A New Chapter Begins as a Standard of Excellence Continues

Published: July 22, 2019
Category: Dr. Christine Stewart

Edina Plastic Surgery Welcomes Dr. Christine Stewart this August

A pivotal and exciting new chapter has begun at Edina Plastic Surgery as we proudly welcome Dr. Christine Stewart, starting August 1, 2019. We are excited to welcome a female surgeon to our team! Dr. Christine Stewart further elevates our high standard of surgical excellence and expands our mission to empower patients through heightened confidence in their appearance. We invite you to learn more about Dr. Stewart through her insightful answers and thoughtful responses to the following questions.

You earned a Masters of Science in Engineering Biomedical Engineering Concentration in Biofluid Mechanics. As a child and young adult, did you naturally gravitate towards the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields of study?

“I’ve known since I was in first grade that I wanted to be a doctor. We read “Time for Kids” in elementary school, and there was a blurb about off-pump cardiac bypass surgery, which started in the early 1990s. There happened to be a video supplement that showed a beating heart in the operating room during a cardiac bypass. I remember all of my classmates being grossed out, but I was fascinated! During our weekly trips to the library, I would get anatomy books, and my mom would read them with me. That was the start of my interest in medicine. 

My decision to go into engineering was that I thought it would best prepare me to become a surgeon. I was interested in understanding the technology behind the instrumentation I would be using in the operating room, and also really understanding the mathematics behind our physiology – I thought this would best position me to be an innovative surgeon.”

What parallels do you draw between Engineering, Mathematics, and the fields of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery?  How do feel they complement or influence one another?

“While I did learn about technology and how it works, engineering is most useful when it comes to plastic surgery in the way that I dissect problems. Decision making in plastic surgery often is the most challenging part rather than the technical execution of the surgery. Engineering taught me how to analyze complex problems in a methodical, thoughtful way. To consider all the options, see the pros/cons, anticipate problems.

Engineering and math also continued to mature my visual-spatial skills, which is a critical skill set for a plastic surgeon. I use it every day!”

Your background is so diverse.  It ranges from engineering and math to neuromodulation studies with Parkinson’s Disease, movement disorders, and even designing aortic valve devices; how has this broad background shaped the surgeon you’ve become?

“I’ve always felt that surgery is more of a vocation than a job and that all of the experiences that I’ve gone through have been the means to an end in me becoming a plastic surgeon. Although for me, that endpoint was not at all obvious, until it was. Finding plastic surgery as a field, for me, was a result of me realizing that through my interest in engineering, cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery the one common denominator that motivated me was improving a patient’s quality of life and restoring hope. In all the fields of plastic surgery – cosmetic surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, craniofacial surgery – improving a patient’s quality of life and giving her/him hope for the future are the main goals.”

Educating others, volunteerism, and philanthropy seem to be very important to you and are prominent throughout your education and career.  Has this had an impact on how you practice medicine? How you interact with patients?

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my life to grow up in a loving family who valued education and nurtured my interests. Through education, traveling, and my practice of medicine, I’m reminded daily that in some families and communities, this is the exception and not the rule.  ometimes I can’t help but ask what if? What if I had been born in that country, in that community, in that family? How would I have ended up here? I think this is what drives my interest in volunteerism and philanthropy.

Education is one of the great gifts of my life – I have so many dedicated teachers to thank. My willingness to teach others is my attempt to repay that gift.” 

Do you have a personal approach or philosophy about plastic surgery? Do you believe you bring something unique to this field in terms of skill or mindset?

“In plastic surgery, we are entrusted with patients’ physical and emotional vulnerabilities. It’s different than other types of surgery where you are fixing something purely physical. What we do as plastic surgeons affects how you interact with your body, how you interact with your world. When you choose a plastic surgeon, you are trusting someone to do the surgery, but you are also trusting them to travel with you on this journey.

Plastic surgery also requires an eye for aesthetics – this is difficult to teach, and just like in art, there is no right or wrong answer. However, it is important that your surgeon understands your aesthetic and that you feel comfortable with their aesthetic; you can see this in their surgeries, but also get a sense of this in their fashion sense, the way they present themselves. The most crucial judgment your plastic surgeon will make is “What would look the best on her and can I accomplish that?” and then in the OR “This looks awesome, and I’m happy, will she be happy with this too?”

How do you want to make your patients FEEL?

“Confident and hopeful for the future.” 

What surgeries do you enjoy performing the most and why?

“We are fortunate in plastic surgery to be trained well in so many different types of surgery that it allows us to work with a diverse patient population. In cosmetic surgery, I love breast surgery – augmentations, mastopexies, reductions – and abdominoplasties. They are rewarding for me to do because I get to change someone’s shape and quality of life for the better.”

How do you feel about joining the team of surgeons at Edina Plastic Surgery?

“So excited for the future! I’m delighted to work with Drs. Leigh, Philbin, and Wilke – I respect them as surgeons – they have an aesthetic eye and are safe and conservative. The wiser and more experienced surgeons become, the more they realize that, often, less is more. I’m also excited to join the team of nurses and staff at EPS. With all of the support our patients need on their journey, it truly does take all of our team members who each bring their own personality and talents!”

Would you like to discuss a particular plastic surgery procedure with Dr. Stewart starting August 1, 2019?  Schedule a complimentary consultation by contacting Edina Plastic Surgery at (952) 925-1765

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