Fulfilling his longtime dream of owning his own practice, Dr. Landon Pryor is setting his sights on many more years. Learn how this plastic surgeon helps patients to find a new form.
When Dr. Landon Pryor applied for medical school, he started his personal written statement with a quote: “We are here to add what we can to life, not take what we can from it.” This sentiment remains the guiding principle of his medical practice today.
“I’m fortunate to have found a field of medicine that I’m very enthusiastic about,” says Pryor, a board-certified plastic surgeon who uses his skills in a variety of ways to improve a person’s form and function.
Pryor came to Rockford in 2009 to serve as medical director for the Rockford Center for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Rockford Health System, and as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon with Affiliated Surgeons of Rockford. A year ago, he opened his own practice, Transformations Plastic Surgery, 1639 N. Alpine Road, Ste. 400. “It was always my goal to run my own practice,” Pryor says. “Not having full control of running a practice limits your potential for growth.”
Examples of cosmetic procedures, both surgical and non-invasive, include “mommy makeover” body treatments, liposuction, facelifts and BOTOX injections. Reconstructive procedures may involve rebuilding a breast after cancer surgery, repairing flesh after an accident or dog bite, or chronic wound care related to a diabetic non-healing ulcer of the leg.
“We’ve had a lot of growth in a short amount of time,” says Pryor. “We’ve grown quickly in the amount of cosmetic surgery we do and also in the non-cosmetic market.”
Transformations has 10 employees, and Pryor hopes to add a second physician soon. Caring staff and the best possible equipment are part of his success formula.
“We’ve invested in state-of-the-art equipment,” says Pryor, who handles minor cosmetic procedures in his office. More involved surgeries are usually performed at Rockford Ambulatory Surgery Center.
“Our office serves both as the gold standard for patients looking for rejuvenation with surgery, and as the place patients can access state-of-the-art, non-surgical procedures,” says Pryor. “I wanted to accommodate both types of patients in my practice.”
Pryor grew up in Skokie, a Chicago suburb. His parents are educators, a fact that may explain his passion for treating children. “I thought about going into pediatrics but it wasn’t a good fit,” he says. “I wanted to be more surgically oriented. Plastic surgery was a better fit for me.”
Pryor graduated from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in 2002. He completed his General Surgery/Plastic Surgery residency at Summa Health System/Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine, in 2007. Wanting to maximize his surgical training, he next completed two independent, one-year postgraduate fellowships in plastic surgery subspecialties. One was a Pediatric/Craniofacial Fellowship through the University of California, San Diego/Rady Children’s Hospital, and Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, a nonprofit organization designed to provide free reconstructive surgery to children in need worldwide. The other was a Fellowship in Cosmetic Surgery of the Face and Body at the world-acclaimed Cleveland Clinic Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
“This thorough training helped me to build my practice because I can deal with many types of cosmetic issues,” says Pryor. “It gives me the ability to do more cosmetic rejuvenation, compared to someone who hasn’t had that type of experience.”
During his training, Pryor traveled to Central and South America to serve others, and he’s planning a future trip to Peru.
“I think doing charitable work in developing countries is important,” he says. “As a plastic surgeon, I feel fortunate to be able to change the lives of those who wouldn’t otherwise be treated. A lot of places I’ve been to are bare bones. They have minimal access to any type of health care. Even basic medications are hard to come by. People are sick from things that are easily treated here in the United States, such as cleft lip and palate, and hand and facial anomalies.”
Pryor’s generosity extends locally, as well. In 2009, he helped launch Breast Oasis, a nonprofit devoted to providing gently used, clean bras to women in need. The first donation of 300 bras went to the Rockford Rescue Mission.
“As a plastic surgeon, I see patients going through changes and discarding perfectly good bras and undergarments,” he says. “We developed an organization that collects, cleans and distributes gently used and new bras. We’ve given away thousands of bras locally and have expanded the practice to 13 states and internationally.”
Cosmetic surgery remains the fastest growing segment of Pryor’s practice. He does body and facial rejuvenation treatments such as eyebrow lifts and facelifts, BOTOX injections, breast augmentation, breast reduction, tummy tucks and liposuction.
“Our practice is pretty typical,” Pryor says. “Most of our patients are female, but men are becoming more aware of options, and less private about it.”
One such man is David Greenlee, who visited Pryor after discovering a sun spot on his back and suspicious-looking moles elsewhere on his body. Pryor biopsied and removed the sun spot and moles. “Thankfully, the results were all benign, but while I was there, Dr. Pryor noticed a scar on my cheek and said he thought he could reduce its appearance if I wanted him to do it,” says Greenlee, who is employed by Macy’s at Cherryvale Mall as a specialist in men’s suits. “I went ahead with it, and you’d have to study my face up close in a bright light to even know this scar had ever existed. It amazed me.”
Along with good health, a sense of confidence about the way you look tends to enhance quality of life, says Pryor. That’s why many of his patients are women in the 35 to 55 age bracket. “They’re starting to see some visible signs of aging on their faces or bodies and are looking to change that,” he says. “Younger women are looking for breast augmentation, while older women are looking for facial rejuvenation.”
Some people just want to be more competitive in the workforce. “It’s no mystery that a more attractive, heathier-looking person might seem like a better prospect to employers,” says Pryor. “That’s well-known in the marketplace. And some people do it to look more attractive to the opposite sex. Also, people are living longer and feeling healthy into later ages, and they want to look as good as they feel.”
Such is the case for Sherry Ackerman of Rockford, a Berkshire-Hathaway real estate broker who’s 46 but feels 30 again, thanks to Pryor, who has performed several cosmetic procedures on her face and breasts. Pryor is the fourth plastic surgeon Ackerman has known. “He gave me my life back,” she says. “He’s meticulous and by far the most talented plastic surgeon I have ever had. He’s my plastic surgeon for life. In my mind, there is no other. He not only hears, he listens. His results are the best I have ever experienced.”
Keeping her appearance in top shape is important to Ackerman as a career woman. And she’s impressed that his office staff is as caring as he is, and make calls to follow up on her wellbeing after procedures.
As much as he loves his work, Pryor is a realist and likes his patients to be honest with themselves, too. There are inherent risks with any surgery, he says.
“It’s important to make sure the doctor is properly accredited with education and board certifications,” says Pryor. “People want a better version of themselves, but they don’t want to look different or noticeable. I’m very conscious of that. I try to make patients better in a natural way, and in the ways they have envisioned for themselves.”
A bad outcome is usually the result of bad communication between patient and physician, says Pryor. “Part of our job is to educate patients and come to an understanding about what is going to be the best long-term correction for them. Just because some people want to look a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m the right surgeon for them.”
Pryor offers complimentary consultations to patients who’ve never considered plastic surgery.
“It’s worthwhile to come in and learn what the options are,” he says. “If they don’t want surgery, there are other options – state-of-art, non-surgical procedures.”