Dr. Chelsea Wallace, a University of Alabama alumna, is blazing a trail in a male-dominated field by becoming the first woman in the city to practice plastic surgery.

Earlier this month, Wallace announced that she is joining Dr. Ross Bunch's team at Plastic Surgery of Tuscaloosa, where her practice promises to have a personal touch.

Wallace is from Florence, Alabama, and she graduated from Wilson High School. She got her undergrad from UA and her medical degree from UAB. 

In an interview with the Thread, Wallace said she knew she wanted to pursue an integrated plastic surgery residency, but no one offered one in Alabama. She was ultimately accepted to the University of Kentucky for her plastic surgery residency. 

During her first year of medical school, Wallace spent a summer rotating through surgical subspecialties under the advisement of her mentor, Dr. Luis Vasconez. 

Through this experience, Wallace was able to see the full spectrum of plastic surgery, sparking a passion for reconstructive and cosmetic surgery of the breast, body and face. 

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One procedure meant more to Wallace than the rest, though -- she said a large part of her enthusiasm for plastics came from seeing firsthand the transformative power of breast cancer reconstruction surgeries.

“What I was most passionate about was breast reconstruction," she said. "It was just really inspiring to see these ladies and to be able to be that end of the road for them where you could be able to restore their functionality, their sense of womanhood, and help them to then go on to live a fulfilled life without feeling like they have any type of a deficit.” 

Wallace said she is now experienced with all types of breast surgery, including reductions, cosmetic enhancements and post-pregnancy operations. She also performs other surgical and nonsurgical techniques for the skin, face and body.

Wallace said she hopes her career in Tuscaloosa can inspire other women in the community to pursue whatever jobs they want. 

“You know, you have the ability," Wallace said. "Don't doubt yourself if there's something that you want to do, even if you may be the first, go for it.” 

Wallace said she believes potential patients will find it easier to relate to a woman, and that she can serve as a confidant for anyone contemplating surgery. 

“A consultation is really just a conversation to say, 'Hey, what is this? What options do I have? Is this the right timing?'" Wallace said. "Maybe for some it's not and but maybe for some it is and that you'll find that the information gives you the courage, the knowledge to make that decision."

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