Meet Our Surgical Personnel
No plastic surgeon can consistently deliver the best surgical results without the support of a skilled, talented and knowledgeable operating and recovery room team. During surgery, there are several key people present in the operating room. Aside from myself, present are an anesthesiologist, a circulating nurse and a surgical technologist. The circulating nurse (or “circulator”) is an R.N. (Registered Nurse). The circulating nurse is not scrubbed in surgery, however, this person is responsible to make certain that the surgeon, anesthesiologist and surgical technician have everything they require (insturments, supplies, implants, medications, etc) so as to permit the procedure to proceed smoothly. The circulating nurse also maintains a detailed record of the proceedings in the operating room during the surgical procedure.
The surgical technologist is scrubbed (or dressed in sterile gown and gloves) during surgery. This person is my assistant during surgery and is responsible for setting up the table with the surgical instruments, overseeing and maintaining a sterile surgical field (very, very important!), passing and holding instruments and assisting with the application of the surgical dressings. The surgical technologist, or “surgical tech” as we say needs to understand the surgical procedure in great detail and anticipate what the surgeon will need before the surgeon will ask for it. I have worked with both of my surgical techs (Dawn and Patty) since 1997 and they are outstanding! I will also note that at no time does the surgical tech perform any of the surgery nor suture any wounds. That is my responsibility.
After surgery, you will be transported to the next room which is the Post-Anesthesia Care Room, also known as the Recovery Room. It is there that you will be attended to by the Recovery Room nurse. This nurse is an R.N. who is experienced in assisting the patient and monitoring them while they make the transition from just awakening on a stretcher to getting dressed and leaving our facility. The nurse is with you every step of the way and has no other responsibilities other than to take care of you. The recovery nurse will also review all your medications and instructions with your caregiver who will drive you home. Lastly, she will escort you to the car and make sure you are safe for the trip home.
The surgical staff are all very experienced with backgrounds as well as certification in the operating room, recovery room, intensive care units and ambulatory surgery from prestigious local hospitals and ambulatory facilities such as University Medical Center at Stony Brook and the North Shore Surgi-Center.
Arlene Arrigo, R.N., B.S.N. – Head Nurse/Circulating Nurse
My background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Administration from St. John’s University and a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from State University of New York at Stony Brook. Arlene has been an R.N. since 1993 and have worked with me since 1996. Aside from her duties in the operating room, she performs preoperative assessments of our patients by telephone a few days in advance of surgery. This gives you a chance to meet the person who will bring you into the operating room in advance of your surgical day. This is so as to make sure that you are currently in good health for surgery, answer any pending questions you may have, discuss your medications and review your preoperative instructions. Arlene is an excellent circulating nurse and manager. She also has a very calming and caring way of putting you at ease from the moment you enter the operating room until you fall asleep. You just have to experience it! Arlene also provides overnight care to our patients who undergo abdominoplasty procedures. Patients love having her there with them after surgery!
Dawn Porco, C.S.T. – Certified Surgical Technician
I have worked with Dawn since 1996. Dawn is my primary surgical technician and a superb one at that. She maintains intense focus upon the procedure and understands all of them well. She has the unique ability to put the instruments into my hands before I ask for them, so we rarely need to speak much during a procedure. This allows me to maintain maximum focus upon the procedure at hand. One of my mentors used the term “a symphony of hands”; that pretty much describes it! Dawn also is masterful at applying the special waterproof skin sealant that we use for dressings and getting the patient ready to move to recovery.
Loretta Simchowitz, R.N. , C.P.A.N. – Recovery Room
Loretta is a certified Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU or “recovery room”) nurse. Loretta also performs your pre-operative assessment upon arrival. She first entered nursing in 1982. She has worked in several different and challenging areas including the emergency room, neonatal intensive care unit, medical/surgical and recovery room. She is also a certified instructor in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Basic Life Support (BLS). Loretta is an exceptionally knowledgeable nurse with superior judgment and nursing skills. I consider her to be an incredible asset to our organization.
Jennifer Belford, R.N., C.N.O.R. – Recovery Room
Jennifer joined us in 2010. She has an interesting background. Jennifer first entered the medical field as a certified surgical technician (C.S.T.), and then furthered her education by becoming a registered nurse (R.N.). Jennifer is usually working in the recovery room and doing pre-operative assessments, however, because she is skilled in other areas, she can function equally well in the operating room as either my scrub nurse or circulating nurse. She is always smiling and an absolute pleasure to work with. She also has a beautiful singing voice and plays saxaphone and piano!