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Meet Dr. Christie Prendergast of Finesse Plastic Surgery in Newport Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Christie Prendergast.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Dr. Christie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
There remains a belief that in the United States if you work hard enough, you can have any career. Looking back on my path to becoming a surgeon, I can honestly say that I have lived the American Dream.

My life has been anything but traditional. My father was part of a humanitarian organization that distributed food and donated goods to homeless shelters, retirement centers and orphanages in China. My parents did not hold secular jobs but instead dedicated their lives to helping others. We lived all over the world including Italy, Switzerland, Macau and Hong Kong before finally coming to the United States.

I was raised in a family of thirteen. As the third oldest, I helped raise my younger siblings. At a young age I learned the importance of hard work. My parents fostered our artistic sides as musicians, artists, and dancers. Little emphasis was placed on a formal education. When I moved to the United States at 13 my educational deficiencies became clear.  My father enrolled us in a home schooling course and while our language skills were excellent, I struggled with basic math and had no exposure to science.

At 17, I decided to live my dream even though I did not know what that was at the time. I left my family with $100 and moved to Los Angeles. Leaving my family with no formal education and no financial support was a struggle. I worked office jobs and, knowing education to be the key to success enrolled in junior college. With a lot of hard work and perseverance, my interest in science lead me to overcome my first hurdle and graduate with a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California Santa Barbara.

I never imagined I could become a doctor with my lack of formal education. The day I was accepted into medical school I was given an opportunity of a bigger dream. I became fascinated with the hard-working and fast-paced world of surgery, and first realized during my surgical clerkship at City of Hope Cancer Center that I was destined to become a surgeon.  The dedicated and driven surgeons, as well as the technically complicated surgeries and intense patient care inspired me to pursue research in surgical oncology. I completed 5 years of general surgery training at the University of California San Diego.

My interest in plastic surgery began with my love of art and I completed a 3-year fellowship at the Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery Institute at University of California Irvine. Sculpting and molding, hand-crafting and carving – these are actions made by both artists and surgeons.

On any given day you can do a cosmetic case, hand case, see patients with rare genetic diseases and then collaborate with a neurosurgeon all requiring your artistic intellect to restore form and function. My desire to pursue a career in plastics was affirmed with my participation in medical mission trips to Tijuana, Mexico. Reconstructing children with craniofacial deformities and giving them a chance for a better life is a life altering experience. These trips were reminiscent of the humanitarian work that defined my childhood. I realized that as a plastic surgeon I would be equipped with the tools and skills to have an even greater impact in life.

In the past 16 years, my American Dream has become my reality. I knew it was not going to be easy and there have been many times I wanted to give up. But, as the saying goes, nothing worth having comes easy! In looking forward to my future I cannot help but reflect on my past. There are many people who have had a marked influence on my success and I continue to mentor others who also share similar aspirations and dreams. I am dedicated to my work, grateful, have boundless ambition and bring with me a unique set of life experiences that I believe help me be the best surgeon to my patients!

Has it been a smooth road?
There have been many obstacles along the way. Financially I had to put myself through a bachelor’s degree, medical school and 8 years of surgical training. Then there is the emotional and physical exhaustion of surgical training. It is rigorous with very little time for yourself or loved ones. During training, you dedicate your life to helping others and this comes at a personal cost. Learning to find a balance that allows you to be the best you can be for your patients is what I have been working on these past few years. Exercise and fitness have become a very important aspect of making sure that I am taking care of myself too.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Finesse Plastic Surgery – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Working at Finesse Plastic Surgery has been a dream job for me. It marries my love of cancer surgery and plastic surgery. I love how we can give our patient’s the best care by having a comprehensive breast center where they can get cancer screening, see a specialized breast radiologist, breast surgeon, oncologist, and plastic surgeon at the same center. We provide a multi-disciplinary, efficient, and comprehensive treatment to breast cancer. I also love that we have a busy cosmetic practice with all the cutting-edge technology that allows us to combine our reconstruction with our cosmetic aesthetic results.

I think what sets us apart is that we offer the full spectrum of services from reconstruction, to non-surgical cosmetic and all surgical cosmetic procedures. This allows us to give our patient’s all the options to best suit their needs. Our practice not only deals with cosmetic patients, but we have a heavy reconstructive practice which keeps the surgeons and staff compassionate and able to maintain a personalized approach to patient care. We also have multiple surgeons and a large supporting staff which enables us to be there for our patients even beyond their operation.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Orange County and Los Angeles are filled with amazing, ambitious people who love life with a special appreciation for aesthetics along with health and fitness. This makes it the optimal place to practice plastic surgery! I love that we have an elevated aesthetic standard within the Southern California community that really force better quality outcomes compared to what we see in other parts of the country and world.

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Image Credit:

Kait McKay Photography
Stephen Busken

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