Southern Plastic Surgery Intern Spotlight: Meet Laney

Welcome back to our intern spotlight series where this edition we’ll dish on our latest Southern Plastic Surgery (SPS) guest resident, Laney. A native of Lawrenceville, Laney is in the home stretch of her formal training at the Mercer University College of Health Professionals where she’s focusing on becoming a Physician Assistant. Having come to us with an interest in one day joining an esteemed dermatology or plastic surgery practice (we selfishly vote for the latter choice), Laney has really found her knack working with our patients and has seemed to genuinely love every minute of her time learning through hands-on practice and combining the hard work she’s put in so far. Before Laney left, we had her share some of her fondest memories with us and open up on where she hopes to go once she’s officially a graduate, here’s what she had to say:

Southern Plastic Surgery Intern Spotlight: Meet LaneyWhat made you choose a career in medicine? It’s like a puzzle. Every day presents new problems to be solved. Each patient is different, and the field is always changing and advancing. It’s challenging, exciting, and rewarding!

What’s your favorite memory? When Dr. David Whiteman sent me to the penalty box. He asked me a question in the operating room (OR) that I couldn’t answer, so I was sent out to the nurse’s station (the penalty box) to look up the answer. Then I returned to the OR to teach everyone about the information I had found.

What’s been the biggest challenge? Probably being open to criticism. I think most people in the medical profession are very driven, type-A people. We are motivated to be the best at what we do. Sometimes I have to swallow my pride and remember that I am going to be wrong, and it’s ok!

What skills have you learned that you think will be most valuable in your medical field?  I think knowing how to relate to each of my patients and  make a surgical plan to meet their needs will be important regardless of which specialty I choose to pursue.

What’s the best thing about interning with Dr. Whiteman? He is such a good mix of personality traits. He is really laid back, but completely invested in helping me become a better provider at the same time. He is demanding but also very forgiving.

Do you have a personal motto?  Improving requires you to go outside your comfort zone. If you’re not being challenged, you’re probably not growing.

If you didn’t practice medicine, what would you do professionally instead? Ice cream taste tester.

Hobbies: Reading, hiking, soccer, sewing, and refinishing furniture.

Fun Fact: I attended college at both Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia. I met my husband at Georgia Tech, but we cheer for the Dawgs during football season!

Favorite weekend activity in Atlanta: Taking my beagle to the park or hiking.

The office is never quite the same whenever we have to say goodbye to any of our extended SPS team members, but we are enthusiastic that Laney will do great no matter where she ends up. Having skill and expertise is always important but it goes beyond that. The relationships that you are able to nurture with your patients set certain medical providers apart – it’s our belief that the passion you embody and exhibit towards your patients are the type of additional qualities that make overall great providers and Laney will undoubtedly fit the profile when she starts to make a name for herself within the medical community. Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for more installations in our intern and patient spotlight series, and if you’d like to share your own personal plastic surgery story with other readers, don’t hesitate to contact Southern Plastic Surgery so we can help get you started!

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!