What I Wish I had Known Before Becoming a Plastic Surgeon

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. With this in mind, Cosmopolitan Magazine runs a regular featurette, “Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became…”. Recently, Dr. Jennifer Keagle, a Los Angeles based board-certified plastic surgeon, candidly confessed what she wishes she had known. As she read along, Dr. Burgess was taken aback by how much of Dr. Keagle’s experience she could relate to.


 “It takes a lot of very unglamorous training to become a plastic surgeon”

Having invested over seventeen years to schooling, Dr. Burgess can attest to this. Not known to many, plastic surgeons are first trained as a general surgeon; thus, in addition to medical school, Dr. Burgess underwent two residencies, general surgery and plastic surgery—both at Oregon Health Science University.

With schooling behind her, Dr. Burgess is keen to keep learning. Dr. Burgess is certified by both the American Board of Surgery as well as the American Board of Plastic Surgery. As a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, as well as the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Burgess is required to meet a number of credentials including continuous education. Staying true to her Oregonian roots, she is also proud to be a member of both the Oregon Society of Plastic Surgeons and Oregon Medical Association.

“People don’t believe that you’re actually helping people”

Many people fail to realize that often, patients seek out plastic surgery for more than aesthetic reasons. As Dr. Keagle puts it, “you’re not just changing patients’ looks—you’re changing their perspective on life.” With reconstructive surgery, Dr. Burgess can relate, “I take calls for facial lacerations and injuries in the middle of the night. I do breast cancer reconstruction and sometimes need to move muscles to cover radiated areas.  I work with kids who have cleft lip and cleft palate in third world countries.”

Similarly, like Dr. Keagle says, “there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ plastic surgery patient.” For Dr. Burgess, there couldn’t be a truer statement. “As plastic surgeons, we operate on kids who aren’t even a year old, on teens, and on adults of all ages. The majority of patients are just regular people [who] want a little something done.”

“Balance what the patient wants with what’s actually best for them”

Choosing a plastic surgeon that you are comfortable with and confident in, is crucial to the success of your surgery. Alike in many ways, both Dr. Keagle and Dr. Burgess agree that “surgery time is just a fraction of the time” that each spends with their patients. Establishing and developing a relationship with her patients in very important to Dr. Burgess.

As she learns and understands your goals, Dr. Burgess is not only able to plan the best procedure possible, but it also allows her to “screen for patients with unrealistic expectations”.  Although not widely known, “we turn down patients all the time”. Dr. Keagle explains, “you just have to try to make people happy as much as possible and try to identify where these thoughts are coming from.” Like any good board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Burgess cares for your emotional well-being along with your physical well-being.

We Love What We Do at Burgess Plastic Surgery

When all is said and done, one thing is clear to Dr. Burgess—just how much she enjoys being a plastic surgeon. Echoing Dr. Keagle’s sentiment, Dr. Burgess can agree, “it feels weird to say, but we do change lives.”

Along with Dr. Burgess, our team at Burgess Plastic Surgery looks forward to working with you. Please contact our Lake Oswego office if you interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Burgess.

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16865 Boones Ferry Rd, Suite 101
Lake Oswego, OR 97035

Monday-Thursday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Friday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Saturday hours available by appointment

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