Emmanuel De La Cruz, MD is a nationally recognized top plastic surgeon based in Houston, Texas. He is double board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and by the American Board of Surgery. Dr. De La Cruz received the Grand Master Total Definer “Best B/A High Definition Liposuction” in 2019. He was also selected by Dr. Alfredo Hoyos, the inventor of high-definition liposuction, as an expert panelist in high-definition liposuction. Dr. De La Cruz served as one of the distinguished faculty and lecturers at the American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s The MEETING 2020 and the TD ABS Plastic Surgery Meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.
At the age of fifteen, Dr. De La Cruz entered Texas Tech University, where he majored in Cellular and Molecular Biology and minored in Biochemistry. He was able to successfully balance his educational pursuits with volunteer work at the Texas Mental Health & Retardation Center in Lubbock, Texas, and went on to graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science. Dr. De La Cruz later received his medical doctorate from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, where he was a recipient of the Frank C. Webber Prize for Medical Research. He spent the next several years at Loma Linda University completing a rigorous training course in general surgery. Dr. De La Cruz developed the “Celtic cross technique” for immediate umbilical reconstruction, which was published in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, during his third year as a surgery resident.
Dr. De La Cruz completed an extensive training course in Hand and Microsurgery at Oregon Health Sciences University in the Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He further sharpened his surgical skills during his training, performing over nine hundred procedures, and finished the course with excellent results. He next went to Georgia Health & Sciences University, where he studied reconstructive surgery. While there he refined his techniques in a wide variety of cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries. Dr. De La Cruz served as Chief Surgery Resident in Plastic Surgery, and scored in the 94th percentile nationally on the 2010 Plastic Surgery Inservice Examination. Some of his specialties include Bodytite, Brazilian Butt Lift, 4D VASER high-definition liposuction, facial and body contouring, and other novel procedures.
Dr. De La Cruz is a painter and sculptor, and he puts his artistic skills to great use during cosmetic surgery for his patients. He has worked with Philippe Faraut, the world-renowned French sculptor, to take his advanced body sculpting skills to the next level. He is extremely proud of his professional work and achievements, but what he is most grateful for are the opportunities he has had to help those who need it most. Dr. De La Cruz personally leads volunteer missions annually to help indigent children in the Philippines, where he performs surgeries to correct cleft lips and cleft palates, as well as breast reconstruction for breast cancer patients. His humanitarian efforts have been recognized with many awards, including the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital “Helping Hands Award,” the Global 7 “Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Award,” and the “We Are One” Award given in Stockholm, Sweden. He was also the recipient of a Congressional Recognition by the United States Congress for his humanitarian efforts. His combination of surgical and technical expertise with compassionate care is what makes Dr. De La Cruz one of the nation’s best plastic surgeons.
What’s the name of your company? What exactly does your company do, and how do you help people?
The name of my company is De La Cruz Plastic Surgery. I perform all types of cosmetic surgeries for the face, body, and breasts, as well as high-definition liposuction. I specialize in facial and body contouring, and I make sure to stay up to date with any innovative procedures—such methods as 4D VASER high-definition liposuction, use of Renuvion and J-Plasma, Bodytite, or Brazilian Butt Lift. There is a whole range of surgeries that can make a difference in not just how a person looks but how they feel about themselves. Sometimes, it might be a minor surgery that makes a big impact. That is how I help a lot of my customers, but the success of my business has also allowed me to perform volunteer and charity work for people who wouldn’t be able to afford cosmetic surgery or, in some cases, don’t even have access to the help they need. I mean, for example, providing breast reconstruction for survivors of breast cancer or for women who have undergone a mastectomy. Probably the biggest thing I’ve been able to do to help others has been the volunteer work I do in the Philippines. Every year I travel there and perform surgeries for children with cleft lips or cleft palates. It’s hard to describe the joy that I have felt from being able to give those children the help they need and deserve, and the happy looks they have afterwards.
Why did you become a doctor, and also an entrepreneur?
I always wanted to be a doctor. It gives you a chance to help so many different people and to learn about so many different things. The human body is fascinating. There is no end to the discoveries made each year in medicine—it might be getting a better understanding about the body or developing a new method. It could be any number of things. Also, as a child, I underwent a finger replant surgery. That is something that never leaves you. The change from fear to joy that I experienced made a major imprint on me. Why wouldn’t I want to do the same for others? As for being an entrepreneur, I feel like that was in my genes. I’ve never been satisfied with just doing pretty well or making something just good enough. I’ve always pushed myself to be better, to learn something new, to do more. I couldn’t stretch myself the way I wanted to while working for others. I had to strike out on my own.
Tell us, how do you deal with fear?
First of all, anyone who says they don’t feel fear is being disingenuous, at best. But whatever the thing is that I might be afraid of, the fear of rejection or the fear of not being smart enough, it always seems small when compared to the disgust I have for failure, for giving up. Fortune favors the bold. I know more than anything else that I have the willpower to overcome obstacles. And most of the time that is exactly what it takes to succeed.
Name one of the biggest challenges you have faced, and tell us how you overcame it.
It’s tough to say what has been the biggest challenge. I would say that it is neck-and-neck between starting my own practice and medical school, but probably med school. I was younger then, and everything was new. Every day I was learning something new and at an incredible pace. It could feel overwhelming at times. But I really loved what I was doing and learning, and I always kept in mind what my goals were. There were plenty of occasions when I was exhausted and wondered how I was going to summon the energy to do something, but I never considered quitting to be an option. I think that perseverance is the biggest strength I have in overcoming any challenges I have faced.
What do you see as your greatest success in life, so far?
My biggest success is definitely that I have been able to start my own practice and continue to manage it at a very high level. That has taken a lot of time and effort, as well as a combination of extensive medical knowledge and business acumen. I’ve had to be smart with money management. I’ve had to manage other’s expectations and balance their personal needs with the needs of the business. It has really tapped every skill and resource that I possess, and I’ve been able to make a success of it.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
I wish someone had told me the importance of taking time for myself. I’m a very driven person. I push myself hard. When I was in college, I also spent a lot of time doing volunteer work and helping others. Now that I have my own practice, I continue to do a lot of humanitarian work. But I’ve learned over the years how to be reasonable with myself and make sure I take time to recharge. I had to adjust my thinking and see that if I ran myself ragged or got burned out, I’m actually doing a disservice to my clients and the people I do volunteer work for. When I came to understand that by taking care of myself I’m also taking better care of others, I began to really be cognizant of taking time for myself to make sure I could do my best for the people around me
Tell us, how do you deal with rejection?
The biggest thing for me is knowing that the rejection was not the result of my being unprepared or not being good enough. I make sure that whatever I take on I am giving 100% and that I have done the research and hard work necessary to succeed. If it’s a matter like expanding the business or getting new clients, especially in the early days when rejection was more likely, I knew that rejection is just a part of entrepreneurship. The only time I have been upset with myself is if I felt like I didn’t bring my best to the table.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
My most satisfying moment comes every year when I travel to the Philippines to help people, especially children, who need help the most. Performing surgeries to correct cleft lips and cleft palates, and then seeing the difference it makes for those children and their parents gives me a sense of satisfaction that few other things in life can.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Confidence, humility, and a drive to make myself better. I am confident in my abilities and knowledge because I know that I have applied myself to my education and learning hands-on the techniques that allow me to perform at a high level. But I’m humble when it comes to knowing my limitations. I’m never going to offer a service or give advice in an area that is outside my realm of expertise. I think the combination of being confident in what I am good at and being honest with my patients about my abilities is what really earns their trust. And earning the trust of my patients, letting them see that I truly care, has been key to my success.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I’m excited about the prospects of expanding the practice, perhaps adding another location. I think I have a track record of success and a strong enough foundational business that I would be foolish not to think about expansion. That’s what I’m excited about on the business side of things. Personally, I’m always excited to learn something new. In cosmetic surgery, medicine in general, there are new discoveries all the time. I look forward to the next procedure I can master or the next truly amazing thing about the human body that science is able to explain.