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Ep.57: With Speaker & Author Dino Elyassnia, MD

Ep.57: With Speaker & Author Dino Elyassnia, MD

Earning his medical degree from USC and scoring in the top 1% nationwide, Dino Elyassnia, MD is a fellow of the NY Eye and Ear Infirmary, and surgeon at the world-renowned Marten Clinic in San Francisco, CA. Tune in as Dr. Elyassnia shares his story for success with practical tips you can use in your own practice.

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Beauty and the Biz

Ep.57: With Speaker & Author Dino Elyassnia, MD

Catherine Maley, MBA:  Hello and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we learn the business and marketing side of plastic surgery. I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying, as well as consultant to plastic surgeons to get them more patient and more profit. So, today’s special guest is Dino Elyassnia, I’m going to ask them to pronounce that eventually. Now he’s a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in my neighborhood, San Francisco, and the surrounding Bay Area. And he’s been in practice for over 11 years now. And now Dr. Dino, as his patients called him because you can hear his last name is tough one. He obtained his medical degree at the University of Southern California School of Medicine where he was top 100% of his class and then he scored in the top 100% or 1% nationally. So, he’s a smarty pants. Now he did his training at the University of California, San Francisco, and he did a fellowship at the New York Eye and Ear infirmary. Dr. Dino then joined the Martin clinic, a plastic surgeon and a plastic surgery. And you know, that is Dr. Timothy Martin, who has a very big name in our industry. He’s a world recognized plastic surgeon. Now, Dr. Dino is sought after as a speaker at the national and international plastic surgery meetings on facial rejuvenation, fat grafting. He also does a lot of writing in the medical society books. So, Dr. Dino, welcome to Beauty and the Biz.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Sure. So just tell me. Where did you start? Did you come from New York or San Francisco? Are you East Coast or West Coast?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: West Coast area, south bay. I grew up in San Jose went to high school there. And then from there went off.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Oh, good for you. Most people like to end up in California somehow later. But you came here, you were–

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, I spent. I did do the thing in New York for a year. But other than that, I was always in California. New York was a great experience. I love being there. But ultimately, I wanted to be [inaudible 02:21]

Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay. On that New York? That is different. When you look at the East Coast versus the West Coast? How different is it?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, very different, at least within our– I mean, obviously, there’s so many differences, but plastic surgery world, there’s definitely different styles, and those that you can see, you know, and I think it mirrors the, you know, socially the society as well. Yes, this is an instance.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I do a lot of consulting in New York, and I’m originally from Chicago. So, I have that. Let’s get it done right. Now. Let’s get to the point at the top. And but I also do a lot of consulting in like, let’s say the southern state, and it’s all right, I need to like put a muzzle on me and just feel different. You know, I think human beings are the same. Basically, the same, but I think we all have a different road of getting there. And we all have our nuances. And boy York is a tough crowd.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: It’s a fast paced moving.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah, not right now. But yeah. So, tell me, I love talking about the journey. So how did you end up? Did you wake up one day and say, I want to be a plastic surgeon? Are you one of those people who had three years all day knew what you wanted to do or?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Well, I wanted to be a heart surgeon when I was little. So, I always [inaudible 03:13] surgeon for some reason. Yeah, when you’re young, I don’t think you really know. But so somehow it actually worked out. But yeah, I had some family members that were surgeons and, you know, I wanted to do something really challenging. And you know, I thought that sort of aiming high and then as I kind of went along through med school, I sort of you know, cardio [inaudible] is really hard to buy style, you know, there, it’s hard to ever have a life outside of it. And plastic surgery just really appealed visually to me, I guess I was a little bit more of a that kind of person or a little bit of, you know, artsy side than I thought. And I was just kind of drawn to it once I did rotations and then that was it. So, I mostly started off on the path I always wanted to be on but I’d be a little– which turned out great.

Catherine Maley, MBA: When you graduate, first of all, you’ve only been out 11 years, so maybe it has changed. But while you were in med school, where they also teaching you the business and marketing side of plastic surgery?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: [inaudible 04:43]

Catherine Maley, MBA: Isn’t that insane? Okay, so were you on the side trying to figure out like, what is your plan to enter this marketplace with, you know, 1000s of others?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, I wasn’t, you know, I kind of might Plan was mostly how, you know, what kind of practice do I want. And you know, but somewhere around my fourth or fifth year of residency training, so even in residency training, where you’re really getting trained to go out in the world, you still don’t learn anything about business or marketing. I think some specialties do a better than others, but there’s this sort of feeling within general surgery in plastic surgery, you know, it’s very academic. And the idea is that, if you’re thinking about making money, you’re just somehow, you know, like, not principled enough, or, you know, your core values. So, they kind of almost frown upon, you know, business education in a way, you know, and it’s just not the real world. So, we didn’t learn anything. And, you know, to be honest with you, I, I visited Dr. Martin, and we kind of hit it off a little bit, and he offered me, you know, I was going to do my fellowship in New York, and he said, when you get back, you might want to consider joining us. And, to me, we had nothing to do business, I just, you know, admired him so much. And the office was beautiful. And the practices seem amazingly run. So, it was just like, this gift landed in my lap. And I didn’t really plan much about business, to be honest with you, I just fell into something that was amazing, you know, and I got really lucky.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay, that was a gift, because you know, how big of a deal he was?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: I know. Yeah, I did know, I did. And, yeah, I mean, you know, the business side of things I just kind of learned along the way. You know, over these 10 years, I talked a lot of friends that, you know, they’re building from scratch. And, you know, so I’ve watched a lot of people do it. But from my standpoint, I just had to adapt to this nice culture and business that was already built there. And he ran, he ran and still does run and very, sort of good practice. I think all the way around, you know, the way I would like, to do it myself. So, I’ve just had a can integrate myself. And sort of, again, that just been really lucky to learn from that side of things.

Catherine Maley, MBA: And that’s the pearl, if you if you can hook up with somebody who’s been there, done that, and you can role model, whatever they’ve done, why reinvent that wheel? Yeah, as long as you can, like, park your ego a bit, because you’re not the, you know, you’re not The Lion King now, you’re–

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, that was fine with me, because he was welcoming, he wanted me to succeed. He helped me genuinely, you know, genuinely wanted to see me do well. And how am I So, mean, everything I’ve thought of you since then, you know, that comes to my mind, you know, he’s probably thought of a million times already, you know, 2030 years into it. So, I just, you know, just tried to kind of learn, basically, you know, and that’s it. And, still, to this day, I have much to share, you know, we talked we So, enjoy sort of a camaraderie and, you know, we, we bounce things off each other sort of, in a technical way, because that’s really where we, we enjoy things, you know, the art of surgery, and, you know, the, we both have a very good passion for, technically what we’re doing. And so that that’s been great. But really, from the business side of things, I don’t really think I met him, you know, I just tried to really integrate the general philosophy, you know, of how we do things, which is very sort of patient based, you know, just, you know, be a good role model for the staff, center everything on providing a good experience for patients, and really try to get the staff to buy in, and then, you know, let them do their job. And that’s really what I think I want to think about running a good business. And I think it is sort of sort of having right values and being a good example, you know, to me that quite a bit of work.

Catherine Maley, MBA: When I watch doctors try to work together, I always go back to the books that I used to read in Business School, which was that you’ve got to share the same values as if you’re going to both be leading that team, because if one of you has one set of values, and it comes across in the staff, like what are we doing with, you know, so? I’ll bet you I’ll bet if you actually I dissected it a bit, your values are super similar. Because if it hasn’t been as simple or have there been challenges of working with someone else’s staff, or when there’s often a role.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Not very little, you know, in the beginning very little because I think again, I was welcomed. I felt wanted, you know, I felt wanted, and I felt people were helping me, you know, that they genuinely wanted me to do so even if there were months in the road as long as I felt that energy was there, then I So, didn’t mind, you know, those are easy to manage, you know. So, at the core of it, I felt like I was kind of accepted wanted, and they wanted me to succeed everybody in the office. And again, that all just starts with, with, with him kind of top down, you know, setting that example for everyone. And, and basically, you know, I’ve tried to learn as much as I can from him. So even though maybe some of our values are similar, you know, he’s just a great role model. And I’ve tried to integrate as much as I can from him, and, and kind of like learn a lot of new values. So, it’s been easy to just kind of fall back. And, you know, let him be our leader, because he is a great leader.

Catherine Maley, MBA: By the way, do you have your own operating suite within your building or your practice?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, we do. So, we have– for everything in the office, you know, the clinic side, we have one operating room, which the two of us share. So basically, we’re offering two to three days a week each, and we have the overnight week that patients stay at for, you know, generally for the larger cases, you know, baseless, that sort of thing. And then we’ve been in the process of developing a more extended stay option, which for a lot of times dark man has a lot out of town patients, so have given them a place a very nice kind of curated place to stay for, for a little bit of a longer period of time. And that’s kind of the word. So–

Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, you’re surrounded by five-star hotels, can’t you just set up a system?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: But you know, he’s quite particular in terms of the service he wants to provide. And so, I think it’s great to have it all encompassing, you know, their whole experience.

Catherine Maley, MBA: So, if I have a facelift out will a limo pick me up and take me, whisked me away to the Napa Valley for a five-star resort, is that the kind of thing?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: That could be arranged.

Catherine Maley, MBA: That’s the kind of thing he’s talking about?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: It’s actually just a condo, kind of like an Airbnb.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Gotcha. Yeah, that makes so much more sense. Okay.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yes, very close to the office. So, it’ll allow us to visit them if necessary. And yeah, just kind of like an Airbnb, something a little more likely than this day.

Catherine Maley, MBA: All right, that’s terrific. Now, do you share staff or do you have your own staff? He has his own staff?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, everybody shares. We’ve been that way since So, day one.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Gotcha. Do you have your own coordinator or do you share a coordinator as well?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: We have two coordinators in the office. But one is primarily more mine, but they actually overlap. So, we pretty much share the coordinators as well.

Catherine Maley, MBA: All right. And just out of curiosity, when it comes to lead, new lead coming in, does everybody call and say who they want or if they say, I just want one of them who’s ever–? How does that work out?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, that’s a great question. And generally, people are calling asking for one of us, you know, we’re very separate, you know, I mean, he’s so much further ahead of me in terms of experience. So, he’s got his own routes of kind of marketing, you know, and the way patients come to him, which is almost a lack of marketing. Yeah, very entrenched kind of word of mouth, is really crazy. Whereas, you know, I’m dumb in that sense, at least a little bit more modern in the approach, and I think these avenues create, you know, where the leads come through, basically. So, it occasionally we’ll get a patient that hears about both of us and might come across both of us, and then we’re fine. If they both want to, if they want to consult with both of them, you know, we just sort of let it happen organically. And they choose one or the other, neither of us will mind.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Is there a big price difference between the two of you, so they’re starting on him and working their way down or?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, I mean, we there’s not a huge price difference, but there is, and we’re very open about that, you know, you know, you have you know, and I don’t know how many years difference we are now but you know, 1520 whatever years difference, then, you know, you earned a lot to be able to do that I feel you know, so. Yeah. And that, you know, that pay everybody, every patient is different. They all bring criteria for what they choose. And, you know, that we just have now, you know, from a philosophy standpoint, at least for facial aging surgery, we’re very, very similar because I’m basically have copied him, you know, he’s my teacher, and I pretty much do everything he does. You know, in the again, in the beginning, I just tried to copy I tried to be the best copy I could have been, and now that I’ve sort of gotten to that point, and I’m mostly there, you know, now I can maybe Start to find my own path a little bit. But I didn’t want to try to do that too soon, because you can miss so many things that you can still learn, you know, I’m still learning women so much. But you know, at some point, I’ll have to kind of try to, you know, push things forward from everything that he taught me, you know, so I don’t know if I’m there yet. But for the most part, our products are sort of similar right now. 

Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay. But from a business point of view, it’s really helpful when, like, let’s say your receptionist has this caller, who just got sticker shock, you know, who just hurt to Learn Numbers and got sticker shock, it’s really helpful to say, I could you can hear the patient, the call is going to hang up. And you can really helpful to say, Well, I do have another option for you, as prices, the issue, and then you but you don’t tell you is, Hey Mark, you just say he does have an associate who has 11 years of experience. However, he does have considerably less than pricing, you know, rates, which are interested in that. I like using that because you rather take him on would rather have half of something than zero and 100% at nothing.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, of course, we’d rather keep it in the clinic. And in no way saying it is right. You have to be delicate, how you’re saying it? And obviously know how to do that. But yeah, I mean, that’s it. But you know, Funny enough, it hasn’t been looked at 11 years, I don’t think I can’t think of many patients who basically kind of consulted both then and sort of went my way because of cost. I think when they seek him out, maybe they already know that some degree, generally they go good way, you know. But, yeah, it just doesn’t come up that often.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I just know a lot of consumers that still do not realize how much good plastic surgery can cost. And some of them just are completely ill informed or uninformed, or they’ve been on the wrong website. And on sticker shock can often be a big issue. You know, I’m just always trying to address it. How do we how do we, first of all, how do we not get to that point where they have sticker shock? Like, shouldn’t we have had some discussion before that? And especially in your building? How many plastic surgeons are in your building by the way?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yes. Maybe seven to 10, sometimes a lot. And we’re, you know, not as many dentists but–

Catherine Maley, MBA: My very first client was on the top floor of the penthouse. Isn’t that funny? Yeah. Yeah. And yeah, whatever. That’s a long story. Yeah. But, okay. So, business wise, you’re very happy with your business model? Are you a partner? Are you an associate? Like, is there any plans for you to expand together or?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: You know, we, I guess I’m an associate, technically, we– I don’t even know necessarily how to describe it. I mean, he owns the practice, but we basically share everything I share all the costs. So, I don’t know, we sort of function like, you know, partners, in a way. It’s the same sort of setup we had, when we started, we’ve never really gone back and change it because everything’s been fine, you know. So, you know, we’re not really not really looking to expand so much as I am. I’m looking to ultimately my kind of career goal is at this point; I’ve matured to the point where I really focus on the surgeries that I really love. I really love doing facial aging surgery, and primary rhinoplasty, those are the two things I love. And all I’m really trying to do is keep a steady flow of those patients, so I can do those surgeries. I mean, I really don’t, you know, as long as it might two to three days, three days, three days a week surgery, scheduled school doing those two procedures, and happened, that’s all I want to get to. And I just want to keep doing it better and better, you know, technically do it better, provide a better experience for patients and expose it out to the outer world better. And then, you know, professionally, I do enjoy sort of teaching it and that sort of thing as well. But that’s it. It’s not much growth as it is sort of refinements. You know, that’s kind of how I think of it. So, from a business standpoint, I mean, you can run circles around what I know, I don’t think I can really provide a lot better. But I think at its core, there’s it makes a lot of business sense, because it’s very old school and simple. But if you’re providing a good product and patients feel like they you’re being very straightforward with, you know, what you’re, what you’re marketing to them, what you’re providing to them, how you take care of them, you know, people gloss over that a lot, but that’s, I think, a big chunk of what’s important in what we do so without getting too fancy, I think Like I’m basically being a good businessman, you know what I mean?

Catherine Maley, MBA: Right. And there’s no one way to do it either. Have you looked at your revenues surgical versus non-surgical? Are you involved with a non-surgical or that’s a non-issue for you guys?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Well, initially when I first started, I didn’t have any cases to do, I wanted to do obviously, but I didn’t have much. And Dr. Martin was gracious enough to give me a lot of his injectable patients. So, I started off building an injectable practice. And then slowly as the surgery practice grew, I started trying to transfer those patients to our nurse injector. And you know, she and she’s been great, she’s built up a nice practice. And we haven’t aggressively built that. And maybe that’s an area, it would be nice to grow a little bit because it doesn’t require, you know, it’s just taking care of our own patients, basically. But it’s been a little tricky right now, she’s been on maternity leave, you know, COVID is kind of happened. And so, we’ve been on the injectable side, but it’s suffering a little bit. But yeah, that is something we want to build up at least, you know, we have the infrastructure for it. And we have Myspace, and we have kind of a patient volume. So, from a business side, that’s sort of easy to build, and it’s kind of we want to take care of our patients. But yeah, that that could be helped a little bit. Especially we do a lot of facial surgery. So, we can definitely integrate kind of facial, you know, non-surgical a little better. That is an area of growth. But again, I’m not looking to expand it so much that, you know, you open up another office and you know, it’s a more limited extension, I guess.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Speaking of nonsurgical How do you as a surgeon because you want to do surgery. And you know, the patients nowadays, they’ve heard Oh, I can just fill this up. I just need some filler and they don’t even know like; how do you present filler versus fat grafting versus facelifts? Like that becomes a very long discussion. And it gets complicated for the woman who’s trying to figure out– first of all, you insulted her. She’s like, I don’t need a facelift. I just need a little– because I get that woman. But how do you have that conversation in a reasonable amount of time?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: In brief, yeah, I kind of like to summarize it in a few ways. To make it simple. I basically like to tell patients, you know, in the upper two thirds of the face, you can get away. So, I’d like to talk about its location wise and age wise, sort of two ways to mention the upper two thirds of the face, you can get away with injectables for a long time, and maybe even kind of permanently if you really wanted to, you know, now maybe eventually, you might need something for the eyes. But I think in the midface, and around the eyes volume is the big issue. So, adding volume, which you can do with fillers, and you’ll get a great result. And you might not need a lot more than that, as you get to kind of the jawline, neck area, at some point, if there’s enough laxity, and fillers can get you there a little bit maybe in the 30s and 40s. But definitely by mid 40s. And up. You know, once you have laxity, the only solution is surgery. And I think there’s a lot of effort that is put by some of the non-surgical people to push the limits of things like lasers and Altera and thermography. And I my personal belief is those just don’t work at all. And they actually make surgery more difficult for me, they cause more damage. Yeah, so once people are to the point where they want to do sort of some more classic lifting type things. And then I think backtracking is a better option. Because if you’re in the operating room and the problems with packrafting are that it has more recovery time, and you got to do an offer, right. And so, if you’re gonna be backing onto a surgical list, and now the downsides are gone, right now you get the upside, which is longevity, right last longer than fillers. And that is cheap, right, you don’t have to pay out again, you know, $500 a syringe, you just pay a basic kind of surgeon scene, which I promise is a lot less than what you know, these large companies charge and are you can piggyback it onto the facelift. And we can be more comprehensive, you know, we have a very good understanding of all the little areas that need a little volume. It’s very, very nuanced how to really shape a face well, and it’s hard to do it one sitting with filler, you know, just a lot. So, to be able to, we have one opportunity in surgery to do with that. And so, we try that and it really may take the faceless to another level.

Catherine Maley, MBA: And would you say when you explain it like that to most people, I’ll just say women, do most women agree? Do they go for it?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, with fat grafting? Sure. I mean, just about probably 90 plus percent of the faceless I do I’m doing with backtracking because I can kind of, I can make them see the logic in it, you know. But the other way that I’ll talk about fat versus filler is just an age thing. I say when you’re in your you know, maybe 20s but kind of 30s and 40s I think you need less volume and you may not be ready for surgery. So, filler makes a lot of sense. But once you kind of get into the facelift age group, and you’re kind of 50 and above, classically, you know, then fat grafting. That’s to me the simplest way to put it.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I hear you, yes, I’ve experienced all of that. That’s fantastic. I highly recommend it. So, we’re gonna switch gears and talk about marketing. Because the craziest thing about Tim Martin is you can’t find him anywhere. And I’ve known him for decades, and I think it’s hot. Where’s this website? And then someone said, No, he doesn’t have a website? And I said, He’s talking about how do you not have a website? Like, I’ve never heard of anything like that. And I ran into max in Switzerland? And I said, Where’s your website? And it drove from was there and she said, she doesn’t have one, I think, what’s up? So, I assume you have a beautiful website? What’s up, do you market yourself separately or–?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, he might be the last plastic surgeon on earth. It’s kind of a cool– you know I wish I could say that. I mean, yeah, he’s just so focused on this kind of old school mentality of just do a fantastic job, take care of patients, you know, he teaches a lot, he gets a lot of patients, that means just built such a word-of-mouth kind of practice, that he just doesn’t really, really needed anymore. Now, I do think that you still, I mean, I think he probably I don’t want to speak for him, but he probably would like to have those things. I don’t think he’s purposely trying not to do it. But you know, at some point, it just doesn’t have the same sort of, kind of draw it and do it as you if you were a young surgeon, you know, he obviously is, I clearly needed to do a lot of marketing, you know, so yeah, I mean, I started with a website, and then the next phase in my kind of marketing plan was trying to get good reviews, I think I sort of felt, you know, 10 years ago, that was like the key thing to do. And initially, I think my practice was helped a lot through Yelp. And that built me up initially, you know, nice website, Yelp. And then, you know, again, I was going to ultimately rely on I want to provide as the best product, I can, you know, I don’t want to overstate or understate that. My goal was always How do I learn to do this operation better. That was, that’s my number one form of work. And I really, that’s underneath it all, you know, I feel like marketing now word-of-mouth that I’ve gotten, you know, I’ve spent really, kind of 10 years really focused on honing surgery. And I still do, that’s my joy, you know, that’s what I enjoy doing. So that’s what I’m going to focus on. But now that I’ve done that, I feel like it’s gotten a little more fun to market because I can sort of now kind of like, show it a little bit.

Catherine Maley, MBA: [inaudible 27:51] before and after photos. By the way, if the medical meetings I’ve seen you speak and your photos are killer, and it shows that you have gone the extra mile, you didn’t just learn how to do a facelift, you learn how to do like precision, and, like the nuances to it.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, that’s what’s fun for me, you know, again, like you said, there’s a million ways to do it, there’s a million ways to be successful. And for me, it was about I, you know, I love obsessing over the little nuances of surgery and learning it, that’s what’s joyful for me. So, it turns out, that also works well for marketing. But if you just do it silently, you know, you’re never going to get your name out there. So initially, I thought reviews was the way to do it. And that helped a lot. And you don’t have to do a lot of work for reviews, all you got to do is ask a happy patient, you know, you know, just suggest, hey, if you if you really like what we did, feel free to review our blog and do it without you even you know, saying anything–

Catherine Maley, MBA: But you’re not afraid to ask them for a review?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with that a patient isn’t happy, some of them just want to know how they can support you. You know, and so it’s just about, it’s not about being very aggressive with it. You know, it’s just, you get a sense, they want to help you as well, they’re grateful, you know, so, but I get that energy, and it from a patience and attention. You know, this is a great way to support us.

Catherine Maley, MBA: They do it a lot more often when you ask them [inaudible 29:13], oftentimes the doctors are shy about it.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah. And I and I’m not afraid to tell them, you know, hey, please mention if there’s something I’m specifically doing, and I want them to talk about it, I try to be very forward and say, you know, share anything, you know, even if it’s kind of a little negative or something you didn’t expect to share that I think an honest experience is good. And describe the procedures Do you know, say the names of the procedures and so because there are, there are routes to educating other patients in a way, the way we do things and what to expect. I think it helps the overall sort of patient experience as well for the next patient. They kind of come into the free you know, educated you know, programmed about what’s the best. So, it’s kind of a big circle that is all helping you know each other in a way.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I think the two top things you can do in today’s world are the reviews, and killer before and after photos. Some surgeons still think they don’t need to put their photos online, they and they insist on saying, Oh, no, my patients are very private about that. And you have that closed minded attitude, yes, your patients are going to be resistant, but you, you can’t say that. And then I go on somebody else’s website or work with them, they have hundred percent of facials, or facials are 100%.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: 100%. Yes. Now, tell you that I think where that has really now gone to in another direction. And so, to me, I started to see the marketing and the kind of, you know, the funds the Foundation, which I described, and then kind of reviews. But now I feel like the next step of that, and it kind of goes with the foreign actors you’re talking about is social media, you know, I was a little slow to kind of really catch on to it. And then but now I realized that they take it even beyond before and after’s and I think videos, you know, just posting lots of videos showing both before and after’s and showing patients kind of reactions, all these things and showing our discussion that you know, anything that you can get on video that’s organic, to me is really the next level of marketing, because again, it just gets back to exposure of what’s really happened. And that’s, I think, what patients really want to know. And we can show that in video far better than just a data before and after photos.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Do you have a staff person following you around with an iPad or an iPhone, or you’re doing your own or how you making that content–?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, it’s really hard because I had a very hard time getting around to something that is intruding on my very private patient surgeon interaction, you know, it took me a long time to be able to integrate that because I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to have the patient to feel like I was just trying to like take advantage of it. You know, it just it didn’t feel right at first. But I’ve done it my own way, which is basically the model for me has been rhinoplasty for the facelift patients, a lot of them just aren’t ready for that yet. So, I really haven’t tried to do too much with that. But for the rhinoplasty patients, you know, they’re mostly millennials, they’re in their teens and 20s and 30s. They’re much more comfortable being videoed, you know. And so, their comfort has made me more comfortable. And so, what I try to do is add a set of videos that I tried to take the morning of surgery, and I do I do that routinely. It’s now just part of my routine before and after photo now just the before and after video process. And then afterwards, if they’re really happy, if I have a you know, good result that I or there’s a lesson there that I want to eat, if I might, a patient who I know is very gregarious and outgoing and they’re happy to be on camera. And I’ll just shoot a little video with them in the same pattern that I took preoperatively if they want to say something, I’ll let them do that. And so, because I’m archiving all the pre op videos, and you know, now I’ll just take all that and I’ll put it into like a nicely curated video that tries to show different things. If you’ve looked at our Instagram, we’re really trying to do that more and more. So, to me, that has made a huge difference. In sort of marketing, I went from doing, I really narrowed my practice, because I have the ability, social media has given me to do that. I’ve done it in a very fast amount of time. Because I’ve been able to really brand myself through Instagram.

Catherine Maley, MBA: And they know this guy?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: As an honest person, you know, because people click on Instagram and all they see his noses and you know, some facelift before and after’s for the most part. So that right away, you know, you there’s a brand now, this person does these procedures, right? So, it just shows who you are, or at least even who you want to be.

Catherine Maley, MBA: And you scout out the influencers? Is that part of what you’re doing? I know a surgeon who actually has it on his patient intake form. How many followers do you have? Like do you take that into consideration if he’s going to work with them or not?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Well, not really. I haven’t I’ve only really, I’ve really not worked with any influencers. One which just kind of happened organically. There’s a I did a rhinoplasty on a talk radio show post. Which was awesome. I mean, also Apple TV. Yeah, marine radio. Yeah. She talks about it a lot. They brought me on the on the on the radio to talk about it was it was a lot of fun. And it turned out well and I still get referrals from within that area and many what really, is it with it 94 nine while 94 nine and the Lena from the morning. Yeah, they were really nice. And they really, they didn’t have to sort of bring me on the radio several times. And they said a lot of nice things about me. So that was very nice.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay, nice. How much time do you think you’re spending on social media? Is it a per day kind of thing?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, the funny thing is, as much as I think it’s great for business, I actually try not to be on there too much. Because I don’t know how great it is, for us, you know, just personally. But what I do is I try to capture all the content. And again, once I integrate a couple videos that I think will make for a good, you know, collage video before and after kind of thing. And I like to just forward that information to my marketing company. And then No, they have a videographer that puts it all together. And just kind of directing it, you know, I’m giving them a bit of a vision. And I just let them kind of run with it.

Catherine Maley, MBA: And then who answers the DM?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Well, the social media person from our company, Melissa, she does some of it, I use some of it. Yeah, it’s not so overbearing, that I can’t get through them all, you know, generally, I’ll just want– they’re interested in a consult or something like that. And I forwarded. That mostly just [inaudible 36:39] to the right person.

Catherine Maley, MBA: And have you figured out how to track the monetization of it?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: No. Yeah, I mean, I work a little bit more on just my feeling, you know, what would my feeling be as a consumer? I’m not that technical into these things, I don’t track numbers, I never really have. Like I said, my goal is, I’m trying to think about it as organically as possible, which is I want to do good surgery, and I just want to show that put that surgery somewhere, you know, people can see it, and let things sort of at all, as they will, you know, I feel like, that’s where most of you know, I only have so much energy in a day, right. And I feel like if I just focus that energy and need couple of arenas, and then of course, I’m I could be much better on the business side of things. But at least that’s what I enjoy. If I focus on that, and I feel like, I’ll get dizzy enough, you know, the end of the day, the goal is just to build the surgery schedule, that’s all I want to do. So, if this accomplishes that, and I don’t really need to worry too much about the numbers, you know, it might go against all the principles that you teach, and use, like I said, you know, 100 times more about it than I do. But it kind of gets me enough, you know, patients basically.

Catherine Maley, MBA: And well, you have to look at who you are, and your marketing channels, and which ones work for you and which ones don’t. And I’m a big firm believer in look at your numbers. And most of you, I think what’s happened is that if somebody shows up and really pushes you, you buy the ad, or you buy their radios that time, or you do it, but if it’s a person is doing that, it’s a proactive kind of thing. Otherwise, a lot of you will just be like, give all your money to the PPC guy, you know, the internet guy, or they are the person said, Okay, do this. And okay, I’ll do that. As long as you’re tracking the numbers to that, I’m all about that. Because too many of you have put your money in so many different baskets, but only two of them are working. So why we say take it out the other baskets, put it in these two and stay there until it doesn’t work and then come up with another point.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: So yeah, so if you get to get a little bit more details, I basically I have one marketing company that does– studio three, and yeah, I’ve had a great experience with them. Does anybody use them? And they it’s do SEO and social media for me. So basically, that online marketing, I don’t know, you could probably educate me about SEO, I, again, I get a sense that it still drives, you know, just being ranked high on Google for keywords seems to make sense to me. And you know, still, I don’t know how much it does. Maybe you can tell me a little bit. But the part that I feel like is ultimately long term more powerful is the social part. So that’s where I’m investing my personal energy. But again, I also enjoy it I like seeing videos, you know, showing off to work in a school way makes me happy, you know, so that’s where I’m trying to focus on.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I will say my only two cents for you the position you guys are in. You have it’s a beautiful database of patients who love you. And I just hope you’re keeping in touch with them and honoring their loyalty and taking care of them. Because it was, I don’t think you have to do any more marketing, if you’re taking good care of your internal list, you know?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I mean, you guys have done the hard part.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah. What are your thoughts on SEO? What are your thoughts on SEO? Like, what’s the current state of SEO?

Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, you know, how you attend, although I attend all the marketing stuff. And it’s always SEO is dead SEO instead. And the point being, it is getting more difficult for a patient or a consumer to get online and safe. And they don’t say Rhino, they say like no surgeon or a nose job, a nose job pricing, you know, so you have to figure out what those keywords are. And guess when you figure it out all the algorithms change. But I do think your name has to be found you. I mean, I hope to God when you guys get except for your name. Your name is too difficult. I love that you call yourself Dr. Dino. I hope you have like, I hope you have an SEO search term for that, like Dr. Dino in San Francisco. I always find it like a like a patient does. You know like, Okay, wait, my girlfriend mentioned Dr. Dino. And then I would go online and say, oh, Dr. Dino San Francisco, and I’m hoping with this.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Oh, my website is dinomd–that may come up easier.

Catherine Maley, MBA: For sure. Yeah, I must say, it’s getting more difficult for them to find you organically from the website, because you’re, you know, you’re competing with a staff and all those guys, but um, but I do think you have to be there somehow, someway. Um, but a lot of times, it’s going to be through Google, like Google reviews, or what? Whatever Google, quite frankly, Google owns the world. So, whatever they say goes right now for the near foreseeable future. So, if they think reviews are important, get Google reviews, from Yelp, get Google reviews.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: I get the sense patients use all these avenues to make their decisions, they probably look at each one before they ultimately make a decision. So, I think you need a little bit of presence, at least on some of the bigger platforms, you know, like, anything like what? Well, just like search wise, you kind of come up and you know, you had websites, they just kind of resonates with them a little bit, they go Yelp and all there’s some reviews and they search you on like Facebook or Instagram and your presence there just kind of like legitimizes you, I guess, you know–

Catherine Maley, MBA: For sure. I would say the majority of patients are, are they say they heard about you on let’s say social, they went to your Instagram, but what happened was the girlfriend mentioned you or they were on Instagram, and something happened and caught your eye. And then they went to your website. And now they say they heard from you from the internet. And that’s not. So, it’s really difficult to track nowadays. And that’s why you’re trying to be everywhere doing everything, I have a video called the content creation machine. And it’s done. It’s all about cross, cross referencing everything. So, when you have a piece of video and get it on everything humanly possible. So, um, to wrap things up, what’s one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made and what did you learn from it?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Well, we’re talking about professionally?

Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: I would probably say that I was kind of late to really embrace social media, you know, I was kind of humming along with just sort of views and thinking about the work and I saw a lot of my friends really get aggressive on social media. And I thought it was sort of silly at the time, you know, and now I kind of feel like, there’s more advantages than just the marketing side. It’s interesting to me that in, you know, during, during COVID, I did a lot of virtual consult. And seemed like a lot of the patients that I started, and this happens more and more to me that I started to get a sense that, you know, in the old day’s consults for me in old days, I just mean, like, you know, five, six years ago, they were there, like really tiny, trying to get to know me. And I feel like now through social media, they almost already have determined they want to choose me, and they’re there more as a formality. They just want to sort of, like you’re my voice, you know, just make it make some kind of connection, make sure I’m not like a crazy person. And, you know, get some details of the questions they want to answer, but they almost seem sort of pre-selected in a way. And it’s really taught me that the more we are really open about every step of things, and show that all on Instagram, they comb through it, they comb through all these videos and pre-selected they’re kind of like they have all their questions answered, you know, the end of the day, people want to just know what kind of results they can get, get all their questions answered and sort of move forward. And, and it seems like we can do a lot of that process just online, you know, as part of the search process. The education just goes with it, you know, and so that makes our job a lot easier. So, there’s all these other benefits of social media and all that, but I really didn’t fully understand, you know, why couldn’t you just do that on your website, but it’s actually easier to do it through Instagram, you know, updating a website isn’t as easy as just kind of continually posting every day. You know, so it seems like a more dynamic version of, of our content, you know, more of an easier version. So, it took me a little while to really understand that, and now I’m an all aboard it. But, you know, everyone else got it before I did.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Well, the consumers are going to demand it because nowadays, you don’t get to be on a pedestal, they want to know you as a person. And they want to trust that you’re who you say you’re going to you are, and you just know so much more personality in videos and Instagram, you did the fewest posts with your wife. And that is so endearing, did you get a ton of response from that?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah.

Catherine Maley, MBA: We women, that’s what we want. We want a man that says, Oh, my God, my life, you know, that kind of thing. It’s just so good for you that that had to pump you up if you–

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Is the truth, but I struggle with, with that, trying to get too personal. I almost like I don’t, I don’t know, I’m still trying to figure out where that line is, for me personally. You know, I know patients want to get to know us. And I probably should kind of post more videos of just maybe discussing things so they can get to know me better. And it took me a while to get to that point. And I’m not, I’m I don’t know, you want to put a really good. Like, the videos for me are very carefully created. And it takes a lot of energy for me maybe to do that. Also, personally, you know, to personally put videos out there, and I might be a little too. I don’t know, I just want that carefully crafted as well. And I don’t think you really need to, you can just be kind of not So, be so polished and just put it out there and it worked fine. But it’s something I’m learning, you know, maybe I’ll go more in that direction. But I don’t know, I still rather keep it professional, you know, than to get personal. Because I don’t know how much that really helps people really understand what we’re providing, you know, I think some people go way far in the wrong direction in terms of just, you know, it has any do a surgery or anything anymore, you know, and they just want to be Instagram famous.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Right? But women love to know, like, if you’re a runner and they’re a runner, it’s a great bonding experience. If you love dogs, oh my god, I love dogs. It’s a very bonding thing. So, I would get some of that. I probably would stay away from politics at this point. It’s just too hot of a topic, you know. But I do know the consumer is looking to bond with you and find pieces that we shall sell that they’ll send it to you to when she meets you. She’ll say like if you had a dog, oh my god, I loved your dog, you know, and

Dino Elyassnia, MD: That’s something I could be better at, for sure.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Do you have a dog?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: I do, yeah.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Oh my god, bring him out or bring him or her. They’d love that, I love that.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Part of it is also my personality. I’m lightly more of a kind of introverted person and somebody that shows a little too. So, in some ways, I’m showing my personality a little bit by not showing it much.

Catherine Maley, MBA: The last question, as long as we’re on that topic. What’s something that we do not know about you that’s pretty darn interesting?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: I don’t know I, you know, as again, as I’ve matured a little bit in practice, I’ve finally been able to think like, what am I you know, what kind of hobbies I want to develop? I don’t really have that many. Last year I started. I always wanted to play the guitar. So, I started taking guitar lessons. And I did it for like six months, I was really into it. And then I don’t know what happened. I just kind of put it down for a while. I’d love to pick it back up again. But I don’t know how much energy I had to do it. And I started meditating recently, a lot for last year, and probably every morning for 10 minutes. Now, I’ve been doing it for a few months, kind of consistently. It’s like the first thing I do every morning, it’s madidate.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Good for you. I did the same thing for me to sit still for 10 minutes was an act of God. But I have been much better at it. I do it twice a day, you know, the 10 minutes. I tried to 20 at a time I’m sorry, I just I’m too darn hyper I can’t but it has been the best thing, especially when the world feels like it’s coming to an end. You better get into yourself; you better settle down and figure out who you are.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: I think it’s the best, I mean for 10 minutes, it’s like really so valuable by the highest yield thing I think anybody can do. Well, how do you do it? Do you use an app or–?

Catherine Maley, MBA: I use headspace. But the problem with headspace app, the guy talks all the time, he talks too much. My whole problem is I need to stop thinking and talking. And I just need to sit still. So, I just did very quietly. And I just listened to my breath. And I, and I just tilt for everything.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: I don’t think there’s a wrong, you know, I mean, I guess there’s somewhat of a wrong way. But there’s so many ways to do it. And yeah, I use this app called waking up. Have you heard of it?

Catherine Maley, MBA: No.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yes. It’s this guy, Sam Harris. He’s a well known–

Catherine Maley, MBA: I love Sam Harris

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, he’s a–

Catherine Maley, MBA: Have you listened to him about–? Have you heard his philosophy on things? He’s a– I mean when you think that about the way he thinks that we’re not actually in charge of any of this. And I think, Oh, dear god, you’re messing with my head now. So, I’m not sure exactly what he’s up to. But very interesting.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah, I really like that. You know, what’s cool about me sort of a scientist, really kind of melding the two sort of Eastern s worlds with f9 release date. So yeah, that whole kind of areas sort of my fascination.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I thought it was the only one like going guru, like, poufy, you know, like, I live in Northern California. And I keep thinking, well, the more I live here, the more I go inward and tighten all this out.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: I think northern– kind of the North Northern California thing away, which I’m sort of proud of, you know, there’s a lot of people.

Catherine Maley, MBA: All right, how can they learn more about you? If anyone wanted to get a hold of you? I know your website is, are all of your Instagram and Facebook all of that?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: Yeah. Our Instagram is drdinoelyassnia and then my full name. I think Facebook is Dino MD. I respond to all the direct messaging on the DMS on Instagram. So that doesn’t always– my website is just dino@, my email is just dino@

Catherine Maley, MBA: How do you say your last name?

Dino Elyassnia, MD: E L Y A S S N I A

Catherine Maley, MBA: Oh, dear lord, okay.  All right. Well, thank you so much for being on Beauty and the Biz.

Dino Elyassnia, MD: It’s my pleasure.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I really appreciate. Thank you. So, everybody got a lot out of this. Would you please go to Beauty and the Biz and subscribe? And we’d love a five-star review if you feel so inclined. And then if you’ve got any questions or feedback for me, please hit me up at my website is And then you can always find me on Instagram like everybody else, and I’m at catherinemaleymba. Thanks so much.

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Catherine Maley

Catherine is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on practice building, marketing and the business side of plastic surgery. Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying View Author Profile.


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