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: It’s All About Me.


My New Year’s Resolution

January 1st, 2012 — 9:37pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon acknowledges that there is a bit of room for improvement.

This year I am going to keep it simple.  Not easy, but simple.

Our family does a fair amount of camping.   Those of you who also enjoy and/or endure the chaos of camping are familiar with the camping ethos of : LEAVE THE CAMPSITE BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT.

So there it is:  I, Lisa, will leave the campsite, car interior, desk top (what a mess that always is), kitchen sink, closet, dog’s food and water bowls,  junk drawer, bread box,  garden shed, and whatever innanimate objects are subject to the forces of entropy, atrophy, apathy, inertia, and so forth, in a better condition than in which I found them.

Wish me luck, HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for reading.   Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

It's All About Me., Uncategorized

My nose knows and loves it’s Neti pot.

October 21st, 2011 — 9:50pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder loves her Neti Pot.

I will try really hard not to over share but …….. these dark, moist days of Seattle’s autumn bring out the worst in my nose and sinuses.   I’m allergic to just about everything a person can be allergic to (even my beloved cat, Angelo) but sometimes I think it is fall and winter I am allergic to the very most.  Prior to discovering the glorious Neti Pot and ridding our home of all carpet and the 20 bajillion dust mites it contained, I was one sneezing, coughing, pathetic and miserable sinus infection from October until May.   Just ask my husband and kids and Angelo.

Nowadays, I worship my hardwood floors, my fake down bedding and make sure to commune with my Neti Pot every morning.  And if you think having a sinus infection is miserable in itself, think how miserable it is if you have to wear a surgeon’s mask for many hours at a time!  Oh, woe was me.

If you are a fellow sufferer, don’t be a victim of your sinuses.  Get (and use) a Neti Pot.

Thanks for reading and happy breathing!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

General Health, It's All About Me., Plastic Surgery

What do plastic surgeons do for rest and relaxation?

October 18th, 2011 — 4:41pm

Seattle plastic surgeon reveals her relaxation secret:  embroidery!

I can’t really speak for all plastic surgeons, but I find taking up a needle and thread to be very, very relaxing.  And lately, I’ve been relaxing a lot.

My daughter is an Irish step dancer (think Riverdance) and her school has hand embroidered dresses for their performances and competitions.  Three years ago, I did her first dress and made sure that I made the side seams really wide so I could “let it out” as she grew.  To my surprise, she has stayed her 8- year-old width but now the dress barely covers her dance shorts so it’s time for another dress.

I was thinking that the timing was really bad with her likely headed into a major growth spurt but then again, each time I make a dress, it’s just more relaxation for me.  Last night I got to listen to Sister Sweetly, my favorite Big Head Todd and the Monsters C.D. all the way through – twice – while I power chain stitched.   Now that made for a great evening.

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

It's All About Me.

Happy sesquincentennial to the University of Washington!

October 13th, 2011 — 6:16pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder wishes her Alma Mater a happy 150th birthday (sesquincentennial).

The University of Washington is celebrating its 150 birthday this year.   I drive or bike by the campus frequently and always feel a pang of nostalgia for the more simple times of my college and medical school years, all spent at the UW.

During my undergraduate years, I spent my time on “upper campus” shown in this photo.  The UW has one of the most beautiful campuses in the universe, thanks to some lovely old buildings, great landscape design and our mild, maritime climate that leaves most of the campus green even in the dark days of our northern winter.  Traipsing from German class to chemistry lab was just felt like a lovely 1/2 mile walk in the garden most days.

The medical school is located on “south campus” which is a collection of modern buildings that look like they were designed by Stalin or Mao Zedong.  I always felt I should be wearing a Chairman Mao hat and calling my med school buddies “comrade”.  The saving grace of the “south campus” is the fact that it is right on the shores of Lake Union.  There’s nothing like sitting by the lake to get a little mental clarity after 2 hours in the neuroanatomy lab trying to find then memorize the location the 12 cranial nerves.

So happy birthday University of Washington.  The times were great, the tuition cheap (really, it was) and the education was outstanding!

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Gardening, It's All About Me.

It’s time for the cowgirlfriends roundup.

September 17th, 2011 — 12:10am

Seattle Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder blogs about her annual cowgirlfriends round up at Montana’s Chico Hot Springs.

This weekend, I get to fly to Montana to spend a few days with my girlfriends from high school.  We call it the Cowgirl Roundup.   I am the only one of us that does not ride horses (never have, never will) but I have the coolest cowboy boots.  We spend our days hiking and soaking in the gigantic pool and our evenings marveling at the Montana night sky and catching up with each others’ crazy,  busy lives.

All five of us have gone into the health care field (we all liked chemistry!).   Patty’s a veterinarian, Stacey is an R.N., Ginny is a nutritionist and Janice runs an ultrasound department.  Crazy, huh?    It’s really fun to compare notes about our careers (and all the other stuff) but what’s really fun is to remember all those fun times we together before we became responsible health care professionals.  I am so grateful to have these great pals to unwind with once a year.  I hope all of you are so lucky.

Thanks for reading.  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

It's All About Me., Uncategorized

Meet my alter ego

July 30th, 2011 — 12:24am

This is TAFKAM (the artist formerly known as Mama)

Why Seattle Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder, will not be blogging for a couple of weeks.

I’m taking a little break from work for two weeks. Trust me, I need a vacation and will come back a better doctor (and guitar player).

I’ll spend my first week at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop (PSGW) which is held at the very rustic Pilgrim Firs Church Camp on Kitsap Pennisula.  Camp is only a 1 hour ferry ride and a 45 minute drive from Seattle but it might as well be on another planet.  It’s the closest thing to music heaven this side of, well, heaven.

After camp, I am spending a week in Northern Idaho at my mom’s  lake cabin.  Between dips in the cool, clear water of Lake Coeur d’Alene and endless repair projects on this 120+ year old cabin, I’ll be sitting on the front porch practicing all the licks, riffs and tricks I learned at PSGW.   I might even do a little sing along of  “Blister in the Sun” by the Violent Femmes.

I’ll be back at my day job August 15th and back to blogging.

Thanks for reading, Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

P.S.  I’ll be sure to wear my sunscreen!

It's All About Me.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon Falls Hard for a Tree

July 26th, 2011 — 6:23pm

Seattle Plastic Surgery, Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder blogs about her newest obsession and Seattle’s lousy summer.

Last weekend my daughter and I went to Swanson’s, which is a lovely nursery in north Seattle.  We had a light lunch at the cafe and then went browsing.  (Now that I am most definitely a woman of a certain age, I would rather cruise a nursery than a boutique).

Marie and I saw it as the same instant, just sitting there like a beautiful young orphan, so tiny and out of place with the much taller quotidian deciduous ornamental trees.  And we fell hard for this Japanese Umbrella Pine.  I put it on our cart and found a staff member to ask about it.  He could have said you need to water it with sterile thrice deionized water 4 times a day and apply platypus feces as a side dressing in the spring and fall and I would have still purchased this beauty.  Actually all he said was that it will grow to 20 feet over 20 years and I can’t let it dry out.

And drying out won’t likely be a problem, at least this summer.  While the rest of the nation is sweltering and frying, Seattle is experiencing the coldest and wettest summer in any one’s memory.  But this is good for my sweet, beautiful Japanese Umbrella Pine.  It is native to the rain forests of Japan and I’m sure I can keep it happy in the rain forest of Seattle.

So what does this have to do with plastic surgery?  Okay, how’s this?

  • Just because it’s cloudy, you still need sunscreen!
  • And the real reason I do plastic surgery is to support my gardening habit.

Thanks for reading!  Seattle Plastic Surgeon and Plant Freak, Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Gardening, I Love Seattle!, It's All About Me., Now That's Cool, Plastic Surgery, Skin Care, sun damage

What really is pain?

May 19th, 2011 — 8:07pm

Only a young person would believe this.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon comments on young whipper snappers wearing  very annoying  t-shirts.

Yesterday was an amazing and beautiful spring day in Seattle. I had a couple of free hours in the morning and I took Stella, our snippy, snappy, snarly, nasty, naughty thing, on a walk around Green Lake. The path around the lake was packed and I had the unfortunate opportunity to compare my dog with everyone else’s better behaved dog. Oh, well. The other unfortunate opportunity I had was to compare my middle aged bod plodding around the lake with the young gazelles leaping and skipping around the lake. It was a little comforting to know that 30 years ago, I too was one of the young gazelles.

There was a group of these young whipper snappers wearing t-shirts with the inscription on the left. “ How naïve”, I thought. But then again, I used to think that way. I have a very different view and respect for pain these days now that recovery from overuse or abuse takes weeks instead of days. I’m going to have a t-shirt made that says “Pain is your middle age sensibility saying; ‘Knock it off. You aren’t 25 anymore!’ ”

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Aging Issues, It's All About Me.

Timing is everything in music and in surgery

April 20th, 2011 — 10:34pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon discusses the importance of timing in music and in plastic surgery.

Keith Moon keeping time for The Who.

Keith Moon keeping time for The Who.

I have been practicing a song with my husband that we are going to perform at a recital in a couple of weeks. I’ve been playing guitar and singing for many years but my husband is a beginner. One of the challenges we have is getting the timing just right – or as our zen master guitar teacher says, “really getting in the groove”. A few little chord or note mistakes here and there can sometimes fly right by most listeners but even the tone deaf will pick up an error in timing.  There is no drummer in the world who would have the patience to practice with us so we rely on an electronic metronome.

This, of course, reminds me of plastic surgery because almost everything reminds me of plastic surgery. Timining is also so important when patients schedule surgery. It’s not that I mean 4/4 time with a swing rhythm at 92 beats per minute. I mean timing the surgery so that the procedure and the recovery fit into the everyday rhythm of a crazy, busy, modern life and I don’t think this sort of timing is ever easy. But it is so important.

Almost everything I do requires a little “down time” even if it is just resting five minutes after a Botox injection or an hour with a cold pack after filler injection. Surgical procedures require anywhere from 3-5 days “off” for small area liposuction to a full 2-3 weeks off for a body lift or some face lifts or deep chemical peels.  The cases that are hardest on the patients are the cases such as a face lift or a deep chemical peel where the patient feels pretty good but looks really bad and where over activity can really delay healing by prolonging bruising and/or swelling.

I always try to tell it like it really is so patients know what to expect and can plan accordingly. I have a page on my web site devoted to this topic because not planning a realistic recovery can leave a patient very sore and very frustrated.

On this topic, I am speaking from personal experience as a pretty bad plastic surgery patient. I remember attending jury duty a few years ago and having to attend to my surgical drains during breaks. I took a lot longer to heal that average and it was no one’s fault but my own. What a naughty patient! Do as I say and not as I do.

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

It's All About Me., Postoperative Care, Preoperative Care

WHY DO PLASTIC SURGEONS LOVE PUZZLES?

January 3rd, 2011 — 9:54am

Butler, Lawrence (20071221170617328) 20080410101310078I spent New Year’s weekend with my family in a rustic ski hut. When we weren’t skiing or eating or sleeping (three of my very favorite activities) we worked a little on a gazillion piece communal puzzle. Finding that just right piece and having it fall into place is such a great feeling. It is sort of like the feeling I get when I sew up an injured patient like the one on the right. His injury looks like such a big gaping hole but actually, it’s just a puzzle. No pieces are missing; they are just out of position. Finding them and putting them back where they belong and putting in a few stitches to hold it all together can make me look and feel like a real wizard. This particular patient was one of my best emergency room cases because he was injured on the job – playing Santa!!! Ho, ho, ho. No coal for me that Christmas! Happy New Year!

It's All About Me., Plastic Surgery, Trauma, Uncategorized

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