Palo Alto plastic surgeon Dr. Jill L. Hessler continues to innovate by harnessing a patient’s own stem cells to speed recovery.
Dr. Jill L. Hessler
In a region where innovation is in everyone’s professional DNA, Dr. Jill L. Hessler continues to push boundaries. The Palo Alto-based doctor, who’s a double-board-certified facial plastic surgeon and lecturer and instructor at Stanford, recently sat down with us to discuss everything from the latest surgical techniques to health and beauty.
Let’s talk about the latest advancements in plastic surgery involving stem cells. It sounds fascinating.
One of the most exciting advancements in plastic surgery is harnessing one’s own stem cells and growth factors to achieve natural results with minimal downtime. A new technique I’m using to aid in healing and enhance rejuvenation is the addition of platelet-rich plasma and platelet-rich fibrin matrix to laser and surgical facial procedures.
What’s the history of this technique?
Historically, there was a concern about combining laser resurfacing with facial rejuvenation surgery, due to the increased risk of scarring to delicate facial skin. However, newer laser technologies allow precise application of the laser energy that can be adjusted to minimize and prevent adverse side effects while enhancing outcomes. In the past, patients needed months to recover from surgery, but with these techniques, I’m often able to get patients back to work and social activities in just over a week. It makes the process much more manageable for my busy Silicon Valley clients.
Beyond plastic surgery, your practice offers laser treatments, injections and other minimally invasive services—how do you work with patients to determine what’s right for them?
My goal is to really understand the entire picture for a patient: Where are you in your work life? Will you be starting a new job? When will the kids be out of the house? What significant events and milestones are upcoming? By understanding these factors, I work with patients to create a plan that [offers] the best surgical result and makes sense for their life and lifestyle. In some situations, it may not be the right time for surgery, but we’re able to provide other options to get someone ready for an upcoming event, like a TED Talk or wedding.
What’s your overall philosophy about helping clients achieve their best selves?
I’m a plastic surgeon, and while it may seem that my goal is to just improve people’s appearances, my approach is holistic. I listen carefully to patients to understand their concerns and get to the root of what they need. I give objective advice based on my years of experience and then use my skills in plastic surgery to achieve a balanced and more youthful appearance. Ultimately, my goal is to enhance my patients’ confidence and allow their best qualities to shine through.
What are your skincare routines?
Besides protecting my skin from the sun, one of the most important parts of my skincare routine is to go to bed with a clean face. I don’t wear much makeup, but dirt, pollution and natural oils are reason enough to clean your face before going to sleep.
An essential product I can’t go without is topical vitamin C. There have been many studies demonstrating the benefits of vitamin C in helping with sun protection, pigmentation issues and as an antioxidant for the skin. Using topical vitamin C can also enhance the effectiveness of your sunscreen to provide further protection to your skin, which is so important with the intensity of the sun here in California. I’ve tried many medical-grade skincare products, but the regimen I always go back to is the Jan Marini system. This system has a few steps—which can intimidate some—but it’s actually quite simple. It consists of vitamin C, glycolic acid, growth factors and sunscreen. I love the glow it provides my skin without being harsh or abrasive, while also repairing skin damage at a cellular level.
What are your go-to workouts to stay fit?
I love to run outside and hike with our kids and goldendoodle. One of the benefits of living here is an abundance of great hiking trails. As a surgeon, I often operate four days a week. These are long procedures, where I use special loupes to magnify features for precise detail. These glasses require me to keep my head angled down and focused in a specific position for many hours a day, which can be hard on my neck. I love using my Peloton indoors and cycling outdoors, because the position of riding strengthens the posterior neck and postural muscles, which balance the opposing muscles used in surgery. This helps me be a better surgeon, keeps my body healthy and will hopefully allow me to continue to do what I love most—surgery—for a very long time.
As the Bay Area slowly opens again and life gets back to quasi-normal, what are you most excited about?
I look forward to going to restaurants and getting together with friends and family. Like most of us, over the past year, I’ve participated in many Zoom happy hours, but I’m very ready to connect in person. And there are a bunch of great new local restaurants to check out. On my list: Traci Des Jardins’ El Alto.
Photography by: Photo courtesy of Hessler Plastic Surgery