10 Questions: Dr. Ted Calianos
Dr. Ted Calianos, medical director of Cape Cod Healthcare’s Medical Affiliates of Cape Cod, is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Mashpee and is affiliated with Falmouth Hospital. We recently sat down with him to learn more about how he got into plastic surgery, how he starts his day, what he’s most excited about in 2022 and his love for sailing.
1. What was your first interesting job and what was your big takeaway?
When I was in college, I worked as an EMT. Even at that point, I had an interest in medicine. I remember asking my pediatrician, what kind of jobs should I do? Work in a hospital as an orderly? Work in a lab? He said, ‘Why don’t you work as an EMT?’ I was at Boston College and I took a course at Northeastern for my EMT certification. I grew up in Manomet, south of Plymouth. I worked at the fire station for Metro Ambulance and I worked in Boston as well. The takeaway from that was, I think I want to be a physician. It solidified my interest in going further and pursuing medicine.
2. Who inspired you to go into plastic surgery?
When I was in my third year of medical school in Galveston, Texas, during my surgical rotation I rotated on the plastic surgery service that was chaired by a very well-known plastic surgeon—Martin Robson, MD. I was strongly considering a career in cardiac surgery, and subsequent to my rotation in plastic surgery, Dr. Robson called me into his office and asked why I did not want to be a plastic surgeon. I told him that I really did not want to be just a cosmetic surgeon. He said “you rotated on my service, you saw what we did, you can do that in practice if you want.” I have always loved reconstructive and hand surgery. I walked out of his office that day convinced that I could create the career in plastic surgery I wanted. I have never looked back.
3. How do you start your day?
The day starts anywhere between 4:45 and 5 a.m. and usually starts with answering emails. Then I work out on my rowing machine. My kids rowed competitively in high school. They got me into it and it’s a good, low-impact exercise. I watch the news while I row for about a half hour. Depending what’s on the news, I may row faster.
4. What is on the horizon you are most excited about?
Being named president of the Mass Medical Society, which represents 25,000 physicians. Currently I am president-elect. I start my presidential year this coming May. As the public face of the Mass Medical Society, I will be dealing with membership, advocacy issues, legislators, politicians and regulators.
5. What life advice would you give someone?
Work hard, always leave things better than when you arrived, but take time to enjoy life as you work.
6. What should everyone have in their kitchen?
A sharp knife. My pet peeve is when you go to someone’s house and they have dull knives. It’s like cutting with a 2 x 4. Where are the sharp knives?
7. Do you have a favorite TV show you enjoy binge watching?
My wife and I like “Grace and Frankie” (with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin). I think it’s funny and so well written.
8. What are you putting off at the moment?
I do a lot of home projects, so re-decking the back deck and refacing the garage. It’s actually doing it myself and not paying someone to do it. It’s just finding the time. Anytime you take something apart, you find rot behind it. One day, I had the whole section of the garage taken apart. It’s kind of like doing cancer surgery. You cut out the rot, you put back healthy tissue and then put it back together. I have enjoyed doing that stuff ever since I was a kid. I think I might have ended up being a contractor if I didn’t like medicine so much.
9. Name something you can’t do.
I have a terrible fear of heights. So probably climbing up high on ladders. When I go sailing, the idea of getting hoisted up on a bosun’s chair to work on a mast—I probably would die before I could do that.
10. What do you enjoy doing on your days off?
Being on the water is my zen. We had a boat for years. The kids grew up on her. We sold the boat a couple of years ago, but I currently have the next best thing—a brother with a sailboat. We sail around Nantucket and Vineyard Sound. I have also done a lot of racing with him. Before the pandemic, we were racing his boat at the Heineken Regatta in St. Maarten and we won our division. We have participated in the Figawi race numerous times.