Dr. Eric Swanson, a plastic surgeon practicing in Leawood, Kansas, is a highly-regarded advocate for the application of the scientific method to cosmetic surgery, an approach known as evidence-based medicine. His numerous presentations at national plastic surgery meetings and peer-reviewed publications have helped usher in a new age of scientific evaluation of cosmetic surgery.
Originally from Canada, Dr. Swanson attended medical school at the University of Toronto, where he graduated with honors at the age of 22. In 1988, he completed a residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Toronto, followed by a fellowship in cosmetic surgery. Dr. Swanson moved to Kansas City in 1989, where he started practice. From 1991 to 1995, he served as Director of the Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospital. He also served as Director of the Residency in Plastic Surgery at the University of Missouri-Kansas City from 1991 to 1993. Dr. Swanson was a visiting surgeon, performing cleft lip and palate surgery on children in the Dominican Republic, during three missionary excursions in 1991-1993.
In 1998, Dr. Swanson opened the Swanson Center for Cosmetic & Laser Surgery and Leawood Surgery Center, Kansas City’s first licensed ambulatory surgery center specializing in cosmetic surgery. He devoted his practice full-time to cosmetic surgery and its advancement through clinical research.
In 2002, Dr. Swanson embarked on a multipart clinical investigation of cosmetic surgery, including patient outcome studies, prospective clinical studies, and measurements using specialized computer imaging and MRIs. With the assistance of his large patient base, whom he credits with helping to make these investigations possible, Dr. Swanson undertook an intensive investigation of liposuction and abdominoplasty, including sophisticated laboratory tests to investigate the health effects and safety of these highly popular procedures.
The results of these investigations have been published in the top peer-reviewed plastic surgery journals. Dr. Swanson has been a frequent presenter at the national meetings of the prestigious American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Dr. Swanson believes that knowledge is the remedy for patient apprehension about cosmetic surgery and that the marketplace is often too focused on selling commercial products to be a reliable source. To provide his patients with the information they need, he authored the Ideal Look series, subtitled “The New Science of Cosmetic Surgery.” Featuring hundreds of photographs and patient testimonials, these four hard-cover volumes answer the questions that any prospective patient might have about cosmetic surgery, without any marketing hype.
Dr. Swanson is known among his colleagues for his unflinching attention to detail and insistence on scientific evaluation. His pioneering work in liposuction has clarified what happens to the fat layer and circulating fat levels after liposuction, revealing some unsuspected possible health benefits for the first time. His award-winning study of liposuction quantitated the reduction of the fat layer in the lower body using MRI measurements. In a widely-cited study published in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Swanson demonstrated that the fat removed by liposuction does not return to the same places or to other areas of the body, as once believed. Another study demonstrated the effectiveness of facial fat injection using MRIs.
Dr. Swanson’s measurements of changes in apparent age after facelifts – presented at the 2011 meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery – showed for the first time that any rejuvenative technique, surgical or nonsurgical, could deliver on its promise to make people look younger, in some cases by over a decade. Convinced that “what we measure, we improve,” in 2012, Dr. Swanson published a new system for measuring the results of cosmetic breast surgery. His outcome studies, which include interviews with over 1000 of his patients over 5 years, provide vital new information from the patient’s perspective. The findings reveal high levels of patient satisfaction and improved quality of life after cosmetic surgery.
Dr. Eric Swanson is certified in plastic surgery by the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada. He has practiced in Kansas City since 1989 and specializes exclusively in cosmetic surgery.