Love has its boundaries — and for most couples, the office is one of them. But for doctors Justin and Sarah Yovino, there’s no exchange of see you later as they’re heading out the door in the morning. The couple — who have been together for 20 years — have been practicing together for the past five.
“We’re the only two doctors in our office,” Dr. Justin says. As a double-board certified plastic surgeon, his skills lie in invasive procedures, while Dr. Sarah handles non-invasive skin and aesthetic treatments. “It’s nice,” she says. “We want to be the home for everyone's aesthetic needs.” And home it has become — even for patients from all over the globe.
The Yovinos’ story started in Florida, where they both attended medical school. Eventually, the duo relocated from the Sunshine State to sunny California, where they opened their practice, Ideal Face & Body, in the Beverly Hills area. Initially, Dr. Sarah spearheaded the practice’s growth. “She's business savvy,” Dr. Justin shares.
I meet the Yovinos at a plastic surgery convention in San Francisco. Immediately, I sense that Dr. Sarah is as personable as she is business savvy; her warm smile creates a calmness amid the frazzled conference setting. Dr. Justin is equally friendly, though he speaks with the precision and pace of someone who prioritizes efficiency. Their dynamic works — and, despite toiling together day in and day out, they still enjoy each other’s company.
Below, we asked the power couple about working in partnership; plus, Dr. Sarah’s take on the future of aesthetics, and why Dr. Justin prefers to operate without anesthesia. (Yes, you read that correctly!).
Spotlyte: In what ways do you work together? Do you ever have overlapping patients?
JY: Patients can come to me for their body work, for their surgeries, face lifts, whatever the case may be. And then, they go and see Dr. Sarah for their skincare needs. She performs all types of peels and laser treatments. We also have frequency devices, and peels, and PRP, microneedling. She does PRP for hair growth, things like that.
Spotlyte: What’s the best part about working with your spouse?
SY: To be in practice with somebody that you wholeheartedly trust. Also, I really enjoy being around him; I didn't get to see him all that much when we were in separate practices.
Spotlyte: Let’s talk about non-invasive treatments. Dr. Sarah, what’s your approach?
SY: My parents have this property in northern Michigan, and it inspired an [analogy]. They have little farm homes, and they let the farm homes dilapidate. But, the main home, they painted and maintained. So, it was still in really good condition, even though the other ones were falling apart.
Your body is like a home. If you let the elements destroy the roof, then you're going to have much bigger renovations than if you were to do little tweaks along the way. [With maintenance], your house can look pristine.
Spotlyte: Are there any trends you're seeing in aesthetics now?
SY: Anything nonsurgical, and anything [performed] while awake. Those are the two main trends I’ve noticed, and they’re really the things that are driving our practice. Also, I think people want to look like they haven't had anything done.
Spotlyte: Could you elaborate?
SY: There are implants that look like you haven't had them done because you don't see a huge scar, or face lifts where [the scar] is hidden behind the ear. And then there are so many devices now that can keep people away from the knife. Because of these devices, the nonsurgical side [of aesthetics] is booming.
Spotlyte: Dr. Justin: As a surgeon, how do you feel about the fact that people seem to be gravitating towards noninvasive treatments?
JY: Is it encroaching on me? No. It actually complements [my work]. The noninvasive stuff can do things that surgery can't. Surgery can't make your skin better, [whereas] treatments like microneedling improve the quality of your skin. So, you need the nonsurgical stuff in addition to the surgical stuff.
Spotlyte: Speaking of surgical stuff: You’re known for performing procedures like neck lifts, face lifts, and breast lifts — without general anesthesia. Why?
JY: [Local anesthesia] is much less risky. You're not being put on a ventilator, you're not being paralyzed, you don't have to go through [as much] medical clearance.
Spotlyte: In your opinion, why do most surgeons still use anesthesia when they operate?
JY: It's not like anyone can just [perform surgery without anesthesia]. It takes a lot of finesse. It takes a lot of love, a lot of patience, and learning. I find patients think they have to go to sleep during surgery, because it’s what doctors have often thought.
Spotlyte: Do patients seem nervous about going under the knife while they’re awake?
Dr. Justin Yovino: You'd think I’d get a lot of pushback, but I don't. Oftentimes patients come to me knowing [about my technique] because they’ve researched me. So it's kind of [self-] filtering.
Spotlyte: How has your work differed from Florida to Beverly Hills? If at all?
JY: In my opinion, there’s more [surgical] work in Beverly Hills. People come from all over the world to be a part of it. They don't necessarily do that in Fort Lauderdale. So I find that Beverly Hills is more of a hotspot.