of artistic concepts, and how we take cues from masters like Leonardo da Vinci for body proportion. I’ll also talk about preparing for surgery for prospective patients and what happens afterwards.

What would you like attendees to take with them from your presentation?
That every person’s body is unique and different. The design of a masculine chest should be proportional to each individual patient. There isn’t a cookie cutter approach to surgery, and certainly not with top surgery. To believe that the nipples should be a certain distance apart for everyone is incorrect. You have to modify your approach for each individual patient.

What do you hope to take away from this year’s conference?
Every year I learn something from other physicians, surgeons, patients and even the industry. For instance, I learned a lot about the changing insurance industry. To me, there are huge differences between insurance companies even today. Some are holistic and take care of the entire process, and some companies make it difficult to access care. It’s a significant issue and I hope to find ways of helping my patients overcome these obstacles.

What makes your topic particularly relevant in today’s climate?
Doctors don’t operate in a vacuum. Doctors have to see the patients and patients have to see the doctor and they have to come to an understanding of what they want. For example, some patients don’t want nipples because they’re planning an elaborate tattoo, and nipple grafts would get in the way. There are at least two to three patients a year that request chest reconstruction without nipple reconstruction. Communication between patient and surgeon is critical.

How would you describe yourself?
I was trained in cosmetic surgery in 1986. I’ve been practicing for over thirty years now. Cosmetic surgery is a vast specialty demanding a wide spectrum of knowledge that includes surgical and artistic elements. In 1987, I treated my first trans woman, despite my colleagues’ advice not to—I have not looked back. I did my first chest reconstruction for a trans man in 2004, and that part of my practice really blossomed. I really enjoy every aspect of caring for the LGBTQ community. They’re my most grateful patients and my biggest successes. I could see myself doing this until I retire. 

How have you seen gender-affirmation surgeries progress in the past two decades?
It has exploded! We understand gender dysphoria infinitely better today as a community. Insurance has started covering certain procedures with gender transition. Who would have ever thought that was going to happen?  So gender-affirmation surgeries have significantly expanded from all this new understanding.

Dr. Mangubat a native of Seattle, is a graduate of the University of Washington Medical School, studied surgery at the University of Kentucky and trained in cosmetic surgery with Dr. Richard C. Webster, a legend in the field of cosmetic surgery. He performs a full spectrum of cosmetic procedures including many trans procedures. He lectures worldwide on body sculpting procedures and is a leader amongst his peers. He has served on several Academy boards. Dr. Mangubat’s work with the transgender community is well known to be caring and sensitive to each individual. His full resume: www.LaBelleVieCosmetics.com

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