As women in South Florida continue to seek balance in their family, work and personal lives, plastic surgery for many can be an empowering decision.
It’s the same across the country. Plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures are on the rise in America. More than 11 million procedures were performed in 2013, up 10% from the year prior and topping $12 billion in patient spending for the first time since the 2008 Great Recession, according to research from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Yet, in plastic surgery, a medical specialty where 90% of the patients are women, but 90% of the doctors are men, it’s understandable that women may feel uncomfortable about possibly undergoing such life-changing decisions.
“It’s no surprise some patients come away from an initial consultation at many plastic surgery offices intimidated about the prospect of plastic or cosmetic surgery,” said Dr. Laura Sudarsky, a partner with Dr. Tracey Stokes at Esse Plastic Surgery on the campus of Imperial Point Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. “A surgeon’s mission should be to empower patients, women and men, to make decisions that truly will change their lives.”
The doctors followed different paths to wind up in the same practice. Dr. Stokes is a South Florida native who studied at Harvard University and Cornell University Medical Center and completed her general surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery training at Duke University Medical Center. She later performed two fellowships.
Dr. Sudarsky studied medicine and did her residency at New York University, and continued her plastic surgery education and later taught at Yale University School of Medicine in the Division of Plastic Surgery.
Though Dr. Sudarsky was practicing in New York and Dr. Stokes was in South Florida, a drug company sales rep saw thought their shared passion for women’s care was uncanny and suggested they meet. The two began collaborating long-distance on complex cases in 2007. Together, they opened their Fort Lauderdale office, with a calm décor, austere surroundings and mother of pearl wall, earlier this year.
They also share a passion for their community. Dr. Stokes, whose mother survived breast cancer almost 30 years ago, today is on the board of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Both doctors work with the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
For the past 20 years, Dr. Sudarsky has traveled to Bangladesh, Afghanistan and throughout the Americas to operate on the poor free of charge with Healing the Children. She recently returned from a trip to Guatemala, where she worked to help correct clef palates, hand deformities, and burns and other traumas.
“Today’s woman is focused on family, the workplace – anything but themselves,” she said. “For women and men, plastic surgery and other procedures bolster their confidence, and confidence is beautiful. If you empower the patient, they feel better about themselves and immediately become more radiant.”