Southern Plastic Surgery Intern Spotlight: Meet Jakai’

It has been a while since we’ve had an intern at our Southern Plastic Surgery (SPS) office but today we are thrilled to share with you the latest SPS plastic surgery intern rock star – Jakai’!  Jakai’ is a 4th year medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – Georgia Campus and has been a great addition to the SPS family.  She’s got a genuinely caring personality and an infectious laugh, but what we admire most about Jakai’ has been her ability to connect with many of our patients over the past month.  We had Jakai share some of her experiences with us and here’s what she had to say:

What made you choose a career in medicine? My parents have always instilled in me the understanding that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to.  Growing up, my pediatrician was a young, black female.  I can remember becoming instantly fascinated with her and her job, and she eventually became my idea of what a doctor looks like.  In a field that I now know to be dominated by my male counterparts, I’ve always felt that there was a place for me.  My pediatrician was my role model until I turned 20 (yes, I had trouble leaving the pediatric nest).  Thankfully my love for science and reading followed our initial introduction and my parents, teachers, and other loved ones helped to cultivate what soon became a love for medicine.  So I guess you can say that I’ve always wanted to be a doctor.  It also helped that I somehow successfully made it through the pre-med coursework at Vanderbilt University, because honestly, things could have easily gone south.

What’s your favorite memory? I have two favorite memories.  My first was being told that one of our post-operative patients came in for their follow-up and asked to see me before leaving.  It felt good knowing that I had built up enough of a rapport that the patient felt comfortable coming to me with questions and accepting my medical advice.  My second was all of the events leading up to being given the nickname “little sister”.  I won’t get into that story, but there is never a dull moment with Dr. Whiteman and his team!

What skills have you learned that you think will be most valuable in your medical field?

  • Listening; all patients come in with a plastic surgery goal and it is the job of the physician to understand what it is and guide the patient towards reaching that goal.
  • Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race; time is precious when in the OR and though I always freak out when Dr. Whiteman tells me to move faster, his surgery tips have come in handy and I am slowly, yet steadily increasing my suturing and note writing speed.

What’s been the greatest lesson you’ve learned during your internship? To trust myself – whether it is knowing the answer to one of Dr. Whiteman’s questions or anticipating where my hands need to be in the surgical field, I know more than I think I do and there is little to no time for hesitation.

What’s the best thing about interning with Dr. Whiteman? The best thing about interning with Dr. Whiteman is the autonomy that he and his staff expect and allow.  Learning to be “THE doctor” is one of the greatest struggles I’m sure I will encounter after graduating and beginning residency.  This month has been a small taste of what I can begin to expect.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I see myself fresh out of my neurology residency program and hopefully on a much-needed vacation!

Hobbies: Reading, traveling, watching football and my weekly television shows.

Favorite movie: The Breakfast Club.

Favorite weekend activity in Atlanta: Brunch

Do you have a personal motto?  I don’t know if I would consider this a motto, more of a note to self: “Keep trying, keep praying, stay positive, be Awesome: become better!”

We’re going to miss having Jakai’ around the office but we have no doubt that she is going to go on to do great things in the medical field because she’s got the drive and determination needed to excel.   Hopefully you all enjoy getting to know our interns as much as we have these past several months, so be sure to catch the latest on our intern feature stories on our blog in the upcoming weeks!

Ask Dr. Whiteman: Am I A Good Tummy Tuck Candidate?

I genuinely enjoy seeing patients happy with the results tummy tucks offer and try to help educate not only my patients but other doctors.  I’m very interested in improving my surgical techniques and overall safety and satisfaction for my body contouring patients and have been developing techniques that I hope will inspire other doctors to do the same.  In fact, recently, tummy tucks have been the focal point for much of my research and I wanted to share some great news I recently found out.  The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has accepted, and will be publishing, my abstract on the Scarpa fascia technique I developed and on top of that, I was awarded the honor of Best Plastic Surgeon for Tummy by Best Self Magazine this month thanks to a collective vote by those in our community.

When we get questions from potential tummy tuck patients, one of the most common ones we hear at Southern Plastic Surgery is, “Dr. Whiteman, am I a good tummy tuck candidate?”  First I would need to physically evaluate a patient’s abdominal area before I can determine whether they are a good candidate, but a self-evaluation exam can give you some insights as to if you may or may not.  If you can answer yes to many of these questions, then perhaps it’s time to explore your own personal tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) options:

  • Do you have extra fat, skin or stretch marks in your abdomen that won’t budge with exercise and diet?
  • Does your stomach have a pooch that protrudes from your abdomen?
  • Are you self-conscious about the way your stomach looks when not covered up?
  • Has your abdomen been affected by pregnancy/childbirth?
  • Have you lost a significant amount of weight and are left with a lot of excess skin?
  • Do you have trouble finding properly fitting clothes because of your midsection?
  • Have you reached a stable weight? (Body contouring is not a weight-loss procedure)
  • Are you generally healthy?
  • Have you finished having kids?
  • Do you want a flatter stomach?

Patients can fall into two categories: tummy tuck candidates and mini tummy tuck candidates.  The main goal for any tummy tuck result is to create a flatter abdomen that is free of the loose skin and excess fat that tends to be a common concern.  The main difference between a mini tummy tuck and tummy tuck lies in the muscle repair.  Mini tummy tucks are for patients who have not experienced muscle separation, or only experience a mild amount of muscle separation below the navel, and are mainly focused on eliminating the skin and fat.  Tummy tucks are more involved and require me to retighten the weakened/separated muscle before the excess skin removal process.  I mentioned this briefly at the beginning, but I like to utilize a special Scarpa fascia technique I developed to further enhance the tummy tuck results for my patients.  What this technique allows is for me to contour the waist to give patients more curvature and definition of the abdomen.  Prior, combining liposuction was the way to help get this hourglass shape, but with Scarpa fascia technique, the waistline is shapelier in addition to having a flatter stomach.

Lots of patients are attracted to tummy tucks because it helps them get that body they remember having when they were younger.  Body contouring has always remained one of the top five most popular treatments and it’s really not a surprise.  In fact, tummy tucks are one of the main procedures chosen during a mommy and Grammy makeover mainly because of the benefits it can provide to mothers and grandmothers who are done having kids and want to do something for themselves.  I want every woman to have the chance to make themselves feel beautiful and excited about with the reflection they see in the mirror.  Luckily tummy tucks can help with just that.

To learn more about tummy tuck benefits or the body contouring procedures I perform, contact Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C today to schedule your complimentary consultation and check out our monthly specials featuring this procedure.  You can always join us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube for more plastic surgery tips and updates; we hope to connect with you soon!

My Plastic Surgery Story: Why I’m Choosing Plastic Surgery

 

Dear Readers,

It’s not every day you get inspired to share your personal story with the public, but here we are, so bear with me if this seems a bit scattered, it’s my first time!  I guess I’ll start with a little background about myself.  I’m 29 years old, no kids, no spouse and have lived in Atlanta for about 5 years now.  I’ve always been pretty fit – standing at 5’8” and weighing 140lbs, give or take a few donuts (sorry Dr. Whiteman I know, I know – I’m not supposed to be fluctuating weight before my plastic surgery procedures but I’m trying to fit everything in before I make the change for good!).  All through elementary, middle and high school I was a competitive swimmer with very little body fat to my name thanks to twice a day workouts and a lot of time in the weight room.  Fast forward to today and everything has seemed to sloooooow down, including my metabolism and confidence.  The dining hall food from the University of Georgia, nights out on the town with my friends and less gym time than before has left me with a bit of a permanent food baby that I can’t seem to get rid of.  On top of that I can barely fill out my size 36A bra without feeling like my shirt is going to get swallowed up by my bra.  I can’t say I’ve ever been one to consider plastic surgery before now; those who know me were actually surprised to hear that I have not been entirely happy with the way I look.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand nobody is perfect and wholeheartedly believe beauty is really in the eye of the beholder, but I decided that I wanted to do something for myself; something that makes me happy and is entirely my own.

There’s been a lot of buzz in the media about the stigma of plastic surgery shifting and I’ll be the first to admit I was one of those “I’ll never get plastic surgery…blah blah blah” people until recently.  Sadly when I was younger (and dare I say more naïve) I was one of those who saw it as a vanity and a complete waste of money, but as I’ve grown I realize that plastic surgery is no different than buying a particular purse or pair of shoes because they make us feel good about our look.  I’m so used to hiding my body under baggy clothes in the hopes that nobody will mistake my breasts for bee stings or my stomach pooch for a fanny pack, but why should I feel that way?  Before you judge and think I just need to get on a treadmill, trust me, I’ve tried that.  It got to a point where no matter how much I watched my diet and exercise regularly, nothing would budge.  That’s about the time that I decided to stop wallowing and do something…so I started a little research on body contouring procedures.

Nonsurgical treatments prove that technology and science can accomplish amazing things.  But for me, that’s not enough because I want something that’s longer lasting.  I did some research on plastic surgeons in the Atlanta area; male, female, old and young – you name it and I probably goggled it.  For me, doing the research was exciting because it was the first time I was actively working towards my goal so I started with an online community detailing procedures and real patient experiences to get an idea of what I could potentially be going through.  Sure it was a bit overwhelming and got a bit daunting trying to figure out who was worth meeting for a consultation and who wasn’t, but I felt like I was investing more into my procedure and not being hasty like I tend to do.

Once I met with Dr. David Whiteman, it was a wrap.  It was during my consultation that we talked about my stomach pooch and he explained that I was an excellent liposuction candidate because I only had a small amount of fat to address and was already in great health.  What I wasn’t expecting was learning that combination procedures were a “thing.”  I honestly hadn’t factored breast augmentation into my procedure because I thought I wouldn’t be able to afford more than one procedure.  But I was wrong!  Dr. Whiteman and his staff did such a great job at giving me ALL the materials I needed as far as financing, what to expect during my procedure and lots of visuals (I’m a visual learner so before and after pictures are my jam) that I was sold on combining a breast augmentation and liposuction for my upcoming procedure.  The reason I decided to do them both at the same time is because I don’t have unlimited vacation days and it actually saved me money by not having to pay surgical fees more than once!  That, plus my recovery time was not going to be as long as I thought.  Sure it’s not an exact science but just a few short days/weeks sounded extremely reasonable to me.

So here I am, writing this as I stare at my calendar with my surgery date circled in obnoxious exclamation points.  Right now I’m not nervous…well maybe a little, but it’s an excited nervous because I can’t wait to see what my plastic surgery results are going to look like!  I’m already planning my new wardrobe, have started hitting the gym more to work on underlying muscle tone and added just about every bra on Victoria’s Secret website to my wish list for when I get out of surgery.  When Dr. Whiteman asked if I would share my story in a series I thought he was crazy, but I’ve found this is sort of a nice outlet to express what I’m going through leading up to my big day.  As I wrap up this long diatribe, I kindly ask everyone to put their judgments aside for a second and consider the underlying reasons so many people willingly choose cosmetic surgery.  It’s a very personal matter for me, an intimately personal choice and one that I know I am making on my own – free of judgment or pressures from others.  For once it’s about me and I couldn’t be more proud of myself for taking these steps.

The internet is only able to cover so much and it’s not until I was face to face with my future surgeon that my dream became more of a reality than I ever expected.  There’s no pressure to you or the doctor to just have a conversation but it’s the only way I would recommend getting started.  You may be just as surprised as I was.  Just remember, do it because YOU want to – forget the haters!