For more than a quarter century, patients in Sacramento, the Bay Area and throughout California have trusted Dr. Debra J. Johnson with life-changing cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures. She is highly respected for her extraordinary skill, deep empathy and pioneering work as a leader in her profession.
Dr. Johnson was the first woman plastic surgeon in Sacramento. In 2016, she became the second woman ever to lead the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world.
As president of ASPS, she advanced a principle that has been central to her medical philosophy: “Plastic surgery is not just about enhancing aesthetics,” she says. “It is about rebuilding people’s lives.”
Dr. Johnson was awarded her medical degree by the Stanford University School of Medicine, and she also completed her plastic surgery residency at Stanford. She later broadened her perspective with a fellowship in cosmetic surgery at Clinica Planas in Barcelona and a fellowship in hand and microsurgery at the Institut Français de Chirurgie de la Main in Paris.
Patients and peers trust her for the same reasons — her integrity, professionalism and exceptional surgical talents. In addition, other surgeons appreciate her leadership skills, including her ability to build consensus.
It is no surprise that she has been repeatedly chosen by colleagues for a wide range of leadership roles, including past president of the Sacramento Society of Plastic Surgeons and former Chief of Surgery for Sutter Community Hospitals. She has been awarded the California Society of Plastic Surgeons Presidential Award for Exemplary Service for her advocacy of patient safety, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons President’s Award for outstanding service to the Society.
As co-director of the Sutter Cleft Lip, Palate, and Craniofacial Anomalies Panel, Dr. Johnson cares for children born with facial deformities. She devotes several weeks per year providing free reconstructive surgery in developing countries. She has traveled the world as part of more than 50 medical missions, giving children born with birth defects, or suffering from burn scars, a chance at a more normal life. She teaches other surgeons how to care for these children, so that more can be helped.
Closer to home, she has worked to establish programs to provide free plastic surgery for children in California who are unable to afford needed procedures. She also serves as Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery at the UC Davis Medical Center, teaching residents in training.
Dr. Johnson’s practice includes all aspects of cosmetic surgery, including the face, breast and body. She is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, where she also serves as a Director, and participates in the Continuing Certification process,, which assures ongoing learning in the specialty. She is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, and is perennially selected as a “Top Doc” by Sacramento magazine.
Dr. Johnson divides her time between Sacramento and Napa, where she has a small farm. There she grows fruits and vegetables, and produces honey, jams, olive oil and cabernet wine, in anticipation of a sustainable retirement.
Sacramento plastic surgeon Dr. Debra Johnson relaxes in the break room before a scheduled surgery Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, in Sacramento. Johnson assumed leadership of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons at the end of July, becoming only the second woman to hold that position in the 85-year history of the organization