“A celebrity surgeon who shines inside and outside the operating room.”
Dr. Aisha Baron is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon practicing at Crawford Plastic Surgery in the metro Atlanta area. She is one of the few African-American female plastic surgeons in the United States and is considered a leader in her field. Dr. Baron performs cosmetic and reconstructive surgery for the face, breast, body, and skin. She has authored multiple peer-reviewed medical articles and presentations, and is known as the “BreastNBodyDoc” in local media. In fact, in 2015, Dr. Baron joined the nationwide hit reality television show, Lifetime TV’s Atlanta Plastic to share her talents as a plastic surgeon with the country. Dr. Baron and her staff are dedicated to delivering comfort and compassion to all patients and helping them understand their surgical options.
Dr. Baron completed 6 years of training and received an unparalleled experience at one of the most challenging residency programs in plastic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. She has gained thorough knowledge in all areas of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery while becoming highly skilled in microsurgical techniques as a result of her time spent at Texas Children’s Hospital, Ben Taub General Hospital, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Hospital and the Methodist Institute for Reconstructive Surgery.
Dr. Baron provides services to male and female patients and specializes in facial rejuvenation, cosmetic breast and body contouring, reshaping the physique after massive weight loss and childbearing, as well as microsurgical.
Dr. Baron is also a cancer survivor and can relate personally to the physical and emotional effects that her patients often experience during and after a cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy. Being a patient herself, has imparted on her compassion and a unique perspective when it comes to caring for her patients and consistently doing what is right for them. This week we present a medical star who shines inside and outside the operating room.
When did you realize you wanted to be a surgeon?
Dr. Baron: I remember growing up and saying, “Ok well I can be the President, or I can be an astronaut, or I can be an artist…” No one ever said to me, “You can’t do that.” That was very important in me feeling like the options were limitless. I do know the one thing that really stuck with me is that I was going to be a doctor. I also used to watch the Cosby Show and remember Dr. Huxtable (laughs). I feel like a doctor is just something I was destined to be.
Talk about how your journey began in the medical industry?
Dr. Baron: Growing up I was one of the only black students all through grade school. I excelled as the minority, but I chose to go to Spelman because I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about being accepted. It’s not that I wouldn’t be accepted at the other institutions, I just knew I would fit in. I gained so much at Spelman, it was really one of the best decisions of my life. From there I went to Meharry because it was close to home. Initially I thought I wanted to work in primary care as a OB/GYN until the day I spent 7 hours in the operating room and loved every minute of it.
How is the experience for women trying to gain medical residency?
Dr. Baron: Surgical specialties and residencies are very challenging in general. Surgery is known to be a little bit more grueling. Historically, within general surgery there weren’t many women. Over the course of time more women have entered the field and done extremely well. For me, I had good grades and did well on my board exams, did some rotations and visited some places. I guess I made a good impression because I was the first African American female resident at Baylor College of Medicine. That was definitely a special milestone and an amazing experience for me at that time.
What’s the day-to-day life as a plastic surgeon?
Dr. Baron: It varies! You could either be in the operating room all day, or in the office consulting new patients and checking up on old patients. Some days are mixed where I’m in the office and in the OR. It’s definitely a little bit more than a nine to five time wise, but the great thing about private practice is I can tailor my schedule to how busy I want to be or not. It offers freedom but it’s best to get busy and stay busy because busy equals dollars (laughs). You have to provide for yourself and your family, so busy means more hours.
What was your experience like on Lifetime’s Atlanta Plastic?
Dr. Baron: Well one of the reasons I got involved with the show was to kinda put my name out there. I wanted to introduce myself to Atlanta and also the rest of the world. It’s definitely been a good move! I think it has increased the amount of traffic that has come into the practice, inquiries and such. It’s taught me how to say “no” in tough conversations which happens quite often at my practice. I have to be a bit of a psychologist as I’m consulting with people. The show has brought interest to the specialty and you can check out a clip right here: (S1 Episode 4)
What would you say is the best part of your job?
Dr. Baron: The best part of my job is that I get to operate! (laughs) I really get to make patients happy. I feel like I improve the quality of life for patients. Where some doctors may literally save a life, I feel like I’m saving a life by improving the quality of life.
What would you say is your passion and when did you know?
Dr. Baron: Improving people’s lives is my passion. I knew that day I decided on plastic surgery. It really spoke to me. Whatever we do, getting some sense of satisfaction either from ourselves or what we do for others is what ties us back to our passion. I view my profession as a service and I gain fulfillment from positive impact it has on others.
What’s one lesson you learned in your 20s that still sticks with you today?
Dr. Baron: You have to grind! I felt like it was a grind for me pursuing plastic surgery. You know, with Meharry being a primary care institution there weren’t really any plastic surgeons that were affiliated there at the time. The route that I took was an integrated program, in which you match directly out of med school and at the time, nobody had done that at Meharry. I had to branch out and get letters of recommendation within the community. It was a grind. I set goals for myself, I studied hard, and I was proactive. I learned that you have to make the opportunity for yourself if it’s not there already.
Whats the most difficult thing you’ve ever done?
Dr. Baron: The most difficult thing for me was going through medical school then residency and be diagnosed with cancer at the same time. My intern year of residency I was diagnosed with Cancer and that was a huge turning point in my life. I had to take a step back and take care of myself. It was an eye opening experience. Being stripped of control and have daily hospital visits was really hard for a Type A person like me (laughs). It really gave me an invaluable patient perspective.
What inspires you to succeed?
Dr. Baron: The desire to never be mediocre. The desire to be more than just another doctor in the community. Just having the aspiration to do great things. The more I look back on how things that have played out in my life, I realize my path is destined by God.
What are the 3 attributes to your success?
Dr. Baron: Number one, being driven. Number two, loving what I do and getting satisfaction from it. Number three, skill! Doing what I do well.
What frustrates you the most about today’s culture?
Dr. Baron: What frustrates me the most is a lot of people have the Wal-Mart mentality, “if I don’t like something I can take it right back.” There’s a lack of patience in today’s society. I have people who walk into my office and want to schedule surgery for next week! (laughs) Maybe we can blame the internet because we have so much information at our finger tips, people want what they want now. Our concept of time is a bit jaded.
What attributes make a good doctor?
Dr. Baron: What makes you a good doctor is your experience, where you trained, your passion behind it, the compassion you have for your patients, and your overall skill.
What’s the mindset of someone who wants to shine in the medical field?
Dr. Baron: The mindset is aim to be great. Excel in all that you do. Set a standard for yourself and make good grades in school! Everyone may not make straight A’s but if the effort is there you can still excel. Putting the time in to perfect your craft will positively effect your performance.
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