When I introduce myself as a plastic surgeon, I am often greeted with surprise. Between the slightly quizzical looks, the concerned head tilts, and the explicit queries, the question is clear: How could a woman of substance find herself in that line of work? The truth is that real plastic surgery (in my world, at least) is nothing like its media representations. The nipped and tucked patients with outlandish requests, the ...

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shutterstock_125105294 As a plastic surgeon, I am interested in how people look. Whether I am piecing together a fractured face or reconstructing a cancer-scarred breast, I am focused on appearance, symmetry, contour, and lines. I am always thinking about how our bodies are the physical manifestations of who we are. What I am never thinking about is how that sentiment applies to me. An intern ...

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shutterstock_109286840 I have given a number of medical talks over the years -- reports on my research, reviews of surgical topics, mentoring speeches, and grand rounds, among others. I prepare for these talks extensively but tend to speak extemporaneously to engage better with my audience. I’m pleased to say that, in general, I have received good feedback. Several times, however, I have been ...

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Once in a while someone asks me if it is hard to be a mother and a surgeon. Certainly, any surgeon-parent can appreciate that juggling a household full of schedules, classes, meals, bedtimes, and activities with a practice full of office visits, pre-operative clearances, post-operative check-ups, and surgeries has its challenges. And to be sure, before I became a mother I had no idea how this would impact my work. What ...

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shutterstock_229239346 When I started my surgical internship, my chief resident told me some magic words: Whenever something bad happens, stay calm and say, "I assume full responsibility. It won't happen again." As a young surgeon at the bottom of the totem pole, those words were my mantra for the times when someone's head was going to roll. In those nascent days of my ...

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Halsted once described plastic surgeons as “the surgeon’s surgeons.” Yet in today’s era of media hype about cosmetic surgery, this turn of phrase feels long-forgotten. Despite what reality television may have you believe, the specialty remains at its core about reconstructive surgery, and collaboration is still a key element. Here, a few points that show those words are as true now as they ever were: We manage a patient’s expectations. Patients may have ...

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