In our latest edition of Making the Round, we spoke with Dr. James Liau, a cosmetic surgeon who specializes in pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Pediatric plastic surgeon James Liau focuses on ‘the other side’ of surgery

Making the RoundsDr. James Liau practices the complete spectrum of plastic and reconstructive surgery. He also specializes in pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery and craniofacial surgery, focusing on comprehensive treatment of children with cleft lips and palates, congenital craniofacial deformities, as well as other more unique congenital problems requiring pediatric plastic surgery.

What attracted you to plastic surgery?

I think what really attracted me to plastic surgery was being “on the other side” of surgery. What I mean by that is, for example, in a lot of general surgery or cancer surgery they take out the disease, they take out the cancer. However, patients then have a defect. And I think a lot of times they feel like they are lacking. As a plastic surgeon you’re on the recovery side, so you’re trying to restore.

Describe your care philosophy.

When I take care of a patient, my philosophy is more about the patient. Yes they have a disease process or they may have some issues, whether it be trauma, reconstruction or cosmetic, but it’s more about the patient and what they want. What is it that bothers them, and what are they looking for to help them move on with their lives?

Can you recall your first day of medical school?

I’m originally from California, and I did my undergrad out in California at UC Berkeley. So the first day of med school at UK, I just happened to sit next to a person I had gone to school with in Pasadena. It was very ironic considering that, of all the people that I’m sitting down next to in the state of Kentucky, it was someone from California.

Is there a place you would like to go for a vacation?

Well, we’ve been doing it every year–it’s a surf trip with my wife. I usually go to Costa Rica. I’ve been to Mexico, too, and I’m actually looking at some places in El Salvador.

What’s your favorite movie?

“Maroux.” It’s a movie about these guys trying to climb Maroux, which is a peak that’s never been climbed before. They are three professional climbers, and it’s a pretty interesting saga because the first time they did it they failed. It’s a really good movie. Pretty inspiring.

Is there a type of food you like best?

Anything with noodles in it!


Check out our full interview with Dr. Liau, where he talks about what drew him to pediatric plastic surgery.


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