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Photo courtesy Dr. Carlos Mata

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On a Mission

From Locally to Globally, Dr. Carlos Mata Makes an Impact

He’s known as “Dr. Scottsdale®,” and his work is viewed around the world—not only because of his impact, but because board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Carlos Mata is also social media famous, with almost 600,000 followers on Instagram alone, which he uses to educate people about the field and procedures.

But while he enjoys providing the services he does through his Natural Results Plastic Surgery practice in Scottsdale—which includes everything from nonsurgical medspa options to traditional plastic surgery procedures such as facial rejuvenation, breast procedures, and body contouring, and he draws patients from all over the United States—he’s not always at that location. Sometimes he’s in Laos, or Ecuador, or Guatemala, or Mexico, or Africa.

His other passion, he explains, is going on medical missions around the world.

Helping Around the World

“When you go on these mission trips, there are people who will walk three or four days to see you,” he says. “Typically, I’ll do burn scars, hand surgery, cleft lips and cleft palates, breast reconstruction from breast cancer, genetic issues—anything I can to help. I pretty much operate from head to toe, which is a lot, but I do whatever I can to the best of my abilities, and if I can’t do something, I’ll tell [the patient] it’s not something I’m comfortable with. But I do try my best to help as much as I can.”

Dr. Mata began doing medical missions when he was still in school. He was in his last year of medical training when a professor asked if anyone wanted to go on a medical mission trip. Others said they couldn’t go—so Dr. Mata said he would.

Once there, he was hooked.

“If I could be on a medical mission trip every other week, I’d go,” Dr. Mata says. “But obviously, my wife and kids and staff wouldn’t like that.”

His wife, Janneth, and his children Jordan, 6, and Jayden, 4, are also the “reasons I bust my butt every day,” he says.

Choosing His Specialty

When Dr. Mata first started medical school, he had thought he wanted to specialize in pediatrics.

Then, “I saw my first lecture about wound healing and it was given by a plastic surgeon, and she showed me the spectrum of what plastic surgery really is,” he shares. “And then I saw a cleft lip.”

While the surgeries he performs during the missions aren’t life or death, they are often life-changing.

“When it’s a cleft lip, you’re fixing their appearance and also their function. They can’t talk, eat, and sometimes can’t breathe right. So, you’re fixing all of these things, but you’re also fixing how they look,” he explains.

To date, Dr. Mata estimates he’s been on about 12 mission trips, returning to some of the locations more than once.

While he doesn’t work with any specific organizations, “people find me,” he says. “I don’t actively look for these [trips], but people find me. My friends know I do this, and if someone asks them and they can’t fill the spot, they refer me, too.”

For Dr. Mata, one of the most interesting aspects of the trips is also the most difficult.

“I think the most unique aspect of mission work is that you have no idea who is going to show up and with what problems,” he says.

And while that’s interesting and keeps him on his toes, it also means that it sometimes requires him to say that he’s unable to help. There are so many people to help and only so many hours, and sometimes he would need the help of another surgeon or specialist in order to perform what he deems as needed.

“Those are the decisions that we have to make. If we have enough time, we try to do everyone, but [sometimes we can’t]. It’s probably one of the hardest things we do as a doctor on these trips,” he says.

Back at Home

Back at home in Scottsdale, Dr. Mata’s practice is thriving. He had moved to the Valley in 2014 and began working in the field, opening his own practice, Natural Results Plastic Surgery, in 2017.

Today, more than 40 to 50 percent of his patients travel to see him from other states, drawn by the results he provides.

“Our job at Natural Results is to help people be their own kind of beautiful,” he explains. “Everyone’s idea of beauty is different. It’s all about what you think, not what your partner thinks, not what society thinks, but what you think will make you feel beautiful for you.”

To that end, Dr. Mata is passionate about connecting with and teaching his patients. His thriving Instagram presence is where he posts information about different procedures, which he says he does in order to truly educate people about the process.

“Whether they pick me or someone else is fine, but at least educate yourself about what you’re walking into,” he urges people considering any procedure.

His guidance and expertise is so popular that Natural Results, which is currently in a 7,000-square-foot building with its own in-house operating suites, is moving into a 17,000-square-foot, two-story location just a few buildings over, at Scottsdale Road and Thompson Peak Parkway. The space is currently being built out, and the move will take place at the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025. Dr. Mata also recently hired another board-certified plastic surgeon—Dr. Martin Benjamin—to join the practice.

When He’s Not at Work or Away

While Dr. Mata is busy with work, mission trips, and his family, he also makes time to head to the gym daily. He’s there every morning between 4:30 and 6:30 a.m., saying that he’d “rather sacrifice some of my sleep than time with my wife and kids or with work.”

As for one thing that patients might be surprised to learn about him?

“I think the thing that surprises most people is that I’m fluent in Spanish and that I was in the military. Yes, I was Major Mata, chief of plastic surgery at Eglin Air Force Base.”

  • Photo courtesy Dr. Carlos Mata
  • Photo courtesy Dr. Carlos Mata
  • Photo courtesy Dr. Carlos Mata
  • Photo courtesy Dr. Carlos Mata
  • Photo courtesy Dr. Carlos Mata
  • Photo courtesy Dr. Carlos Mata