Fellowship-trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon joins Village Institute of Plastic Surgery’s stellar practice.
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Once Dr. Christina Yi met the staff at Village Institute of Plastic Surgery (VIP), she knew it was the perfect fit and she could see why the award-winning practice was named “Top 10 Aesthetic Clinics in America” for 2021 by Med Aesthetics America.
“Dr. Mendez, who through a mutual colleague introduced me to the practice, had nothing but glowing things to say about the staff and providers at VIP,” says Dr. Yi, who came here from Austin, Texas. “One of the things that makes me so excited to join this team is that each person takes pride in their role. I found everyone so supportive of each other; it is an authentically warm and welcoming place.”
VIP has been serving The Villages for over a decade; their providers and professionally trained staff are devoted to serving patients world-class medical care.
“One of the things I thought was unique about the practice is each of the providers has their own area of specialty and expertise that works so well together and complements each other,” says Dr. Yi. “We have Mr. Larry Blevins, physician assistant and co-owner of VIP, who is a master injector, [and] Dr. Danny Soares, an extremely talented facial plastic surgeon, and then you have me, who does body contouring and body aesthetics. It’s a symbiotic relationship between us all.”
“I am excited about being able to serve the community,” says Dr. Yi “Cosmetic surgery can help us approximate the version or vision of ourselves that was not necessarily bestowed upon us, regardless of age” says Dr. Yi. “Utilizing evidence-based medical knowledge and technology can provide physical transformation that directly impacts emotional and mental well-being.”
Carrie Blevins, MS, RD, co-owner and practice manager at VIP, is pleased to have Dr. Yi on board.
“We are very excited, and I don’t think it could have fallen into place any better. There are a lot of similarities between all three providers in their attention to detail,” says Carrie, adding Dr. Yi’s communication style is like the other providers in their ability “to explain everything from A to Z, so the patient is extremely well informed and educated about the procedures they are considering.”
Before joining VIP, Dr. Yi’s career started taking shape as a toddler. She revealed a recorded quote in her baby book: “at 3 ½ years old says, ‘I’m going to be a doctor.’”
“My father was an artist and illustrator. My mom and stepdad were physicians; I feel I ended up being a blend of them,” says Dr. Yi. “I love plastic surgery for the creativity and artistry that’s involved while also respecting the science of anatomy and physiology.”
After receiving her B.A. in psychology from Rice University in Houston, Texas, Dr. Yi graduated with honors from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. She went on to complete three years of general surgery residency, followed by three years of plastic and reconstructive surgery residency at Wayne State University, Detroit Medical Center in Detroit, Michigan.
After residency, Dr. Yi completed a fellowship in microsurgery at the prestigious University of California San Francisco, specializing in advanced reconstruction. She also trained with specialists in the field of gender affirming surgery during her time in San Francisco. After training, Dr. Yi was in private practice specializing in aesthetic surgery and advanced breast reconstruction.
“I was performing microsurgery, connecting small blood vessels to create new breasts for cancer patients. I was able to help them feel whole despite what was taken from them,” she says. “And I saw firsthand how the physical representation of their internal self was so important for not only feeling whole, but wellness, self-esteem, and true healing. I am able to apply these precise technical skills to all of my patients. All people deserve to feel that they are presenting the best version of themselves.”
While Dr. Yi enjoyed her work with breast cancer patients, as for many of us, the pandemic caused her and her husband to reevaluate their careers. Her husband, an emergency medicine physician, was on the front line of treating COVID patients from the beginning of the shutdown. “I was pregnant with my daughter, and every time he went to work was wrought with fear and uncertainty,” Dr. Yi recalls. “We developed a greater appreciation for what was really important in life, and so we wanted to shift towards more of a work-life balance for both of us, to be able to raise our family together,” says Dr. Yi, adding that joining VIP was the answer. “The practice culture values being family-oriented. That was a key for us.”
Dr. Yi also believes her interest in the creative arts is particularly suited to aesthetic surgery as it allows her to blend art and science with the technical precision required for complex reconstruction. She specializes in a number of procedures including breast aesthetic surgery (augmentation, reduction, lift, implant removal), mommy makeovers, body contouring procedures, and liposuction.
Dr. Yi delights in being able to help patients feel their best, where the inside matches the outside to really offer wholeness and wellness.
“I think any well-trained plastic surgeon needs to have an eye for what makes something appealing,” she says. “There are certainly very talented male plastic surgeons, Dr. Soares being one of them. I do think that being a female plastic surgeon, particularly for breast and body contouring, allows women to feel they are being heard [and] understood on a deeper level…I think there’s certainly a benefit of sharing a similar perspective as my female patients, but it does not limit me from being able to help anyone with an interest in making a positive change to their appearance.”
Yi and Blevins also want to dispel misconceptions about plastic surgery; it’s not only for the economically elite or celebrities.
“It is within reach,” says Dr. Yi. “It can be natural. It can be subtle. It’s attainable and you can be a version of yourself that you recognize and draw self-esteem from.”
“When we get to a certain age, hormone levels change. Some people find they are a little heavier in the mid-section and they want to improve their contour,” adds Carrie. “Patients don’t necessarily want to change how they look; they just want to regain what gravity and the aging process has stolen over time.”
At the first meeting with a patient, Dr. Yi listens to what they are interested in changing or striving to achieve. She looks at the medical history to see if the patient is a candidate for the surgery and also tells the patient about the potential procedures and what results to expect.
“I believe in being totally forthcoming with patients about everything that is involved, not just the pros but also really informing them of any risks and complications and making sure they have all the information they need to make their decision,” she says. “So, I consider my job to be providing my expertise and my skills to help them achieve their goals and guide them through what is possible through medicine.”
For VIP, safety is priority. All of VIP’s providers keep abreast on the latest studies to evaluate what is up and coming in the plastic surgery field, especially improvements that have been made in patient safety.
“Medicine is constantly evolving, and the standard of care evolves,” says Dr. Yi. “Part of our job as providers is to stay on top of it so that patients are receiving up-to-date care.”
She appreciates the ability to collaborate with her patients for personalized care throughout the entire process, since VIP has a fully equipped, on-site state licensed and accredited ambulatory surgical facility. “I felt like I could deliver not just the actual surgery and results, but also, with the help of our staff, deliver the post-operative care and support that the patients deserve, guiding them through recovery.”
In her spare time, Dr. Yi enjoys hikes with her family and their two rescue dogs, and pursuing her artistic endeavors of painting, drawing, and special effects makeup.
Dr. Yi’s areas of specialty include:
Breast Augmentation • Breast Lift • Breast Reduction • Augmentation/Mastopexy • Mommy Makeover
Masculinizing Mastectomy (top surgery) • Gynecomastia Surgery • Tummy Tuck
Liposuction and Body Contouring • Trunk Lift • Arm Lift • Thigh Lift • Skin Cancer Removal • Labiaplasty
352.259.8599 / plasticSurgeryVIP.com / 607 CR 466A, Fruitland Park