Blog — Notes of a Plastic Surgeon

Welcome to my blog. I am a plastic surgeon in Seattle and have been in private practice since 1991. I've seen more than a few interesting faces and cases through my years spent in the exam room, the operating room and the emergency room. And I have an opinion on just about everything relating to plastic surgery (and a lot of unrelated stuff). If you like my blog, let me know. Thanks for reading! Lisa

Category: I Love Seattle!

Saying goodbye to Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct

January 10th, 2019 — 12:49pm

This Friday one of my favorite drives on the planet will cease to exist.  I know it’s silly to be attached to stretch of asphalt and concrete but I’m going to really, really miss the Alaskan Way Viaduct. For those of you who do not live in the Seattle area, the Viaduct is a big ugly, noisy and dirty double decker monster of a highway that is a blight on Seattle’s waterfront.  But when I’m shifting my Minicooper into 5th gear on this monster, I feel like I’m flying through a magical landscape with a bursting young city on one side and a busy and beautiful waterfront on the other.  On a clear day I feel like I could roll down the window and reach out to touch the Olympic Mountains to the west. It has the best damn view in Seattle and this view is available to anyone in a car or bus.

But alas, all good things must end, at least that’s the party line.  This Friday night, barriers will go up, connections will be made to the deep bore tunnel that took many years to drill, and in a month, the big machines will come in to tear the Viaduct down.  Over the next few years, Seattle’s waterfront will explode with new developments and I’m sure it will be awesome but I’m going to miss that big ugly magical asphalt ride.

Tomorrow, after work, I’m going to take one last ride and say goodbye.  I’m sure I won’t be the only one.

Thanks for reading and I’d be honored if you followed me on Instagram @sowdermd and @breastimplantsanity.  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder


I Love Seattle!, It's All About Me., Stuff I love

Are you ready for the big one?

November 12th, 2014 — 4:07pm

Earthquake preparedness.

blog earthquakeWe had a staff meeting to day and our educational topic was earthquake preparedness.  Joanne Jordan from Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management gave an excellent presentation that made me feel a little better about living in Washington, the third most earthquake prone state.  California and Alaska are the top two.   Here are a few things I learned.

Most earthquake injuries are not from people getting squished by a bus flying through the air but rather are related to people running around during the quake and tripping and falling and then walking around in debris in bare feet!  Not the stuff of disaster movies, huh?  Soooo….. when the big one hits, take a few steps if necessary to get into a safe place and stay put.  And keep a pair of sturdy shoes (with a flashlight tucked in) under your bed.

Modern high rises like the Madison Tower where I work are really, really some of the safest places to be in an earthquake.  These buildings are made to sway with the energy of an earthquake.  You may be in for a wild ride but the building is not going to go down.  Soooo… hope that the big one hits while you are at work.

Elevator shafts are super safe structures.  So…….if you are stuck in one, stay put and make friends with your co-riders.  Bad things happen to people when they try to get out of the elevator without a rescuer who knows the proper way to evacuate.

This in-service really brought back memories of the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake.  I was working on the 16th floor of an older medical office building.  I could see undulations of the city from my window.  I saw it before I felt it and then did I feel it.   Later that week, I put together an emergency kit for our family.  Yeah, that was 13 years ago.  This weekend my project will be to update that rather, er, outdated kit.

For great information about being ready for and earthquake or some other disaster, go to   It is a treasure trove of information.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder



General Health, I Love Seattle!

Bicycle communting to work

August 26th, 2014 — 9:54am

Seattle Plastic Surgeon bikes to work.  Saves time.  Burns calories.  blog bicycle commute

Seattle is the fastest growing city in the country and I can attest to its growing pains.  There are tower cranes, torn up streets, detours, cement trucks, double dumpers and construction sites in just about every part of the city and especially in the South Lake Union neighborhood which lies right between me and my office.  My five mile car commute used to take about 15 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.  Those times have crept up to 25 minutes and 45 minutes respectively.

So……………this summer I have gotten into the habit of riding my bike to and from work thus saving time, avoiding the road rage I feel (but never act on) when stuck in traffic and getting some exercise.   My commute time in the morning is the same as by car but in the evening, I save a good 20 minutes. One thing that has made this possible for me is my awesome K2 lady commuter bicycle, a great Osprey commuter back pack and a shower in my new office.  And with the 1/2 mile of steep incline one each end of the commute, I get a little endorphin high along with my morning cup of coffee or my evening sip of vino.

So if you are a patient of mine and see a really sweaty person in the elevator with a bike helmet who looks a little bit like me, it is!  Just give me a chance to shower!

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

General Health, I Love Seattle!

Yoga is great for manual laborers

July 16th, 2014 — 2:43pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon blogs about yoga for manual laborers.

blog yoga

Lululemon? We don’t need no stinkin’ Lululemon.

I drive by many, many construction sites on my way to work these days.  Seattle is undergoing a huge building boom and is crawling with tower cranes and construction workers.

This morning I saw a whole crew of hard hats doing yoga in the wonderful clear and cool early morning air.  I got to watch them for a minute or so while waiting for the light to change.  These guys and gals looked great and there was no fancy Lululemon yoga fashion in sight.  I’m sure their work day goes better with a little yoga at the start of their shift.  Mine sure does.

It was a year ago that I switched from some heavy duty weight training two mornings a week to some lighter duty but very challenging yoga.  I’m amazed at how much it has helped my back and shoulders, and not just my flexibility but in also maintaining my upper body and core strength.   And then there is the “om” factor.  It’s nice to start the day with a clear head and peaceful mind because once I walk through my office door ………..

Thanks for reading and keep up with those side bends.  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder (seasoned plastic surgeon but very, very green yogi)

General Health, I Love Seattle!

A few of my favorite things.

June 19th, 2013 — 2:30pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon hits a triple on her morning walk.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon's all time favorite creature.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon’s all time favorite creature –       the kingfisher.

This morning I took a nice, brisk walk along Seattle’s Fremont Ship Canal.  It is wonderful place to start the day, especially in the summer.  Today I saw the usual early morning suspects:  dogs with their humans, middle aged rowers gliding across the water in their shells and skulls, the morning shift workers at Foss Maritime.

And I was treated to some of Seattle’s  urban wildlife.  First up was a Great Blue Heron, standing as still as a statue waiting patiently for it’s breakfast to swim by.  Next I saw the sleek brown head of a muskrat leaving a little wake behind it in the dark morning water.  She was likely headed home to little muskrat pups after a night of foraging.

Just when I thought my morning couldn’t get any better, I heard the distinctive rattle cry of a kingfisher.  I followed the sound with my eyes and spotted my all time favorite creature on a branch of a nearby poplar tree, just as he helicoptered down and then dove  into the smooth surface of the ship canal and emerged moments later with a small fish in his mouth.

This juxtaposition of the great outdoors with great city life is one of the many things I love about Seattle.  I just need to remind myself of this sometimes in the winter months when it’s so wet, I have moss growing on my north side.

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

I Love Seattle!, Now That's Cool

Happy Spring!

March 20th, 2013 — 1:07pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon wishes everyone a Happy First Day of Spring.

Hellebores, a.k.a. Lenten Roses love Seattle's wet winter and early spring.

Hellebores, a.k.a. Lenten Roses love Seattle’s wet winter and early spring.

Today is the first day of spring and a storm is heading Seattle’s way.  It is supposed to hit mid-afternoon and bring wind up to 50 m.p.h., rain, sleet and/or snow and even a little thunder.

I made it a point to get out for a first day of Spring walk early this morning before all heaven broke loose.  I took my dog, Stella, to Seattle’s Parson’s Garden which is a teeny, tiny pocket park about a mile from my home.

I was delighted to see so many Hellebores in bloom.  They are my favorite winter perennial.    They bloom during Lent hence their common name Lenten Rose.    They are truly a 3 or even 4 season attraction to a mixed border garden.  Their blooms look great even months after Easter and most varieties have lovely foliage.  They look very delicate but are very hardy.  I’m quite confident that they will survive whatever the storm brings us today.

Thanks for reading.   Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Gardening, I Love Seattle!

I have the coolest patients!

October 12th, 2012 — 3:50pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon thinks her patients are the best.

Earlier this week one of my patients had bruises all over her body and I was a little worried about her until she told me that she and a bunch of friends had competed recently in a Muddy Buddy Race.  I knew what she was talking about because the Seattle Times had covered this race and after reading the article and seeing the photos, I thought,  “I bet that is a lot of fun!” 

But now after seeing those bruising and hearing a first person account of the obstacles (an ice water “hot tub”, being hoisted up many climbing walls, and electrical shocks) and a waiver that is called the DEATH WAIVER, I think I will leave that sort of fun for others.  But I am so proud that one of my patients was a finisher. 

Do my patients rock or what? 

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

I Love Seattle!, Now That's Cool

Get out of the rain and into the Moisture Festival!

March 19th, 2012 — 4:48pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon is a big fan of this very Seattle-ish tradition.

Every late winter/early spring, when the city of Seattle is just about ready to move to Phoenix the Moisture Festival saves the day.

This quirky vaudevillian celebration of human weirdness runs for several weeks at various venues in Seattle.  It showcases jugglers, comedians, contortionists (my husband’s favorites), aerialists, musicians, unicyclists, bubble masters and even a guy who makes sandwiches with his feet and then gets members of the audience to eat them.   What is not to loooooove?   All of this for $20!!!

Soooo, if you need a few laughs, check out a show.  The Comedy/Variety shows are PG rated and fine for the kids.   (My daughter loves the Moisture Festival and wants to be an contortionist when she grows up).  The over 18 shows are for adults only and showcase Seattle healthy burlesque scene and, although I do not have proof, probably some nice plastic surgery work!

Thanks for reading.  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder


I Love Seattle!, Now That's a Little Weird, Now That's Cool


March 2nd, 2012 — 6:35pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon blogs about the lessons learned in the play, Pygmalion, now playing at Seattle’s Intiman Theater.

Mark Anders as linguist Henry Higgins and Jennifer Lee Taylor as Eliza Doolittle. Her décolleté is so lovely, he dare not look!

Last night I soooo enjoyed attending Pygmalion at Seattle’s Intiman Theater.  There is something about live human beings on stage telling a story through words and action that just touch my soul so much more than film or television ever does. 

 Pygmalion, as most of you probably know, refers to the story of the artist who fell in love with his own sculpture of the “perfect woman”. 

The play, written by George Bernard Shaw and made into the musical My Fair Lady, tells the story of Linguist Henry Higgins turning the gutter snipe Eliza Doolittle into a Duchess.  In the end of course, he learns as much from her as she does from him.  It’s a great story of class and money and manners and empathy and for the plastic surgeon in the audience, the importance of sun protection on the ever important  décolleté .  

The  décolleté  is so often exposed to the sun and, unlike the face, is not amenable to deep chemical peels or laser treatments to treat the sun damage.  Therefore, prevention is paramount.  I recommend adding quick spray of Neutrogena spray-on sun block every morning to the décolleté  to every woman’s morning skin care routine.  It takes but a second or two and helps maintain skin health in this most important female landscape. 

I also highly recommend seeing this delightful play!

Thanks for reading.  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

General Health, I Love Seattle!, Now That's Cool, Skin Care, sun damage

Have a party to attend? Get thee a Tuzzie Muzzie.

January 11th, 2012 — 10:03pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon breaks the ice at a party with her Tuzzie Muzzie!

Seattle Plastic Surgeon's party hat.
There’s a Tuzzie Muzzie to complement any party frock.

Last Friday I attended my very first Twelfth Night Party.  It was a fancy affair with cocktails, dinner, dancing, and dessert buffet at Seattle’s Women’s University Club.

You readers of my blog may find this a little hard to believe, but I am quite shy and I was a little concerned that I only would know one person at this fancy affair.  I needed a little wardrobe courage  so I wore my playful Tuzzie Muzzie.  This little, whimsical party hat is a great ice breaker and conversation piece.  It has served me well over the years.

Shorty after walking in the door into a sea of strangers, I was approached by a lovely gentleman who knew a lot about this particular party accouterment.  I learned that the generic name for these fancy head pieces is “Facinator”  and they are all over the place in the British party scene and the Kentucky Derby.   I had no idea.  I guess this Seattle gal needs to get out more or at least pay more attention of Royal Weddings and horse races!

I had a lovely time at the party and I know that my Tuzzie Muzzie was a big help.

I now feel lucky that Seattle has it’s own Facinator milliner.  You can either shop online or go to Crackerjack in Seattle’s Wallingford Center and try one on.  And make sure to wear it to your next party, especially if you won’t know many people and are a little on the shy side.

Thanks for reading!  The rather shy Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

I Love Seattle!, Now That's Cool, Wardrobe Observations

Back to top