They Want What Stephane’s Got
Profile of the South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery
A large and growing number of local gay men and women boldly park their cars in front of the South Florida Center For Cosmetic Surgery, next to Fort Lauderdale’s Galleria mall. They come for the regular acquisition of the services and products of Stephane Merot who directs the “Medical Spa” at the center. They approach his door without hiding behind dark glasses or under big hats, and they leave injected, peeled, lasered, exfoliated, contoured, refreshed and damn proud of it.
In the comfort of the spacious waiting rooms of the spa, the happy-faced clients are representative of a broad demographic that excludes only that shrinking sector of those who claim they would never have any “work” done. The facilities are polished, clean, modern, welcoming and assuring. Merot’s appearance matches these surroundings, and would easily relax a nervous first-timer. He is fresh-faced and luminous, and he laughed while gladly admitting that he does make use of his own procedures. He is 36-years-old and of the “Don’t wait till it’s too late” school of treatment.
Merot has been the director of the spa for one year.
He was born in Paris, and grew up in the Ivory Coast where his family was in the pharmacy business.
“The Ivory Coast, which is in turmoil right now, was a beautiful country to grow up in. I lived there till I was 16, and then went to boarding school in Paris and then came to the USA for training in International Studies and Spanish. When I came to Florida, I got into this business. I have always been attracted to making people look better. Before this, I ran three medical spas.”
Merot has always been in the management part of the cosmetic procedure business, and does not actually perform the procedures the clients receive, but he is meticulous in his oversight of all work performed, and in his concern for safety and for client satisfaction. “Our employees are skilled in all the newest techniques involving injectables and lasers.”
Sun damaged skin is obviously an important issue in South Florida. The center offers a number of different treatments and Merot who is pale rather than tan echoes the common warnings about the effects of too much sun. “It’s all about not waiting to take good care of your skin. There is a limited amount of reversal that is possible when sun damage is extreme.”
Merot described his typical client. “Anybody from age 20 to 80. We are getting more and more men, and we have obviously a large gay clientele. The center has been open for about 15 years, and has two operation rooms. All the surgeries are performed here, on these premises”.
The doctors on the surgical side of the center handle a variety of cosmetic procedures, including face and eye rejuvenation; breast enlargement, reduction and lifting; tummy tuck; liposculpture; nose refinement; lip enlargement; chest muscle enhancement for men; and arm and leg tightening procedures for weight-loss patients. Laser treatments and injectables constitute most of the business of the spa. Merot says that because theirs is a high volume business, the center is able to maintain attractive prices. “This is not the kind of place where insurance covers the process, so we have to be affordable.”
Merot sees an increase in the number of requests for procedures that are either minimally invasive or entirely non-invasive, and which require little to no recovery time. He opened the door to the room containing the spa’s new and gleaming Zerona machine that slims the body with no invasive surgery, allowing patients to continue their daily routines uninterrupted by pain, wounds or special garments. Zerona uses a scanner that emulsifies adipose tissue. It emits five cold diode laser beams targeted at the area of concern. The excess fat is flushed from the body through its normal detoxification.
“Our most popular procedures are our facial injectables which are lasting longer and longer. We have some that are semi-permanent and will last for three to five years. Our faces continually change, so a permanent treatment is not always a good idea. With new clients, I try to understand why they are concerned with certain features. I start gradually with temporary stuff to see how it works on them. People sometimes want things that are not right for them. You have to educate them.”
Merot started receiving botox shots when he was 24, and explains that botox will not just calm a furrowed brow, but will prevent the formation of wrinkles. Upon demand, he was able to make the full compendium of expected facial expressions, with his skin returning to smooth and pacific repose after each execution. “We also offer a ‘liquid facelift’ for those who don’t want to go under the knife. It is a combination of injectable fillers, botox and laser.”
Merot feels that the services offered at the center are neither extraordinary nor out of reach for most people. “In the world we live in now, getting a laser treatment or botox is as easy as going to the grocery store. Go for it. Life is short. Take advantage.”
The South Florida Center For Cosmetic Surgery is located at 915 Middle River Drive in Fort Lauderdale and at 9000 NE 2nd Ave in North Miami. Visit FloridaCenter.com or call 954 565-7575.