Mayo Clinic Alumni Association – Know Your Board – Patricia Yugueros, M.D.
Provides leadership | Makes policy decisions | Decides strategic direction and vision
Patricia Yugueros, M.D. (PLS ’99, HAND ’00, PRES ’02)
- Chief, Plastic Surgery
- Emory Johns Creek Hospital
- Founder and CEO
- Luna Plastic Surgery
- Johns Creek, Georgia
- Fellowship: Hand and microvascular surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery research, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education, Rochester, Minnesota
- Residency: Plastic and reconstructive surgery, general surgery, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education; general surgery, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia
- Medical school: Universidad del Valle
- Native of: Cali, Colombia
I’m the youngest of seven children — five brothers and one sister — who grew up in Colombia. When I was 5, I had appendicitis and was very sick in the hospital for a few weeks. The doctors were nice and let me play with the leftover supplies. I started to pretend to be a doctor. After that, whenever my brothers had injuries, they came to me to clean their wounds. That’s where it all started. I was the first person in my family interested in medicine.
Why Mayo Clinic
During the first year of medical school, I studied medical books that had before-and-after pictures of babies with cleft palate and neurofibromatosis. I was fascinated to see what plastic surgeons could do. I never veered from that interest throughout my training.
My husband, Juan Sarmiento, M.D. (SR ’96, PRES ’98, S ’00, SGI ’02, former president of Mayo Clinic Alumni Association), and I went to the same medical school and had the same general surgery residency in Colombia. He was a year ahead of me. When he finished residency, we wanted to go to Mayo Clinic to see if training there was a possibility. We fell in love with Mayo; it was our dream place to continue training.
We both were accepted as visiting clinicians at Mayo for three months. After we finished our residencies in Colombia, we went back to do research at Mayo — Juan, in colorectal surgery, and me, with John Woods, M.D. (S ’66, PLS ’68, deceased). There was no plastic surgery research program at the time. I did clinical research papers with various attending physicians and took classes in epidemiology. A year after doing research without being paid, we ran out of money. Fortunately, Juan got into the preliminary intern program and then the categorical program. I was accepted in the plastic surgery program and did two years of plastic surgery fellowship followed by a hand fellowship. Then, I received a letter stating I needed to repeat three years of general surgery residency. After completing two years, the powers that be decided I had not needed to do that. My path to become a board-certified surgeon in the U.S. was certainly difficult!
For us, Mayo Clinic was the most amazing, wonderful experience; it opened the doors to our future. We trained with wonderful mentors. Everyone at Mayo loves their job, and you can feel the joy.
Mayo Clinic also gave us our daughters — via IVF. We are parents because of Mayo Clinic.
When we moved to Atlanta in 2003, I became an attending physician at Emory. After five years, I decided to spend more time with our children, so I started working in private practice. I have served as the chief of plastic surgery at Emory Johns Creek hospital for over 10 years. The hospital does a lot of bariatric surgery, and I do the reconstruction portion. It is rewarding to rebuild the body of a patient who has achieved massive weight loss. My practice consists of cosmetic and reconstruction surgeries. I like to be of service to a very diverse community of patients from many parts of the world.
I want to give back and show my gratitude to Mayo Clinic in any way I can.
I love to read, watch movies and spend time with my husband and our daughters. Sofia, 19, is a premed student at Emory University. Angie, 17, is a senior in high school and is also interested in medicine. They are both hoping to study surgery.