I am Tulsa - Dr. Nicole Patel
Cosmetic surgeon with Aesthetic Surgery Institute of America and member of Tulsa's Young Professionals.
In a house at 1723 E. 15th St. is an office where comfort meets New York City chic.
Inside Dr. Nicole Patel’s cosmetic surgery practice, Aesthetic Surgery Institute of America, she keeps her first-floor office in modern décor with black screen shades cooling her windows, white leather couches for her patients and limited ornamentation for a simple yet ultra-stylish work environment.
“It’s what represents me,” she says.
Patel and her family moved to Tulsa in late 2007, “right before the ice storm,” when her husband, Jayen, was offered a partnership at Tulsa Pain Consultants, she says. She started her one-year fellowship at Tulsa Surgical Arts with Dr. Angelo Cuzalina and Dr. James Koehler and finished her cosmetic training.
Now, Patel has her own cosmetic practice, which enables her to balance her family life and career.
“Now I can hang out with my son more and go to the gym if I want,” she says. “When you’re in training, you’re always on someone else’s schedule.”
Because of the years required for training and the time it takes away from starting a family, the cosmetic surgery field has traditionally attracted male doctors, making Patel unique. In Tulsa, she says she knows of no other female cosmetic surgeons and only one female plastic surgeon. She says that with the support from her husband of six years, she successfully maintains her career and family, and she hopes to expand her family in the near future.
Raised in Rockford, Ill., just an hour and a half from Chicago, Patel says she always knew she wanted to be a cosmetic surgeon. Her mother was a local pharmacist and a family friend was a plastic surgeon, whose procedures Patel would observe as a high school student.
“I found surgery fascinating in general because of the kind of dramatic changes you can make,” she says. “It’s great to see the patients happy with their outcome.”
Patel graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign, where she majored in philosophy and minored in Italian (her mother is Italian), although she kept pre-med as a structure for medical school.
“I wanted to diversify my education, although I knew I wanted to go to medical school,” she says.
Patel studied at Rush Medical College in Illinois for medical school, and soon thereafter moved to New York City for her general surgery residency at Mount Sinai Cabrini Medical Center, where she met her husband and spent her time studying and exploring Manhattan for five years. She cites the big city as the reason for some of her favorite areas in Tulsa.
“One of my favorite places in Tulsa is the Brookside area,” she says. “It has a New York feel to it with its trendy shops and coffee shops … It’s also more walkable like New York.”
Patel spends most of her days consulting with patients (mostly female, she says, although she welcomes male patients) on procedures such as Botox, breast lift and reduction, tummy tucks, laser liposuction, lip enhancements and more.
“I enjoy helping women feel better about their body,” she says. “There are so many pressures on women, but we’re the everyday women. We’re the real people.”
She also says being a female cosmetic surgeon helps her female patients feel more comfortable around her.
“Women are usually there because they are not happy with the way they look,” Patel says. “They are often uncomfortable with having a man look at them. With me, it’s just another woman looking at them like a women’s locker room, so they tend to feel more comfortable with me.”
Earlier this year, Patel joined Tulsa’s Young Professionals (TYPros), and she says she looks forward to spending more of her free time attending its events with the flexibility of her new schedule and practice.
“It’s good there are so many professional organizations that help small businesses,” she says. “And it’s growing. It’s amazing.”
Although Patel says she never imagined living in Tulsa, she and her husband enjoy making Tulsa their home, raising a family and establishing their careers here.
“I’m excited about having my practice here and filling a niche that wasn’t here for women before,” she says.
I AM dedicated to Tulsa because: My husband and I have been embraced by the community and believe Tulsa is a wonderful place to grow with our family and our careers. We looked throughout America and abroad and have decided to stay in Tulsa as a young family.
I AM a member of Tulsa’s Young Professionals because: It is important to me to meet other young professionals who have similar goals and desires at this stage in life.
I AM passionate about: helping people feel good about their appearance. Beauty is a powerful attribute, and even more powerful is the perception of one’s inner beauty. My specialty allows me to help men and women feel better about their outward appearance, which is very gratifying for me.
I AM looking forward to: seeing Tulsa continue to grow. There are so many exciting projects under way, and it seems the rest of the country has noticed what an excellent city Tulsa is to live in.
I AM proudest of: having the best (and cutest) baby. I love my work, and I really love being a mom, too.
I AM an asset to Tulsa because: I fill a void in an area that is often overlooked. Female surgeons are difficult to come by, especially in the arena of cosmetic surgery. I love that I largely treat women, and of the women I treat, most are moms. As a woman, I understand a woman’s concerns, stressors and needs, and I try to provide a comfortable environment for them.