Getting to Know: Rafael Cypriano

AO CMF faculty member Rafael Cypriano was recently elected on the AO CMF Web Editorial Group, representing Latin America

Where are you now?

I work in two private hospitals in my city. We are responsible for the emergencies and inpatient procedures, mainly facial trauma and maxillofacial infections. We also perform our elective procedures in those hospitals corresponding to orthognathic surgery, TMJ surgery, reconstructions and secondary correction of facial trauma.

I’m also on the AO CMF Web Editorial Group, representing Latin America and reporting to the AO CMF Community Development Commission. My main roles in that position are to increase members' participation in our online activities such as social media and interactive forums and to promote the study clubs in Latin America.

What do these roles mean to you?

For me, both activities are huge responsibilities.  I have a lot of amazing people around me—assistants, residents, students—who, with proper advising and feedback, will develop their abilities and get where they want to be. And in my AO CMF activities, I believe Latin America has a lot to share and add to our global community. We have great surgeons, researchers, faculties and young talents here. What we need is to be in contact with other regions and I believe that these barriers are smaller today due to social media channels. Let’s use them!

What is your educational background?

I graduated in 2001 and finished my residency program in oral and maxillofacial surgery in 2006. In 2009, I had my AO CMF Fellowship at University Hospital Basel. Since then, I’ve been involved with AO educational activities in my country, and in 2015 I started as a regional faculty in Latin America. And this year, I’ll start my PhD.

What inspired you to become a surgeon?

I wanted to help people improve their quality of life. 

What's the best professional advice that anyone ever gave you?

My dad once told me to establish goals in my professional life and that these goals should be written somewhere. And most important, from time to time I should read these goals so I never forget them.

Knowing what you now know after many years of practice, what advice would you give to a young surgeon?

Be patient! The knowledge and technical skills are extremely important but so is experience, and that requires time to achieve and develop. But that is difficult to understand and accept when we are young.

“AO CMF gives us the opportunity of returning to the society what our parents and masters did for us, by providing education to surgeons and students around us. And when we do that, we also become better people.”

What books are on your nightstand?

  • The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder
  • DREAM BIG: How the Brazilian Trio behind 3G Capital – Jorge Paolo Lemann, Marcel Telles, and Beto Sicupira – acquired Anheuser-Busch, Burger King and Heinz by Cristiane Correa
  • Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz

Coffee or tea? Or neither?

 Coffee, definitely—I’m having one right now.

What do you do to relax?

Paddling or taking a walk at the beach.

Name five artists on your iPod or mobile phone.

Pink Floyd, Oasis, Audioslave, Led Zeppelin, The Strokes.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

It is staying constantly updated. The evolution of techniques, instruments, and implants is very fast and we need to be aware of what is going on and always keep studying.

What is most fulfilling to you in your work?

The patient’s satisfaction. There is nothing like that smile.

Tell us about the most important experience in your life as a surgeon.

Without any doubt, my fellowship in 2009 in Basel was the most important experience in my life as a surgeon. The experience of getting in the operating room with highly experienced surgeons you knew only from books and articles is incredible—especially for a young surgeon. It really made me a better surgeon and also a better person.

If you weren't working in the medical field, what would your dream job be?

Probably in something involving economics, finance, and the stock market. I really appreciate this business environment.

Do you have a mantra or a favorite saying?

"No matter who you are or which social status you have, do your job with focus, determination, love, and faith in God, and you will succeed. Believe in it, someway, somehow you will get there!" from the late Brazilian race car champion Ayrton Senna, who was one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time.

Rafael Cypriano, DDS, is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. He is in private practice in Vitória, Brazil. He is the coordinator of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Vitória Apart Hospital and Hospital Santa Rita de Cássia. He is experienced in orthognathic surgery, temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders and surgery and maxillofacial trauma.

He recently was elected as the Latin America representative to the AO CMF Web Editorial Group.