Recognized as one of the world’s most eminent plastic surgeons, Ivo Pitanguy is also one of Brazil’s leading philanthropists. He has gained deep respect for performing reconstructive surgery on the poor, and for his dedication to creating a better life for those who are burned or maimed, or have birth defects.
Educated in Brazil, the U.S. and France, Ivo Pitanguy was a pioneer of plastic surgery in Latin America and has been practising in Rio de Janeiro since the 1950s. “For a patient, even a small physical deformity can create a great human or social loss. My role is to help those who come to me by giving them the hope of having a normal life,” he says.
Dr Pitanguy has published more than 900 scientific papers about plastic surgery and related issues. Concerned with sharing his knowledge and experience, he is the chief professor of the plastic surgery departments of the Carlos Chagas Medical School and of the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. He has taught since 1960, training more than 500 plastic surgeons from 40 different countries. In 1964, he established a plastic surgery study centre that later became the Pitanguy Institute, where more than 60,000 patients have been treated.
An ardent nature-lover, Dr Pitanguy also devotes much of his time to the protection of the environment. In the 1970s, he created an ecological sanctuary on the island of Porcos Grande. He also has a passion for art, and was president of the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro from 1975 to 1985. Professor Pitanguy has received countless distinctions for his work, and was particularly proud in 1999 when his life was made the theme of The Universe of Beauty, a show by Rio’s popular samba school, Caprichosos de Pilares.
Published in 2008