Dr. George Varkarakis is a Board Certified Plastic and Craniofacial Surgeon in Miami, Florida. He specializes in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery as well as pediatric plastic surgery. His Miami based practice, “gvplasticsurgery,” welcomes patients from numerous states seeking cutting-edge aesthetic procedures and challenging reconstructive surgeries after unsuccessful aesthetic procedures.
George was born in Buffalo, where his father, Dr. Michael Varkarakis, was an associate professor at SUNY Department of Urology. Then he became director of the largest hospital in Athens.
His brother, Dr.John Varkarakis, is a Professor of Urology at the University of Athens. George is coming from a large medical family. He completed his primary education at Athens College 91' and his medical education from the University of Athens 97.'
The National Herald: How would you describe yourself to someone that just met you?
George M. Varkarakis: Open, kind, passionate about my profession, compassionate, detailed-oriented, humble but proud for my training.
TNH: What brought you to the States? What makes America great?
GMV: I came to the States to fulfill my vision to become the best physician I could be. Additionally, my father's medical research accomplishments in NY and the United States' love from my environment at Athens College.
America gives equal opportunities, and f you have good intentions, work hard and are patient, success is possible.
TNH: Tell us about your first steps in the USA.
GMV: I came to the United States 22 years ago. First, in Bethesda, MD studying for the medical degree certification exam. Then I moved to Miami for 2.5 years, researching Biomechanics at the University of Miami. After that, I started my internship in General Surgery in NYC at St. Vincent's hospital.
TNH: How did your so successful career begin?
GMV: I proudly graduated from the Plastic Surgery Residency program at Indiana University in Indianapolis. I then completed a fellowship in Craniofacial Surgery in Dallas, TX. 8.5 years ago, I moved to Miami, where my wife was a practicing anesthesiologist and lived with our son. I started in January of 2012 a solo private practice. For the first 2.5 years, I traveled to Jacksonville, where I performed the reconstruction of over 3000 skin cancer wound defects after Moh's surgeries. I received a diploma from the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
TNH: On what humanitarian trips have you been to?
GMV: The prominent and most memorable humanitarian trip was in Lesotho in Africa, where the team performed on over 80 cases of children with craniofacial abnormalities and burn injuries.
TNH: Besides your clinical activities, how else do you promote plastic surgery?
GMV: Through professional societies like the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS), a plastic surgeon has many opportunities. My main activities have been reviewing peer journal articles for publication, advocating through the Political Action Committee patient's rights at the Capitol Hill in Washington, writing questions for the exam boards for plastic surgeons, organizing national conferences.
TNH: Empathy; is that the first prerequisite in becoming a doctor?
GMV: For a good doctor, love and compassion towards the patient are of paramount importance. Those emotions are usually, for a good reason, reversible. Practicing medicine is an honor but entails hard work, sacrifice, and commitment. The satisfaction you get by being able to assist another human being is priceless, though.
TNH: Reconstructive surgery changes lives. How so?
GMV: Patients after traumatic injuries, congenital malformations, or cancer treatments have tremendous psychological impacts on their lives, daily activities, and associations with others. Plastic reconstructive surgery is here to alleviate the pain by bringing back to as normal as possible the form and function of the body.
TNH: What do the majority of your patients ask for?
GMV: I practice both aesthetic and reconstructive Plastic Surgery. On the aesthetic part, the non-surgical procedures are neuro blocker (“Botox”) and fillers (“hyaluronic acid”) to the face. Regarding aesthetic surgical procedures, eyelid, face, neck, and lip rejuvenation via blepharoplasty, facelift, neck lift, fat grafting, and upper lip lift are commonly asked in my practice by my patients.
On the reconstructive part, there are multiple inquiries for revision from a prior unsuccessful aesthetic surgery, breast reduction, scar revision, and skin cancer reconstruction, in the Emergency Room traumatic injuries like dog bites, lacerations, and facial bone fractures.
TNH: What are the present and future frontiers in plastic surgery?
GMV: We have managed to accomplish a more natural look. The pulled or the overfilled look is occurring much less. Regenerative medicine with stem cells from adipose tissue (“fat”) or amniotic/embryonic tissues are available now with encouraging results, which in the future will be more acceptable for the treatment of a variety of medical diseases.
TNH: Give us an outline of your activities and some of your best achievements in your work?
GMV: I consult patients on various plastic surgery-related issues. There is a broad spectrum of procedures I perform in a variety of age populations and for multiple etiologies. I combine principles I have learned from reconstructive surgery to aesthetic surgery and vice-versa.
The best achievements I have been blessed to accomplish were resolution of facial hemochromatosis from a prior facelift, reconstruction of breast implant mastopexy (lift) with embryonic and adipose stem cells, reconstruction from an upper lip lift complication where the patient went to 40 doctors in California, TX, and NY and found a solution here in Miami.
TNH: Tell us your recommendations about prophylaxis from COVID.
GMV: A strong immune during the pandemic is vital to defend against infection and decrease the symptomatology's severity if you get it. My recommendation would be good nutrition, regular exercise, plenty of rest, and the use of Vitamin C and Zinc.
Additionally, anti-inflammatory medications like Artemisinin, known as “Ivermectin,” a Nobel Prize-winning medication, along with small doses of hydroxychloroquine.
TNH: What is the emergency treatment if you do catch the virus?
GMV: Medications for their anti-inflammatory actions: Symbicort (steroid inhaler) and Hydroxychloroquine. Meds to prevent bacterial infection: Clarithromycin or Zithromax and then Aspirin to prevent thrombosis. Finally, to inactivate the virus, Zinc.
TNH: What distinguishes you? What makes you the proudest?
GMV: My training, sincere compassion, aesthetic eye, clinical judgment, and technical surgical skills.
I am proud that I have developed interventions like performing a facelift, neck lift under local anesthesia, obtaining fat graft with one of the best survival rates, and have reconstructed successfully challenging cases for patients who have traveled from various regions of the USA and the world.
TNH: What happens when they doubt you?
GMV: When there is a lack of confidence between the patient and the doctor, it is wise to hold any interaction and avoid any surgical procedure performed on that patient.
TNH: How fair has life been to you?
GMV: Luckily and thankfully, life has been more than fair to me. I treasure my memorable happy childhood in Greece, being able to have an excellent education from my parents, completing my medical school at 23 years, being trained by the world's experts, and pursuing my goal of being a respectful Craniofacial Plastic Surgeon in the best place in the world to practice medicine, in the USA.
TNH: What is worth fighting for in our times?
GMV: It is worth to fight for freedom, water, honesty, human rights, work ethics, spiritual advancement, and natural medicine.
TNH: Do you believe in teamwork?
GMV: Nothing is possible without teamwork. Successful surgeries are the result of good preparation, communication, and execution from an excellent team.
TNH: What is your daily routine?
GMV: Having breakfast, going to “GV Plastic Surgery” office in Coconut Grove, operating, consulting, following up on patients, dealing with health insurances, taking a break for lunch if possible, continuing the medical work, and then reading about plastic surgery, sports, Greece, relaxing by listening to music and meditating on life, God, plastic surgery techniques and the future. Driving, stretching, exercising, messaging my parents, getting mentally ready for my next day's surgery by visualizing the procedure, having dinner, and praying before bed.
TNH: Happiness or success?
GMV: Happiness and success are independent, usually go together, but it depends on how we define and visualize them. I prefer both, but life is a balance, and all of us will face difficulties and adversities. Courage and faith are keys for enduring and having both.
Dr. George M. Varkarakis,
3661 South Miami Avenue