Dr. Raval completed a residency in ENT head and neck surgery at Washington University in St. Louis. “About 20% of ENT training is actually facial plastic surgery,” says Dr. Raval. “I really enjoyed this aspect of the specialty, so I chose to go into a specialized fellowship training in facial plastic surgery in Miami. When I saw my first procedure, it was a eureka moment. My mentor not only performed facial plastic surgery, nose jobs and facelifts, but offered noninvasive procedures too.” This was the late 1990s and there were only two facial rejuvenation lasers that offered results, though both had significant drawbacks, notes Dr. Raval. The single-mode Er:YAG laser produced a lot of bleeding and the carbon dioxide laser had the potential to cause excessive scarring and wound contracture. Collagen fillers were just coming on the market with results that lasted three months. Botox had not yet been approved for cosmetic usage, though doctors were stocking up on the new product—that would soon be acquired by Allergan—nonetheless.
Part of what Dr. Raval loved about the sub-specialty were the creative skills necessary to give each patient the best result. “I don’t mean to sound pretentious about this, but you’re not just doing surgery to fix things. You’re doing artwork,” he says. “That’s what I was excited about.”
At that time, the majority of plastic surgery procedures took place in metropolitan cities such as Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas and New York. Following the advice of a friend, Dr. Raval moved to Denver, where he worked with a plastic surgery group for seven years. “Five years ago, I had the unique opportunity to take over a very active laser aesthetic clinic,” he says. He purchased Rocky Mountain Laser Aesthetics and, two years later, merged it with his own private cosmetic surgery practice called Raval Facial Aesthetics and ENT. “We’ve been going like gangbusters ever since,” he says. “I don’t see myself retiring until I absolutely have to. I don’t look at the clock or look forward to the end of the day. I can’t wait to see my kids, of course, but in terms of my work, it’s a lot of fun. It brings me joy, and my patients see that. “