American Society of Plastic Surgeons The Meeting Los Angeles Sept. 23-27, 2016

This article is for informational purposes only.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons was founded in 1931, is the world’s largest prestigious organization representing 94% of all board certified plastic surgeons in the United States and a little over 1000 plastic surgeons world wide. The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada are among its members. With over 7000 member surgeons its leading as an information source on aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. Their mission is to have advances in quality care to plastic surgery patients with training, high standards, research and physician practice in plastic surgery.

The next few days are going to be filled with nothing but plastic surgery, and yes we love it. Starting Friday through Tuesday attendees for ASPS The Meeting in Los Angeles will spend their time in a lecture or two in an continuing educational conference on plastic surgery. This conference is not open to the public but is for registered medical professionals.

In our exclusive interview with Dr. Malcolm Lesavoy he explains to us how the public knows whom is a real plastic surgeon.
Q.How does the public know whether a doctor is a real plastic surgeon or not?
A. The training of a plastic surgeon is the longest training of any specialty in all of medicine. They graduate high school of course, four years of undergraduate school then 4 years of medical school which they will earn an MD, they go on  to 7 or 8 more years of residency specialty training first in general surgery then plastic surgery to then become a plastic surgeon. Yet, they’re still not board certified. They then take an oral examination one year after they finish their residency in plastic surgery and if they pass which 40% of doctors do. They go on to then wait another year for an oral exam which only 25% pass. They then become a board certified plastic surgeon. Most surgeons don’t really start their own private practice until about 34 or 35 years of age. The only way to tell if a doctor is board certified is for an individual to contact the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Meet the President of ASPS Dr. David Song, the first Korean-American president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), is an award-winning, internationally renowned figure in medicine, research and education.  A native of Seoul, Korea, Dr. Song came to the United States at the age of three, to join his parents who had previously arrived here for training and education, with the intention of returning to Korea, but found the opportunities too compelling to resist.  His mother, a nurse, and his father, an accountant, raised him in Los Angeles, along with his younger brother.  His youth was, by his estimation, ordinary, but by any other standard, it was extraordinary.  In the fifth grade, he became keenly interested in rocketry; by the time he was in high school, he had published a short story and a play.  Perhaps the fact that he had a National Teacher of the Year when he was in school led to some of this and to his participating in advanced classes at Cal Tech during summers when he was in high school.

It was in the 11th grade that Dr. Song first had an exposure, through school, to the mystery and excitement of the medical profession.  This led to his being accepted for the extremely competitive and demanding seven year program at the University of California – Riverside and UCLA, which combined both a bachelor’s and a medical degree.  “Competitive” means, by the way, that slightly more than 380 students were accepted and only 24 finally completed their medical degrees.  Dr. Song admits that it was intellectually taxing and that he needed a little reminder along the way of the importance of staying focused – “I had too much fun in college” is the way he puts it.  Somehow, he found time to complete a minor in classical studies!

After medical school, he found himself fascinated by microsurgery.  Fortuitously one day while walking out of the operating rooms, he witnessed the microsurgical reattachment of a finger, a procedure being performed by a plastic surgeon, and the discipline to which he would ultimately rise to the top beckoned him.

The University of Chicago was where he undertook his residency and fellowship.  That experience resulted in an offer to stay, and Dr. Song is now The Cynthia Chow Professor of Surgery, Associate Dean for Continuing Medical Education, Vice Chairman, Department of Surgery, and Chief, Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery,  all at University of Chicago Medicine.

Professionally, he is an internationally recognized expert in plastic surgery with additional training in reconstructive microsurgery. He specializes in breast reconstruction and oncoplastic surgery.  Dr. Song is well recognized for his extensive experience with perforator breast reconstruction procedures, including deep inferior epigastric perforator flap (DIEP), superior gluteal artery perforator flap (SGAP), superficial inferior epigastric artery flap (SIEA), and thoracodorsal artery perforator flap (TAP). Additionally, Dr. Song has pioneered several techniques for the repair and reconstruction of chest wall defects. His research interests focus on outcome improvement in lumpectomy and mastectomy reconstruction. He is involved in several clinical trials exploring advancements in these procedures. In 2008, he received the Arthur G. Michel Clinician of the Year award from the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization.

In addition, Dr. Song serves on the board of Medical Aid for Children of Latin America (MACLA), an organization that provides free surgical care for children with congenital deformities in the Dominican Republic. He is a fellow in the American College of Surgeons, and past president of the Chicago Society of Plastic Surgeons.

At home, he and his wife raise their three daughters.  To demonstrate how Dr. Song makes the most of every day, on the weekend, he will be found at 6 a.m. teeing off with his golf foursome, which includes a Nobel Prize winner, a best-selling author and a  special advisor to President Obama, but after the game is over, he gets breakfast to share with his family.


Meet Dr. Debra Johnson joined The Plastic Surgery Center in 1989 as the first woman plastic surgeon in the Sacramento area. Dr. Johnson received both her MD degree and her plastic surgery residency training at Stanford. She also took a cosmetic surgery fellowship at Clinica Planas in Barcelona, and a fellowship in hand and microsurgery at the Institute Francais de la Main in Paris.

Dr. Johnson is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and participates in the Maintenance of Certification process, which assures ongoing learning in the specialty. She is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Johnson is a member of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, a prestigious organization of the thought leaders in plastic surgery.

Dr. Johnson is well known for her leadership in plastic surgery. She currently serves as Vice President for Health Policy and Advocacy for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. She also serves on various committees, and is the co-chair of the CSPS Legislative Committee. Dr. Johnson is also a Past President of the Sacramento Society of Plastic Surgeons, and is a former Chief of Surgery for Sutter Community Hospitals.

Dr. Johnson’s practice includes all aspects of cosmetic surgery, including the face, breast, and body. She performs post-mastectomy reconstruction, as well as other reconstructive procedures. As Co-Director of the Sutter Cleft Lip, Palate, and Craniofacial Anomalies Panel, Dr. Johnson cares for children born with facial deformities.

A big believer in “paying it forward”, Dr. Johnson devotes at least four weeks per year to providing free reconstructive surgery in developing countries. She has traveled the world over the past quarter century, giving children born with birth defects, or suffering from burn scars, a chance at a more normal life. She teaches other surgeons how to care for these children, so that more can be helped. As Vice President of the CSPS Education and Research Foundation, Dr. Johnson works to provide free plastic surgery to the children of California who have no other resources.

A lifelong advocate for patient safety, Dr. Johnson received the California Society of Plastic Surgeons Presidential Award for Exemplary Service.

Dr. Johnson and her husband, Mario Gutierrez, live in Curtis Park. They have two wonderful adult children. They have been planting vines and remodeling a “fixer-upper” in Napa in hopes of one day enjoying a sustainable retirement.

As you go through ASPS website you will find useful information on every plastic surgical procedure. Be sure to do your due diligence when choosing a board certified plastic surgeon.

For more information on ASPS The Meeting Los Angeles 2016 or how to become a member click here  American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Andrea Price