Friday, April 16th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Dr. Julia Stevenson celebrates one year of helping others be their best selves

by Candance Moore

Dr. Julia Stevenson of Cardinal Plastic Surgery

Dr. Julia Stevenson of Cardinal Plastic Surgery

"Whatever you are, be a good one." When this famous quote was coined over 150 years ago, there was no social media and no continuous advertising, putting forth unattainable standards of physical beauty. A lot has certainly changed in recent decades, and yet this quote remains popular.

At Cardinal Plastic Surgery in Chesapeake, Julia Stevenson, MD, embraces the quote's enduring philosophy. She uses the tools of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery to help her patients achieve the best version of themselves- inside and out.

"The first thing I tell my patients is that beauty and value are found in who they are," Dr. Stevenson explains. "Plastic surgery wasn't developed as a means to become a different person. I help my patients figure out what their best self would look like, and we go forward with that vision."

When Dr. Stevenson opened Cardinal Plastic Surgery, one year ago, this positive philosophy served as the practice's foundation. Since then, patients from across Hampton Roads have sought her out, encouraged in no small part by her positive presence in social media. Speaking from the intersection of a healthy self-image and the latest plastic surgery options, her refreshingly positive voice has attracted a growing following online.

"The first thing I tell my patients
is that beauty and value
are found in who they are.
Plastic surgery wasn't developed
as a means to become
a different person."

 - Dr. Julia Stevenson

A passion for serving ordinary people shaped her medical journey from the start. Born and raised in Ohio among a loving middle-class family, she was determined to take those values with her to medical school. After completing her undergraduate education at Hampton, she was accepted to Penn State College of Medicine where she completed her medical education and was first exposed to plastic surgery

Dr. Stevenson returned to Hampton Roads in 2017 to open her own Plastic Surgery practice to serve the needs of the community. Cardinal Plastic Surgery opened in December of 2018 and is now celebrating its one-year anniversary.

Dr. Stevenson provides general plastic surgery care, which consists of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.  "Many often don't know all that falls within the field of plastic surgery," she explains. "It can be hand surgery (carpal tunnel syndrome, fractures, injuries and amputations), breast surgery (reductions, reconstruction, lifts and augmentations), facial surgery (facial bone fractures, eyelid surgery, skin cancer removal & reconstruction, face/neck lifts) and other surgeries on the remainder of the body."

Currently, Dr. Stevenson has privileges at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, Sentara Princess Anne Hospital and Norfolk General.

In advising her patients, Dr. Stevenson is guided by her commitment to the highest medical and ethical standards. She steers patients away from making decisions based on impulses or on unrealistic hopes for particular outcomes. For her, the healthiest and most practical solution for each patient is always top of mind.

"Surgery is surgery, whether cosmetic or not," she says. "No one should go under anesthesia for a procedure they don't understand or with a physician they haven't come to trust."

New patients meet with Dr. Stevenson  for an in-depth consultation before any procedure is agreed upon. She asks detailed questions about any medical conditions with which they're living, as well as any past surgeries, and other relevant medical data.

Then she moves on to what could be called the soul diagnosis: Why do they want a particular procedure? Some patients might have a birth defect or a blemish they're simply tired of living with. Others may have survived cancer and want to remedy the visible effects of that disease. Others may need a healthier, more youthful-looking complexion to pursue a career in a competitive field such as broadcasting or modeling. All of these are good reasons to invest in plastic surgery. Undergoing such a procedure to please others is not. Dr. Stevenson  has actually convinced patients to wait when she sensed there was more to their story than what they initially shared.

"I took an oath to make my patients better, not worse," she says frankly. "I can't in good conscience assist them with poor life choices."

This approach may cost her the temporary gain of a procedure or two. Still, it's earned her a reputation as an ethical plastic surgeon who values the physical and emotional well-being of those she serves. After exploring options and likely outcomes with patients, her recommendations are often more reasonable and affordable than they originally anticipated.

She works with patients of all ages, shapes, and sizes, particularly on reconstructive procedures. While men can certainly benefit from cosmetic procedures, Dr. Stevenson  says women still comprise most of her patient base. As a woman who's flipped through her share of fashion magazines, she feels the cultural pressure put on females regarding their physical appearance. When she's not at her practice, she's often working on charity or advocacy efforts to help other women.

Unequal access to medical care is one of her primary concerns. She's served in medical missions overseas and in local communities. Pink Perseverance, a non-profit breast cancer support group, recently featured Dr. Stevenson as a keynote speaker. Many breast cancer survivors were shocked to learn of the plastic surgery options available to them that were not offered.

"Half of my work is educating people about plastic surgery," she remarks with a smile. "There are still many misconceptions, but I am seeing signs that things are changing."

As Cardinal Plastic Surgery celebrates its first anniversary and a year of phenomenal growth, Dr. Stevenson's future plans are simply to continue helping patients.

"I'm happy where I am," she says. "I'm making a difference and helping my patients. That's all I need for now."

Cardinal Plastic Surgery

300 Medical Parkway
Chesapeake, VA 23320