Dr. Paula Amelia Moynahan
At six years of age, when Paula Amelia Moynahan articulated her intention to become a doctor, less than 10% of medical practitioners in the United States were women. Dr. Moynahan cannot recall a time, while raised in an Irish-Italian home in Waterbury, Connecticut, full of old-fashioned values, that she ever considered another profession. Honor, respect, compassion, duty and responsibility became the foundation on which the child built the brilliant future as a pioneer plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
That education was the second most important gift outside of life itself was imprinted on her by her parents. In an era where women became school-teachers nurses, and secretaries. Dr. Moynahan attended Notre Dame Academy, Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury then applied herself at the College of Mount St. Vincent in New York where she majored in Chemistry with a minor in Biology. The earnest young woman, beautiful, with wide blue eyes behind glasses gained entry into the Medical College of Pennsylvania when most schools or residency-training programs would not accept an application from a prospective female medical student. She earned her Doctor of Medicine in 1968 and her post graduate training took place at the prestigious Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, famous for treating celebrities.
Dr. Moynahan remains unfazed even now in the world of the mega-stars who beat a path to her door. “My patients include many prominent people, but when it comes to the doctor/patient relationship, each individual is special,” she says in her soft, measured tones. “Getting to know each, whether a house wife, or a bank clerk or someone highly visible in the performing arts, is both a wonderful privilege and responsibility. I cherish the privilege and am careful to never lose sight of my serious responsibilities.”
The senior surgeons at Lenox Hill Hospital, marveled at the skill and artistry the young doctor Moynahan displayed. One of the most acclaimed cardio-vascular surgeons in the US singled her out as eminently qualified to pursue a career in this rarefied field. But she determined her life’s work would be Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. “It’s a fulfillment of the creative process – it can be related to any artist who creates an improvement in nature. There is some of you that goes into each of these creations. When someone chooses plastic surgery for the right reasons, the usual result is a boost in the person’s morale and confidence. Good plastic surgery affects the spirit as well as the body. It serves to revitalize life itself. Self-esteem is improved.”
Only 17 women were certified by the American Board of plastic surgeons in 1975 when Dr. Moynahan completed the required seven years of post-graduate training to become double board certified in General Surgery and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Today, only a handful of women are double board certified. The success Dr. Moynahan has enjoyed in cosmetic surgery is built upon her vast experience in reconstructive surgery. When questioned as to how her gender affected her training and acceptance in the medical community, Dr. Moynahan smiles, “There were challenges, but for all the difficulties encountered, there were many helping hands.”
Pioneering surgery and practice
Dr. Moynahan continued to blaze a trail as Intern, Resident Surgeon and Chief Resident in General Surgery, Plastic Surgical Resident, Chief Resident in Plastic Surgery at Lenox Hill. In 1975, she opened her Fifth Avenue, Manhattan practice and an office in Waterbury, CT. The practice, synonymous with her refined aestheticism, were admired in global beauty publications.
While embracing advancements in the field of rejuvenation, Dr. Moynahan asserts that nothing is comparable to “the practice of medicine which is the synthesis of science and art.” Technology facilitates the process but it comes second to the eyes, hands and skill of the doctor. She studied under the creator of liposuction Dr. Gerard Yves Illouz in Paris, and is considered a pioneer in that area, as well as in the use of lasers and the dermatological aspects of plastic surgery. She was the first woman elected to membership in the Connecticut Society of Plastic Surgeons. As a participant in the Women’s Physician Delegation in 1990, she represented the US in the Citizen-Ambassador Program to the People’s Republic of China. Dr. Moynahan held the prestigious office as President of the New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons in 2002.
Among the first physicians to offer out-patient ambulatory surgery, she also developed anti-aging treatments including facials, glycolic acid rejuvenation peels, promoted Retin A, chemical peels, injectable collagen, Botox, and MEGA-peel. Her insights and opinions on plastic and reconstructive surgery are sought by the media and featured on MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal Television, the Wall Street Journal, Crain’s New York Business, The New York Post, Newsday, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Vogue, and Glamour publications. She has guest lectured at medical colleges, museums, United Nations Conferences, congregations and related organizations throughout the US and published the definitive “Dr. Paula Moynahan’s Guide to Cosmetic Surgery for Women,” by Crown.
The Dr. Paula Moynahan Difference
Awake before dawn, and in surgery by 7 a.m. to accommodate patients’ schedules, Dr. Moynahan is seasoned to demanding and detailed work and insists on the highest standards of service and patient care. Plastic surgery is not “cut, sew and goodbye” she says, rejecting the assembly-line approach. “Your plastic surgeon should always be available for you either in person or on the phone”
“When surgery is finally elected, it is the culmination of a process that begins with the doctor as educator. There is no such thing as a silly question. The patient needs to be fully informed before making a decision, one which will impact his or her life in such a significant way. It is essential for me to learn about the patient’s lifestyle, psychological attitudes, family circumstances and a host of interrelated issues unique to that person. I am absolutely convinced that as a plastic surgeon, I am influencing the mind, sometimes profoundly, as well as sculpting the body. Always I am committed to achieving an integration of the Greek ideal of “a sound mind in a sound body,” that gives me a great feeling of accomplishment. I alter a person’s life in a deeply positive and often permanent way.”
Dr. Moynahan’s patients have high praise for her kind, warm and nurturing approach and would not consider seeing another doctor as they seek her assistance to maintain their corporate careers, erase the effects of aging or simply feel better about themselves. She “didn’t put my body down to sell me services” said one appreciative woman.
The surgeon advocates both surgical and non-surgical treatments, and offers a wide range of surgical techniques and procedures for men and women. Improving the quality of life by enhancing self-image is a present people can give to themselves. “Who can quantify the impact increased confidence can have on your life?” mused Dr. Moynahan. She alludes to Sir Francis Bacon’s, “A beautiful face is a silent commendation,” in relation to the value of a youthful appearance and attractive look in our society, and qualifies it with, “It comes down to what we see, what we perceive as our “self” and what may make one person happy is different for another. Unhappiness is the same, whether in a slum or palace, and I believe in a “whole person” approach to cosmetic surgery.”
Skin care is a vital part of maintaining a youthful appearance as skin preparation is to achieving the maximum effects from plastic surgery procedures. “As I perform particularly facial cosmetic surgery, if the person doesn’t have good quality skin, the result I achieve may be compromised,” she stated.
To optimize the results for her patients, Dr. Moynahan developed a unique proprietary skin treatment line in 1984, constantly updated with every scientific advancement in skin care thereafter. The line consists of clinically formulated cleansers, toners, moisturizers and corrective treatments designed to treat different skin challenges and reverse the effects of “environmental wounding of the skin. Age spots, wrinkles, sagging, drooping, loss of facial contour, sinking and flattening are caused by the environment in which we live, love, work.” It is available for sale through www.paulamoynahanmd.com
Many Asian patients come from delighted recommendations, and have become the surgeon’s friends. Their positive experience using The Doctor Paula Skin Treatment regimen included an improved look and feel of their skin, a clear, smooth and wrinkle-reduced complexion with the light and glowing visage which patients treasure.
The After-Hours Doctor
“I wanted to touch people’s lives, and make them better. My greatest accomplishment, I believe, is that I am a good doctor,” said Dr. Moynahan. She trained physicians in Pakistan, conducting 12-hour days of surgery correcting congenital birth defects and burns. Nowadays, the few leisure hours in her life are spent on her Connecticut estate with her family of horses, dogs and cats, her friends, and her only sibling, renowned Connecticut lawyer, Timothy Moynahan.
“If you believe in the Hippocratic Oath, the greatest privilege is helping people get better.” For Dr. Moynahan, “success is a state of mind, arriving at that place in life where you are happy and at peace with yourself.”
Dr. Paula Moynahan MD, New York and Connecticut offices in the USA provides facial cosmetic surgery, body contouring, breast surgery, minimally invasive procedures (injectables and laser surgery) and state of the art skin treatments
- New York Top Doctors
- Leading Physicians of the World
- Guest speaker at the National Congress of Esthetics in Washington, D.C.
- Advisory Board of the Waterbury Opera
- Visiting professor with the University of Connecticut, School of Business Administration
- Member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery
- Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery
- Chair – Waterbury’s Hospital Department of Plastic Surgery
- Attending physician – Lenox Hill Hospital
- Attending physician – Manhattan Eye, Ear, Throat Hospital (MEETH)
- Attending physician – Doctor’s Hospital NY
- Attending physician – St. Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury, CT.
- Attending physician – Waterbury Hospital, Healthcare Center, Waterbury CT
- Attending physician – Naugatuck Valley Surgical Center, Waterbury, CT
- Advocated the ethical practice of medicine on MSNBC’s “Investigating Extreme Plastic Surgery”
- First woman elected to membership in the Connecticut Society of Plastic Surgeons
- Pakistan League of American Appreciation – 1992 (in appreciation for making Pakistan medical circles (PMC) and Pakistan Circles aware of modern technology in removing injury, skin burns, facial and body scars. Demonstrating the techniques by treating poor women in Pakistani villages)
- American Museum of Natural History, New York
- Asia Society, New York
- CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) New York
- Lenox Hill Physicians’ Association New York
- Mattatuck Museum on the Green, Waterbury, CT
- Metropolitan Club, New York
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- National Audubon Society, New York, NY.
- New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
- New York Botanical Garden Bronx, New York
- North Shore Animal League Port Washington, New York
- Smithsonian, Washington DC
- Stepping Stones Museum for Children, Norwalk, CT