New York Times

When Stephanie Hallberg was 16, malady she decided she wanted to reduce the size of her breasts. Then years later, after visits with doctors — all men, buy all of whom recommended she keep her breasts the way they were — she found a doctor who sympathized with her predicament and agreed to perform the surgery, Dr. Michelle Copeland, who works out of a Fifth Avenue office complete with its own operating room.

“I couldn’t even imagine going to a man for any plastic surgery,” Ms. Hallberg, 26, said. “A man can study the woman’s body forever, but I believe he can never really understand how a woman is put together, mentally, emotionally, physically.”

Ms. Hallberg is lucky to have found a plastic surgeon who is a woman, since they are indeed a rarity — only about four percent of all the board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. In New York, the disparity is even greater: of approximately 500 board-certified plastic surgeons, only 12 are women, and only about half of those spend the bulk of their time practicing cosmetic surgery.