In Profile: Dr Tatiana Lapa and Mr Rishi Mandavia

By Ellie Holden / 28 Jan 2022

Dr Tatiana Lapa and Mr Rishi Mandavia discuss their differing paths into aesthetics, being a husband-and-wife duo, and their biggest achievements so far

With a joint interest in becoming space doctors and gaining a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Physiology during their medical school training, Dr Tatiana Lapa and Mr Rishi Mandavia’s relationship blossomed, while their careers in to aesthetic medicine took different paths. As a husband-and-wife duo, Dr Lapa and Mr Mandavia reflect that it was a simple decision to set up a clinic and work together. Talking about how they met, Mr Mandavia reflects, “We were both studying Aerospace Physiology and Tatiana was doing a research project where she studied the effects of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) on brain function. I, of course, volunteered to be her subject and that’s how we met! Was it oxygen deprivation or was it love at first sight – we’ll never know!”

Dr Lapa first became interested in aesthetics when she qualified as a junior doctor at St George’s University of London in 2011. She reflects, “I started working for another clinic in London, which was a great introduction into the world of aesthetics. I attended lots of training courses, workshops and achieved a first-class Master’s degree in Aesthetic Medicine at Queen Mary University of London. I completed my GP training and wanted more autonomy in my aesthetic practice and so decided to open my own clinic.”

In 2014, Dr Lapa established the Dr Tatiana Aesthetic Dermatology clinic in Harley Street London, which she ran alongside Mr Mandavia. She comments “I developed a passion for skin health and found myself being drawn to the exciting innovations that were on the market. Soon I realised that I was running out of space in my little one room and expanded to have a multi-room clinic.” She laughs, “My love for machines and technology has grown and so my need for space has also grown! As a result, we are opening a second clinic in London.”

“We work very much as a team. I bring my research, management and surgical skills, whilst Tatiana brings her passion for creativity and innovation”

Mr Rishi Mandavia

Taking a different medical pathway, Mr Mandavia attended King’s College London Medical School, but decided instead of becoming a space doctor, he wanted to pursue a career as an ENT, head and neck facial plastic surgeon. He says, “I was really pleased to secure the only National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Academic Clinical Fellowship for ENT, head and neck surgery in London. It was a one-of-a-kind fellowship which enabled me to develop research skills alongside my surgical training.” Following this, Mr Mandavia was awarded a scholarship with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and simultaneously completed a Master’s degree in Health Policy at Imperial College London. He recalls “At NICE, I had the opportunity to help develop national ENT head and neck surgery guidance and my Master’s degree gave me insights into health policy development”. Recently, alongside his NHS clinical practice, and his work at the Dr Tatiana clinic, Mr Mandavia completed a PhD Fellowship in Therapeutic Implementation at University College London. He recognised that whilst there is a huge drive for development of novel medical treatments and technologies, there is also significant delay in patient access to these innovations. His PhD focuses on how to lessen this gap within healthcare systems.

Mr Mandavia naturally became involved in aesthetics when Dr Lapa started the clinic. “As Tatiana started to become involved in aesthetics, I did too. I was genuinely amazed by the remarkable results of non-surgical procedures and was particularly interested in the complimentary nature of aesthetics to facial plastic surgery,” he explains. As well as working in surgery, research and aesthetics, Mr Mandavia is an expert advisor for the World Health Organization, a consultant to the Lancet Commission, associate surgical specialty lead to the Royal College of Surgeons and a committee member of the European Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery.

Working together with Dr Lapa in their clinic has led to a successful business, Mr Mandavia states, “We work very much as a team. I bring my research, management and surgical skills, whilst Tatiana brings her passion for creativity and innovation. Why would you work with someone else when you can work with your husband/wife – someone you can trust, learn from and who understands your goals?”

As their aesthetic careers developed, both Dr Lapa and Mr Mandavia have become key opinion leaders (KOLs) for various companies. Dr Lapa notes, “We have had some fantastic opportunities in aesthetics. Working with companies such as VIVACY, InMode, Cutera and Syneron Candela has been so rewarding. I’ve always enjoyed working with Stylage dermal fillers and using innovative devices like the Excel V+, Morpheus8, Profound and CO2RE. Recently we’ve had the opportunity to launch the SecretPRO in the UK, a unique platform combining radiofrequency microneedling and fractional CO2 laser.”

“I think the day I decided to venture into aesthetics was a life-changing day! I’m so glad I did it and it’s a career that I love so much and has become a huge part of our lives”

Dr Tatiana Lapa

Mr Mandavia reflects that being a clinic owner has also meant learning about business management and leadership. “Becoming a leader and organising a team is a pivotal part of running a successful aesthetic clinic. Doctors are not typically trained in or exposed to business or financial management. I didn’t even know how to make sense of a financial spreadsheet, let alone develop a business plan, but running a clinic meant I had to rapidly pick up these skills and work outside my comfort zone.”

With aesthetics gaining popularity as a career path, Dr Lapa discusses what helped their clinic to grow. She notes, “If you have a patient whom you’ve cared for, achieved brilliant results and delivered an excellent experience, they are likely to return and refer their friends and family. This will slowly but surely lead to an organic and sustainable growth of your clinic and help you gain a positive reputation.” Going the extra mile for your patients and delivering great patient care is integral for a successful practitioner. Mr Mandavia adds, “I think what separates a good doctor from an outstanding one, is someone who always puts their patients interests at the centre of any management plan and genuinely strives to achieve the best outcomes for their patient.”

Reminiscing about their careers thus far, Mr Mandavia recalls that his proudest moment was marrying Dr Lapa. He notes, “We have wonderful careers, I have a great wife and an amazing son, and another baby on the way! I’m so proud of Tatiana and how she handles having a clinic, whilst being pregnant and having a baby at home. She is amazing!” Dr Tatiana adds, “I think the day I decided to venture into aesthetics was a life-changing day! I’m so glad I did it and it’s a career that I love so much and has become a huge part of our lives. It’s enabled me and Rishi to work together, and I wouldn’t have got this far without him. Another big achievement would be the amount of joy I get from my family – my son and second baby on the way – this is unparalleled by anything else.”

My favourite treatment to perform is…

RM: I would say combined radiofrequency and CO2 lasers.
TL: I guess I would need to say something different, so fillers!

Any industry pet hates…

RM: Aesthetics isn’t as collaborative as other medical specialties. If I have a patient with a complex ENT problem, I can work across specialties and seek help from a colleague, but aesthetics isn’t built like that yet.
TL: People who aren’t even the smallest bit medically qualified can perform injectable procedures. It’s all about the safety of the patient.

Best piece of career advice…

RM: Put your patients first and care about them, you will get good results and your success will follow.
TL: Don’t wing it! If you don’t know something, look it up and research it!

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