It's easy to focus on the basics when evaluating your doctor. Did they go to medical school? Do they have a good reputation with patients and the medical community? These questions are an important part of choosing and building a relationship with your physician, but we also believe knowing more about your physician leads to better communication about your healthcare! At CSA Surgical Center, we want you to have a familiar face behind the stethoscope. It can make all the difference to your quality of care!
Meet Columbia Surgical Associates' newest member of the team, Dr. Leslie Shock! Dr. Shock is a Missouri native & specializes in many areas of plastic surgery, including breast reconstructive surgery, upper extremity procedures, cosmetic surgery and more. Follow along below to hear her story and learn about her talented career. We're so excited to have her with us!
- When did you know you wanted to become a doctor? What about choosing plastics as your specialty?
With even my earliest memories from childhood, one of my favorite games was pretending to be a doctor and helping others with minor scrapes and bruises. I had other dreams, but becoming a doctor was one that never wavered. I knew very quickly that I liked to build, create and fix things with my hands, so surgery was something I naturally fell into. It was the summer following my freshman year of undergrad that my mom actually suggested I check out plastic surgery. I cold called the office of Dr. Puckett, who soon after became a mentor, and I started shadowing in plastic surgery. I still remember my first day with him. At that time, I was able to observe a breast reconstructive surgery, then attend his plastic surgery clinic with him. What seemed to be minutes must have been hours, because before I knew it, the last patient left and a full day of clinic was over. I was fascinated by the different and creative ways that the elegant, yet challenging surgeries can bring dramatic improvements in a patient's life upon both functional and personal levels. Since that day, I have felt a sense of purpose. I knew at that time that I wanted to become a plastic and reconstructive surgeon and was determined to make it happen.
- What is your most memorable accomplishment and why?
Becoming a plastic surgeon and helping others with medicine is something I have always felt a duty towards; but selfishly, I believe my most memorable accomplishment revolves around sports and something I believe that made me unique and pushed my limits to the max.
In track & field, usually runners or fielders stick to a handful of events and specialize in those events. This is not only strategic, but also preserves energy and strength to be able to perform your best at those specific events. When I was running track at JCHS, you were allowed 4 events to compete in. I was sat down by my coaches who gave me the choice of running the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, and the 4x400m relay; or, running all three with the addition of the 400m open. For those that don't know the order of events in MO, the 400m open is the race immediately before the 300m hurdles, so frequently, the time between races was less than 15 minutes. I had the fastest time in the state at the time in the 300m hurdles, so running the 400m immediately prior would likely jeopardize my potential for records or championships in the 300m hurdle race. I chose what was best for the team in that running both races gave the opportunity to generate more points than doing my best in just one; plus, I liked the idea of the challenge of pushing the limits on what my conditioning could pull off. I believed in myself and made it to State two years in a row, running those four races. I still remember to this day, having less than 10 minutes turnaround, skipping the podium after placing in the 400m open, and slapping out charley horses in my lead leg hip flexor in the starting blocks of the 300m hurdles. I did well in both events – not as well as I would have in either alone, but it is likely my most memorable accomplishment because, at the time, I did something that was physically unheard of, or at the very least, rare in track and field of running those two races back-to-back. It required sacrifice of individual glory for team glory and was just flat-out hard. I think of this moment often and feel so much pride over regret for the decision I made, and what I was mentally and physically able to perform.
- What is one item you couldn't live without?
Just one? I don't like these questions. I take them too literally. Water. I definitely could not live without water. If my husband counts as an item, then him. Sorry, Forrest, to itemize you. Assuming all family and friends are included and basic needs are met then I would say my running shoes. Running is something that brings me joy, and they are very comfortable.
- What is your favorite place to eat in Columbia? Your favorite menu item?
Another tough question! I could easily give a list from breakfast to dessert! But, if I am going all-out, then I would say CC's blackened, medium-rare, wagyu filet with a side of their lobster newburg sauce.
- Which was your favorite Birthday you celebrated and why?
I again am probably answering this incorrectly, but it was actually one of my husband's birthdays. Early in our marriage, he had never been skiing or snowboarding before, let alone been to actual snow-covered mountains away from the Ozark mountains. I had secretly planned a short snowboarding trip to Colorado and, for his birthday present, had packed a suitcase filled with new clothes and gear for snowboarding. I loaded it in his trunk and he dropped me off for my ObGyn final in medical school. When he picked me up I had him look in the trunk and drive us straight to the airport instead of heading home. I love remembering his excitement and sharing in that experience.
- What is a hidden talent of yours?
I love deep sea fishing! In college my friends and I won a Shark Tournament (We even beat the professional teams!)
- What was your first job?
My first job, as like many people's, was babysitting.
- What is one of your Bucket List items?
I'd love to see the northern lights.
- What is your favorite way to spend your weekend?
Doing something outside with my husband and son - biking, hiking, swimming, boating, etc; then ending the day eating a great meal, watching the sunset, and finishing the night with a good movie or show. I recently restored a vintage bike for my mom to ride at the beach, that was a fun project. Each spot was hand painted with love!
- What is the career highlight you are most proud of?
During plastic surgery residency, I submitted a couple of my research projects to the 2019 International Society of Craniofacial Surgery held in Paris, France. I was able to present our findings on non-syndromic abnormal head shapes of deformational plagiocephaly and brachycephaly – aka babies with flat heads – internationally to craniofacial surgeons and members of their teams from all other countries. It was surprising to me that in many European countries, they do not treat babies with flat or misshapen heads, as they feel it is cosmetic only. Although, there is an argument to the cosmetic component of a head shape. There is much we don't know regarding the developmental sequelae, as much of this problem started in the 90's and my research shed light on that. I was approached following my presentations by members of different countries' national health services, hoping that my research would help change the way these children were treated, eventually providing coverage for treatment of misshapen heads. Even if all my work did was spark a question, I am proud it reached people that could perhaps make a difference in the care of many.
- If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be?
Either something athletic like a pro in tennis or surfing or something indulgent like a French pastry chef or a wine sommelier.
- What was your first car?
A Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible.
- Where is your happy place?
In the gulf of Mexico on a paddle board or reeling in a big fish!
- What is your favorite song of all time and why?
'Africa' by Toto (even though it had a brief stint a few years back of being grossly overplayed).
- What TV character would you play and why?
Why do I immediately go to Game of Thrones? There is not a single character, however, that didn't have something terrible happen to them or do something terrible to someone else.
- What is your favorite holiday and why?
Christmas! Everything about it. The meaning, the family, the snow (hopefully), the decorations, the food, the presents…! Receiving presents is great, but I enjoy even more putting the thought into giving something to someone else that I think they will enjoy!
Dr. Leslie Shock joined Columbia Surgical Associates in 2022 after completing her residency of Integrated Plastic Surgery at the University of Missouri. In residency under an "apprenticeship" model, she had the opportunity to train under one of the former Presidents of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and engage in a wide variety of plastic surgery techniques and services, including breast reconstruction, pediatric plastic surgery, facial plastic surgery, hand surgery, upper extremity procedures and cosmetic surgery. She also contributed to the knowledge base of plastic surgery through publishing research and presenting at medical conferences, including an international conference in Paris, France. Dr. Shock lives in Columbia with her husband & son. As a family, they enjoy attending MU sporting events, running and biking on the local trails, watersports at the Lake, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying local restaurants and cafés.