By Mary Malik
After 28 years as a dental hygienist, Debbie Scaletta knows how important it is to take good care of yourself, and how your outward appearance can affect your self-confidence. With her 93-year-old mother still living on her own, and her grandmother living to 110, Debbie expects to be around for a long time—and she enjoys looking younger than most people her age.
“I take good care of myself and pay attention to issues before they become serious,” says Debbie. “Three years ago, I had surgery on my leg for a melanoma. The surgeon performed a skin graft, which turned out to be quite disfiguring. I was embarrassed to show my leg and lost confidence in my appearance.”
Losing confidence was especially problematic for Debbie’s second career, acting in movies filmed around Northeast Ohio.
“Seven years ago, one of my daughters talked me into going downtown and trying out as an extra in The Avengers movie being filmed here,” says Debbie.
“I was skeptical but went and stood in line for hours. Debbie didn’t give it a second thought until she got the call that she had been chosen to be in the film. “It was an incredible experience and gave me the bug to give acting a try,” says Debbie.
She has been amazingly successful, appearing in nearly 40 major films. But subsequent auditions soon made her realize the acting business required a thick skin to handle the scrutinization and rejection that comes with it. Beauty, poise and talent are important, but personal confidence is absolutely essential to retain the necessary perseverance.
Talking to a friend about her scar, Debbie learned about Dr. Paul Vanek, a double board-certified general and plastic surgeon at Vanek Plastic Surgery in Mentor. As a biochemist and physiology expert, Dr. Vanek knows how the human body responds to surgical procedures. He can manipulate its structures to produce aesthetically pleasing results for his patients, even if he didn’t perform the original surgery.
“It’s such a relief when a cancer is removed, but it can be difficult to live with that constant reminder in the form of an unsightly scar,” says Dr. Vanek. “As a result of a skin graft, Debbie was left with a large defect in her leg that concerned her. Working in planned stages, I reduced the scar size and also improved the contour of her skin, making it barely noticeable.”
Debbie knew from her first appointment that she was in the hands of the right surgeon. Dr. Vanek is not only an expert in his field, he also conveys his expertise without overwhelming his patients. Debbie appreciated the time he took to explain each session thoroughly and was comfortable throughout each process. Dr. Vanek performed various procedures to minimize her scar, giving her the confidence to wear dresses and skirts again.
“Things like that can definitely shake your confidence,” says Debbie. “The scar on my leg was holding me back. My relationship with Dr. Vanek and his entire staff has helped me to step even further out of my comfort zone and go after things I may not have tried in the past.”
Dr. Vanek’s treatment for Debbie’s leg included an intralesional excision procedure, Sciton ProFractional lasering of the scar, and an autologous fat transfer to fill the depression in her leg.
“The excision was done in two stages and allowed me to reduce the defect by more than 50 percent,” says Dr. Vanek. “Then I used advanced Sciton laser technology to improve the color match of the area to the rest of Debbie’s skin. Finally, autologous fat transfer, where Debbie’s own fat was removed from her abdomen and filled any puckering or depressions in the skin left by the previous surgery, improved the contour of her leg.”
“The same combination of procedures I performed on Debbie’s leg can improve contouring for breast reconstruction surgeries, tummy tucks and many other areas of the body,” says Dr. Vanek. “They are virtually pain-free procedures with very little downtime, if any.” Vanek Plastic Surgery also offers many non-invasive procedures like chemical peels, OxyGeneo facials and Hydrafacials, microneedling with RF, dermaplaning and microdermabrasion, as well as fillers and injectables.
“We have all the latest technological offerings, but you’re never just a procedure in my practice,” says Dr. Vanek. “I enjoy taking the time to talk with you and discuss your realistic goals. We form long-term relationships to achieve your goals together, taking your confidence to a whole new level.”
Because of her trust in Dr. Vanek, Debbie plans to take advantage of some of the other services his practice offers. “I’ve always felt that if there’s something that bothers you about how you look, get it fixed,” she says. “There are so many things, even simple, non-invasive procedures, that can help you feel better about yourself.”
Debbie is no longer using bandages to hide her scar, and she’s wearing dresses again. Just in time for her latest role as Dottie in “Song Of The Tree Frog,” which starts production this fall, she’s feeling more confident than ever.
Dr. Paul Vanek is double board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery, and is a Fellow of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. His offices are at 9485 Mentor Avenue, Suite 100, in Mentor. He offers various payment options. For more information, call 440-205-5750 or visit MentorPlasticSurgery.com or ThisCanBU.com, where all photos are of actual patients like Debbie, and not retouched.