Dr. Rachel Walker cultivated her eye for beauty when she was studying both art and kinesiology in college.
“I’ve always had a passion for creating art,” Walker says, “and becoming a doctor has been my lifelong dream, so plastic surgery really spoke to both my artistic side and my desire to help people. One of my favorite aspects of my job is the opportunity to partner with a patient on their journey, whatever it may be.”
After medical school, Walker was selected for a highly competitive six-year integrated plastic surgery residency at the University of Missouri. Following residency, she was chosen for a prestigious aesthetic surgery fellowship. During this additional year of training, she further refined and perfected her skills and techniques in aesthetic surgery under the tutelage of world-renowned leaders in aesthetic surgery. Ready to use her eye for aesthetics to transform patients’ lives, she moved to Dallas and now owns the Plastic Surgery Center of Dallas. Last March, the pandemic forced the center to close for two months, but business has long since picked back up, and Dr. Walker and her team are busier than ever.
Walker performs noninvasive procedures such as skin rejuvenation and injectables as well as invasive procedures including SAFELipo, breast augmentation, breast lifts and reductions, tummy tucks, and facelifts. “I have two main focuses,” Walker says. “On one hand, I really enjoy working with the mommy makeover patient because there’s a lot to be restored and highlighted. On the other hand, I’m also passionate about restoring the face and skin. For example, I do a lot of upper and lower lid procedures combined with aggressive skin resurfacing.”
When Walker first meets a client, her primary objective is to reduce their anxiety and to discuss their goals. As one of the few female aesthetic fellowship-trained surgeons, Walker blends a surgeon’s skill with a woman’s perspective. “Most patients are timid or anxious for one of two main reasons,” she says. “There’s the patient who is concerned about what other people are going to think about them modifying their body. Then, there is the patient who has seen some type of bad plastic surgery outcome and is worried about looking unnatural. I do think it can be a scary thing — you’re putting your trust in somebody who you don’t know well, with one of your most valuable assets.”
This is why, Walker says, she ventured out on her own. She wanted to be able to create an unmatched experience for her patients where they feel cared for, valued, and heard. “I do think it’s my responsibility to advise against certain options, but everyone has a different idea of what they think will optimize their body,” Walker says. “For me, the most important thing is that my patients feel like they can trust me and that we’re in this together.” This environment of collaboration and trust is critical to the success and outcome when partnering with clients.
Walker says she thinks of plastic surgery as another form of maintenance. “Why should we feel ashamed about maintaining or adjusting our bodies to reach our goals?” she says. “I think the best plastic surgery is small, conservative changes. Yes, aging is a gift, but it’s nice to feel confident about what you have.”
There are many reasons a client would seek plastic surgery, Walker says. Perhaps they’ve been exercising for a year and can’t get rid of stubborn love handles. For some people, large breasts make exercise itself difficult. In some instances, women have lost the integrity of their abdominal muscles after childbirth — or maybe there’s just something small that bothers them. Whatever the reason, she says, it’s not about looking plastic. “One of my recent patients started crying with happiness after her breast reduction,” Walker says. “Prior to surgery, her larger breasts impacted her ability to do something as simple as buying a shirt.”
Changing the lives of clients, like this one, she says, is the most rewarding part of her job. She also understands that the healing process for plastic surgery can be an emotional one — one that she personally and sensitively guides patients through.
For Walker and her team, the patient is their top priority, whether that person is getting a minor procedure with a quick recovery or a more substantial procedure with a longer healing process. “Everyone at this practice cares about the patient experience, which is of the utmost importance,” she says. “I’m lucky to have such an awesome team around me who thinks about the patients as I do.”