VES Member Spotlight: Dr. Felipe Lillo-Araya

felipe lillo

Felipe Lillo was born in Santiago de Chile in 1983 and is the second veterinarian in his family after his brother.

Graduated from Santo Tomás University in 2007, Dr. Lillo expanded his studies by getting an Intensive Care Medicine Diplomate from Catholic University of Chile and, finally, the degree of Doctor in Veterinary Medicine (Ph.D.) from the Andrés Bello University.

Since his graduation, Dr. Lillo’s practice took place in different renowned veterinary centers in Chile and Argentina as a competent veterinarian in the areas of surgery, neurosurgery, and intensive care medicine. 

In 2011 took a position as a regular professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine of the Andres Bello University, in which served as academic coordinator of the veterinary surgery service. It helped to form and develop the first minimally invasive surgery unit of the country, a service that has positioned itself prominently at the national and international level. His contributions in surgical innovation and research in other disciplines, such as intensive medicine, have led him to be recognized among his peers in various instances of scientific dissemination in Chile and other countries. He’s an associate of the Latin American Endoscopy Society (SLEV) where receives the honor of been designated as Vice-president and a member of the scientific committee.

During his stay at the university, he has also directed other postgraduate programs, among which the Diploma in Laparoscopy and Veterinary Thoracoscopy stands out. Dr. Lillo has also participated in the creation and implementation of various teaching-learning strategies in clinical and surgical settings.

Now is the head of Veterinary Medicine studies in the Viña del Mar campus of Andres Bello University.

Tell us about your current role (ie. Practice type, position, professional and research focuses?)

At this moment I am the director of Veterinary Medicine in Viña del Mar campus. Andrés Bello School of Veterinary Medicine has a presence in the three major cities of the country, Santiago (capital), Viña del Mar, and Concepción. I am responsible for the undergraduate program, research, services, and extension in my city. Besides these responsibilities, all my clinical practice is concentrated in the university’s veterinary hospital network, constantly linked to the students’ learning process. My clinical focus is to provide therapeutic alternatives to patients with complex health problems, causing the least possible morbidity, for that reason I started my path in minimally invasive surgery.

My predominant area of interest in science is translational medicine research, mainly related to critical care medicine in topics as ventilation-induced lung injury and hemodynamics. I´m trying to improve my clinical research associated with MIS through new and exciting projects.

How do you incorporate MIS into your surgery clinic?

I have the strong opinion that minimal invasion should become the standard of care in many of the surgical procedures we perform. I try to think of minimally invasive approaches first to cause less harm to my patients whenever possible. Furthermore, our service has become a referral center for colleagues and owners who seek a minimally invasive solution for their patients.

What excites you about MIS? (or tell us about a MIS success story)

So many things! The positive impact on the surgical outcome of our patients; the ability to involve everyone in the surgical suite in what’s going on with the procedure, especially students; the possibility of review every procedure many times as necessary to learn about our mistakes. And, I must say, I love the challenge of performing difficult procedures to help a patient who has just a few therapeutic alternatives eluding any pain and discomfort or the huge damage (in comparison) of the traditional approaches cause in some complicated cases.

Why do you love being a VES member?

I joined VES in 2016, at the time a was amaze by the opportunity to listen, and eventually discuss, with colleagues and professors with great experience and scientific knowledge. I remember being so excited by the format of the meeting, just sharing new experiences and research, expanding the edge of knowledge of the discipline in a so collaborative environment. The best part is, a couple of years after, I still amazed by the more and more surgeons from all over the world I have the pleasure to meet and learn year after year. Still want to see what is new in veterinary minimally invasive surgery and get feedback about our work.

Where would you like to see veterinary MIS go in the future?

I really hope the MIS expands through veterinary medicine transforming from the once “crazy way to do some surgery” to a standard of care in many procedures. Also, I believe that the joint effort of the different societies with the academy will produce high-quality results such as evidence-based therapeutic guidelines, multicentric surgical trials, and international fellowship programs.

From a tech point of view, I think that the irruption of robotic-assisted surgery is imminent and probably we will see more facilities with robotic capabilities available for many kinds of animals.

What do you like to do for fun outside of veterinary medicine?

I love to read science fiction and historic novels or documentary books, graphite pencil drawing (no so much these times), and play with my kids, I could be a veterinarian, an astronaut, a race pilot, or a frog depending on the imagination of these two little fellows.