From graduate school, I entered medical school. After my first year, I was fortunate to receive an NIH research grant allowing me to work closely with a vascular surgeon who showed me the importance of the direct application of medical research to patient care. At that point, I knew I wanted to be a surgeon. I was enamored by the demands of balancing the cognitive practice of medicine, while being able to interpret my own radiologic images, and honing operative skills to perform and improve surgical procedures that affect the quality of my patients’ lives.
After medical school, I completed a comprehensive general surgery residency at Barnes Hospital, the teaching hospital of Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to my five-year residency, I also completed a three-year research fellowship in surgical oncology (cancer surgery). I studied a small group of genes that are instrumental in wound healing but can cause cancer when they become unregulated. I will forever be grateful to the patients who taught me the importance of not just helping patients become cancer-free, but also helping patients retain their unique humanity. Through my breast cancer patients I learned that some people see scars as hard-won merits of survivorship, but others see scars as a reminder of difficult times that they do not want to define how they or others perceive them. I wanted to be able to help even more.
Next I completed a three-year fellowship in plastic surgery at the University of Minnesota. While I enjoyed all aspects of plastic surgery, from reconstructive surgery to hand surgery to cosmetic surgery, I again was most drawn to my breast cancer patients and providing them with reconstructive surgical options. I learned and refined my surgical techniques to reconstruct the body using devices such as implants, skin substitutes, and donated tissues. I also developed my own techniques for using one part of the body to reconstruct another part. This often involves operating under a microscope because the blood vessels are so small that they need to be attached with suture finer than hair.
After I completed my training, I was fortunate to be invited to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. While there, I completed a fellowship in breast reconstruction, cosmetic surgery, and microsurgery. I was awarded a faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School, where I was responsible for teaching Harvard medical students and plastic surgery residents in my operating rooms. It was an amazing experience, working closely and collaborating with some of the most accomplished surgeons in the country who remain personal friends and colleagues today. In my continued research, I have published ten peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and have been honored to speak at thirteen national and international meetings for plastic surgeons and physicians conducting research in plastic surgery. In 2014, I left Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital to move my family to Sonoma County, California.
I decided to join Kaiser Permanente, because I have long respected this multispecialty medical practice with integrated electronic medical records enabling efficient communication and patient care. On a daily basis, I enjoy working with the fine physicians and professionals at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa. When I reflect upon the twelve years of surgery training I completed after medical school, I see how every experience has enabled me to feel prepared for even the most complicated operations.
My areas of concentration include breast and extremity reconstruction, aesthetic breast and body procedures, hand surgery, and facial aesthetic surgical and nonsurgical treatments. I strive to offer a full spectrum of procedures for each subspecialty of plastic surgery. For example, as reconstructive options for breast cancer patients, I am fortunate and proud to offer the latest implant-based choices, microsurgical free flaps, and fat grafting. This variety has enabled me to grow a complex and rewarding practice where I can constantly blend principles and techniques from the reconstructive side with the creative and beautiful cosmetic side. I am grateful to my patients for trusting me with their care and allowing me to get to know them. As I hope you will recognize when we meet, I am honored that you have selected me to be your physician and surgeon and truly enjoy the quality time we will spend together.