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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Compassion, honesty and teamwork guide OMC's plastic surgery practice

Compassion, honesty and teamwork guide OMC's plastic surgery practice

“Day one, all we did is take off is moles — endless amounts of moles.”

That’s how nurse Donna Hochberger remembers the early days of Olmsted Medical Center’s Plastic Surgery department. After years of working in OMC’s pediatric department, Donna had jumped at the opportunity to be part of Dr. Srdan Babovic’s newly-formed practice. And at the beginning, it was just the two of them — nurse and doctor.

“Donna and I started the [practice] here,” recalls Dr. Babovic.

Sixteen years later, what started as a partnership is now a full-blown practice with a staff of about 10 professionals, including two doctors, working to enhance the lives of patients.

“When you start from zero, you build up something the way you like it,” says Dr. Babovic. Speaking to us from an examine room, he adds that the trust built up over the years between him and his team has been key to the department’s success. “They can anticipate what you’re going to need so it’s ready before you even ask for it.”

OMC’s plastic surgery team provides a range of reconstructive and cosmetic procedures — from facelifts to breast augmentations to weight loss surgeries — designed to improve the way a patient looks and feels. A healthy body image, experts say, can lead to better self-esteem, self-confidence and psychological well-being.

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“It’s been gratifying watching how we have grown, how the community has embraced us,” says Donna. “We have seen tears [from patients] who are so overjoyed that their life has been changed dramatically.”

However, Donna and Dr. Babovic are both quick to caution that plastic surgery may not be right for everyone. The team at OMC prides themselves on being honest with patients, and that means sometimes recommending alternative approaches when surgery is not the best option.

For instance, Donna says, patients need to be in the right state of mind before considering a procedure. This also means having realistic goals of what you hope to accomplish.

“This does take a lot of emotional maturity and emotional health,” says Donna. “Because it is surgery. They may be doing it for cosmetic reasons, but it is real surgery.”

The one thing you won’t have to worry about, though, is judgement. The team of OMC is made up of highly-skilled and compassionate individuals who will respect your privacy.

“If they come from skin cancer, or need breast reconstruction or a facelift, it makes no difference to us,” says Dr. Babovic. “We treat them all the same. They all are our patients.”

This article is part of a series sponsored by Olmsted Medical Center.

Photography by William Forsman

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