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Steven Fagien, MD, FACS: His Vantage Point

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: March 4, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of
Dr. Steven Fagien injecting a patient

Fagien specializes in only two procedures: cosmetic eyelid surgery and injectables. Photography by Steve Levine/Steady70

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But staying within the confines of his specialty is not the key to growth, according to Fagien. “Many people just stick to their specialty and only hang with those in their specialty and consider others the enemy. I don’t subscribe to that at all. I like to collaborate with those who are credible contributors, whether they are dermatologists or plastic surgeons, who have offered a lot to aesthetic medicine,” he says. “Everyone sees things differently, and you can learn a lot from someone else’s vantage point.”

Ethics and the economy

One of the most important motivators for Fagien is to make sure he earns his success in what he believes to be an ethical and straightforward manner, avoiding some of the trappings he sees as potentially misleading to patients. “Most of the patients that see me have done a lot of homework, and they haven’t done homework by visiting my Web site,” says Fagien, who proudly conducts business without one. “I’m not against the Web, and I think there are people who have Web pages that are spectacular for information, but they can also be deceptive. I’ve known on many occasions those who have questionable or marginal talent with Web sites that are incredible, and you would think they’ve invented every procedure known to plastic surgery. It’s buyer beware.”

Instead, Fagien relies on word-of-mouth referrals as his most trusted source of business. “When somebody has heard about your reputation, those are the kind of patients who are serious about surgery and are not just shopping,” he explains, noting that he counts his ability to nurture real relationships with his patients as one of the biggest secrets of his success.

“I find that patients in many ways become long-term, friendly relationships, and we set up our offices to be a friendly environment. My patients love my office staff; my staff treats them with respect. My patients get what they came for and are extremely satisfied with their results. There’s no referral stronger than excellent results, and there’s nothing as long-lasting,” he says.

In fact, Fagien’s patients recently were the ones who reaped the benefits of the slow economy. “Anyone who says the economy didn’t affect them was not being truthful; it affected all of us,” Fagien says. “For patients, it was an advantage because they could get in earlier. We were still full, but we weren’t crazy. The benefit of having a busy practice was that I had a significant backlog in surgery scheduled far enough in advance that it kind of made up for some of the losses.”