Harvard graduate sets sights on superior patient care – Dr. Leslie Sims
Having arrived in Las Vegas only a few months ago, Dr. Leslie Sims is the only African-American in the state of Nevada who practices oculoplastic surgery — the cosmetic, corrective, and reconstructive surgery of the structures around the eye.
It is no accident that this talented woman is already considered a trailblazer in her field. A Harvard graduate who studied medicine at Yale, she also has a master’s degree in public and international health from the University of North Carolina. With those impressive credentials on her résumé, Sims was a natural recruit to practice at Westfield Eye Center when the time came to expand its menu of services.
“I am trained in ophthalmology and fellowship trained in oculoplastic and reconstructive surgery with an emphasis on aesthetics surgery,” said Sims. Also specializing in reconstructive surgery of the face, neck, and hands, Sims jokes that she is all too happy to help uphold the old adage “black don’t crack.”
To a large degree, Sims is seeing patients who are concerned about the aging process. “I provide botox treatments and all of the dermal fillers for lines in the face that include laugh lines and lines in the forehead,” she said. “There is first a private consultation, so that we can determine what you are trying to achieve. Not so much of what you want, but what you need.”
In much of her work, Sims works around her patients’ eyelids to correct any lumps, bumps, wrinkles, unwanted freckles and skin spots. “Some of us get red and brown spots from the sun — this is especially prevalent in Las Vegas, where sun damage is rapid,” she said. “We also treat the hands in addition to the face. The hands are also telling when it comes to the aging process. Your face might look great, but your hands can tell a completely different story.”
Sims acknowledges that many African-Americans are wary of the prospect of plastic surgery. Still, there are problems unique to darker skin that could convince some to be more receptive. “African-American women and some Hispanic women might seek services, because when they are pregnant they might discover a discoloration in their face and dark color blotching,” said Sims. “This is called melasma, [it] occurs when estrogen and or progesterone stimulates pigmentation hormones, causing dark brown or gray, irregular-sized patches on the face. We can treat this. Our skin integrity tends to fare well over the years — but for lighter-skinned black women, they might develop skin spots. The laxity and excessive skin around the eyes might cause problems as we grow older.”
“There is first a private consultation, so we can determine what you are trying to achieve. Not so much of what you want, but what you need.”
- Dr. Leslie Sims, Westfield Eye Center
Addressing another fear specific to African-Americans, Sims said prospective cosmetic surgery patients should not harbor outsize fears about keloids — the thick, raised nodules that sometimes emerge after an injury. She notes that many modern procedures are accomplished through nonsurgical means, without cutting the skin. “At Westfield Eye Center we have a current technology that will tighten the skin, as opposed to using lasers that might cause damage,” said Sims. “One thing to know about keloids is that they don’t normally occur on the face, unless you have an unattended wound. The face is actually very forgiving as it pertains to keloids. A lot of people might experience having a keloid on the back of their ear lobe or on their chest. Keloids, in terms of what I do, are a rarity — but they usually form after an injury on the thicker parts of skin on the body such as the arms, legs, back, and the earlobe.”
Now that she is settled into Las Vegas, Sims is eager to become more deeply involved in the community while providing superior care to her patients.
“Your experience with my services will be … consistent,” she said. “I will be available and accessible to answer questions and concerns of my patients — and any issues they have about their procedure. I will be there in the beginning, middle and in your own process of recovery. You will never go through a procedure with me and afterward hear my door close with, ‘Have a nice day.’ On the contrary — I will be there.”