From Dream to Reality 5

Experience, facility and heart drive Northwest Plastic Surgery Associates

New York City and Los Angeles—they can be anyone’s cities. Your first step on their streets is a way of staking your claim in some ways. Be anything, their buildings and too-bright lights will say to you. But Missoula’s welcome mat is different. Our community takes pride in being nestled within the last best place and offering a way of life that maybe isn’t right for everyone.

That’s what makes starting a business in Missoula riskier and, if you’re lucky, more rewarding than most places. It’s the investment, a hand shake, and farmers rubbing elbows with doctors and small business owners that make our town tick. Northwest Plastic Surgery Associates remembers the risk they took nearly 16 years ago when they moved their business from Madison, Wisconsin, to Missoula, and they’re happy to have buried their roots here despite not knowing what to expect.

Dr. Stephen Hardy and Chief Operating Officer Angela Hardy of Northwest Plastic Surgery Associates had always known Montana as a portrait of summer, where the view was Flathead Lake. It had never been a business venture until they looked at it more seriously—more as the wild dream that it is for all those beyond our borders. It wasn’t long before they purchased a practice from a plastic surgeon who was retiring and opened their doors in 2000.

Since then they’ve been successful, but it’s the careful concoction of experience, facility, and heart that drove them to be a staple in our community, and in the region, for tip to toe procedures. Dr. Hardy has a decorated background, carrying titles such as director of Pediatric Craniofacial Facial Surgery at Columbia University and chair of the same department at the University of Wisconsin. In addition to cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery, Dr. Hardy specializes in hand and pediatric cleft palate/craniofacial reconstruction.

“He has this philosophy where he says, ‘I have to treat every patient that I see as my mother, my sister, my daughter, my brother, my father, my uncle, my best friend…. The patient that I see first in the day [might have] the same issue as the person I see second in the day, but they’re not the same person so it’s not the same answer all the time,'” said Angela, when describing the emotional connection Dr. Hardy assigns to his work.

It’s not uncommon to think that Missoula couldn’t possibly have the most current technology suitable to do the more complex and efficient procedures but the fact of the matter is we do, right here in our own backyard. Northwest Plastic Surgery Associates has recently welcomed two of the newest waves of technology to their practice—CoolSculpting, permanently eliminating fat deposits with advanced cooling technology, and NeoGraft, a state-of-the-art automated hair transplant system for natural-looking results.

Though they are two popular, effective treatments, Angela and Dr. Hardy weren’t quick to rush them into their facility. Angela explained the careful thought process that’s involved with introducing anything new to their patients; theirs is a philosophy more interested in technology that works instead of the “latest and greatest” technology with all the buzz. Dr. Hardy wants his patients to be educated and to truly know what it is they’re asking for, sometimes by helping them find the right questions to ask in a consultation appointment.

“When you’re somebody like Dr. Hardy [who] truly thinks about the functionality of the human person and the biology with which it’s all connected, you think of things differently,” said Angela. That different way of thinking is also what led to the design of their facility. Angela said that she wanted to avoid a sterile, clinical environment and instead offer a warm, inviting space where patients can feel soothed.

The Missoula community has responded to Northwest Plastic Surgery Associates’ genuine nature with open arms over the past 16 years, allowing them to grow and become sponsors to the Grizzly Athletic Association and the Missoula Interfaith Collaborative, among many others. Angela notes their dedication to the Missoula Interfaith Collaborative as another way their message is mirrored throughout the community, reminding them why it is they chose to live in the Treasure State.

“They told me about this new business that they’re opening that transitions homeless and former convicts into work and [I thought], ‘What a great thing for our people and a great thing for the community,’ and it just is one of those things that speaks to everything that we stand for…putting people in a position to be the best person that they can be.”