The daughter and granddaughter of physicians, you could say that Dr. Emily Pollard was genetically predetermined to be a surgeon. But that would diminish her incredible accomplishments and career. Double board certified in plastic surgery and general surgery, Dr. Pollard specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, breast surgery, body contouring, facial rejuvenation, and women’s health issues at her practice in Philadelphia. She is also recognized for her experience in addressing the unique needs of women and men of different ethnic backgrounds.
Inspired by her father, a surgeon, Dr. Pollard graduated from Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee, and completed her general surgery residency at Georgetown University Medical Center. She is the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Lankenau Hospital on Philadelphia’s Main Line, and Associate Dean for Minority Affairs at Philadelphia’s Drexel University College of Medicine. Read on for her insights on current aesthetic surgery.
What did you decide to pursue a career in plastic and cosmetic surgery?
My father, who is a retired surgeon, inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. I always imagined myself as a surgeon, and during my time in medical school, I had a rotation on the plastic surgery service. While on that service, I saw the surgeons taking care of men and women, head to toe, all ages and sizes. That was so exciting and challenging! Not only are you able to help someone, but also you can see the results almost immediately.
What sort of body treatments/surgeries are most in demand by your patients, and why do you think they are so popular?
The three most popular surgeries that I perform are liposuction, breast rejuvenation, and eyelid lifts. Liposuction, or liposculpture is so much more refined than it was a decade ago. I use ultrasonic energy to selectively remove fat, while leaving the other support structures unharmed. Women and men are seeking liposuction—to fix what diet and exercise could not.
I enjoy helping women enhance the appearance of their breasts through lifting, reducing, or augmenting them. The consultation is long, because I review their health status, measure and examine them, and come up with a plan unique to their physique and wishes. I have a book full of before and after photos that I share with my patients. It gives them a chance to see what a usual result looks like. Seeing so many pictures reinforces the idea that women’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes.
I love the effect that an eyelid lift or blepharoplasty gives my patients’ faces. They no longer look tired and or angry. The surgery is performed as an outpatient and the recovery is quick.
Surgery is not for everyone. Sometimes Botox or another neuromodulator, facial fillers, and skin tightening can refresh your look. I call that a “Liquid Facelift.” That combination can’t replace the effects of surgery, but it can give you a rested, refreshed look without downtime.
What emerging technologies in plastic surgery most excite you?
I am very excited to see the development of some non-invasive technologies that can enhance the results from surgery or can “buy more time” before a cosmetic surgery needs to be performed. In my practice, we use the EndyMed RF machine, which works exceptionally well on specific areas of the face and body. EndyMed’s RF uses radiofrequency to stimulate and tighten skin. Ultrasonic liposuction, coupled with radiofrequency skin tightening, is an excellent combination.
Have you ever been affected by a patients backstory or reason for pursuing cosmetic and/or plastic surgery?
I can’t recall an exact story for you, but I can tell you that it is amazing to see the transformation in spirit and appearance in so many of my patients. Their confidence soars. I have overheard them telling my staff that they didn’t know why they waited so long (to have the procedure). Many of my new patients were referred by their friends or relatives. That is a tremendous compliment.
What challenges do you face working in a male dominated field?
As a surgeon, I am in a male-dominated field, but I don’t let that get me down. I enjoy interacting with my patients and my colleagues. As I age, I totally understand my patients’ concerns regarding their aging body.
What are your favorite beauty products for face and body?
I’m big advocate of healthy skin, and my favorite beauty products are DermHa Vitamin C and EltaMD sunscreen.