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Meet Dr. Gray

Meet Leonard Gray, MD, FACS

Dr. Leonard Gray of Bay Area Plastic Surgery
“My philosophy is to take the absolute best care of my patients as possible. From the time they come in the door, I want their experience to be exemplary.”

Bay Area Plastic Surgery has seen considerable success over the past twenty years, largely due to the vision, skill, and commitment to excellence of Dr. Leonard Gray, the practice’s owner, director, and board-certified plastic surgeon. Dr. Gray maintains mastery in breast augmentation, breast lifts, breast revision surgeries, tummy tucks, liposuction, and many other procedures of the breast, body, and face. Additionally, Dr. Gray offers minimally invasive cosmetic procedures like non-surgical facial rejuvenation, BodyTite, FaceTite, and more.

As the owner of a genuinely patient-centered practice, Dr. Gray strives to ensure that his patients enjoy the best office experience, are thoroughly educated on each procedure’s details, and receive outstanding surgical results through his meticulous attention to detail.

A Leader in the Field

Dr. Gray is renowned for his expertise, skill, and innovation in cosmetic breast surgeries. He often performs highly complex breast revision surgeries, yielding outcomes that always aim to exceed his patients’ expectations. When treating capsular contracture, Dr. Gray utilizes a specialized technique that lowers the recurrence rate to less than 1% among his patients. He is also quite skilled at various mastopexy (breast lift) techniques and is one of the few plastic surgeons who understands and performs the vertical mastopexy method. Dr. Gray invented the non-surgical laser breast lift (LazeLift) for great results with minimal downtime. He also patented the collagen-coated breast implant in 1983 while at Stanford University, an innovation that has significantly reduced contracture rates in breast augmentation patients and remains popular today.

Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford, and Harvard Trained

Dr. Gray earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry and Master of Arts degree in Immunology at the University of California, Berkeley, completing his undergraduate studies with honors. Dr. Gray enjoyed studying among the renowned scholars at Berkeley and earned an award for the highest organic chemistry score in school history.

He then attended the University of California, Los Angeles Medical School, which was among the top three medical schools in the nation while he was there. During this time, he also studied at Stanford and Berkeley, earning another master’s degree in immunology from Berkeley. Upon graduating from UCLA, he received the prestigious and highly coveted AOA Research Award. Dr. Gray was one of only five medical students in the nation to earn this distinction.

Dr. Gray was then accepted into Harvard, where he trained in what is now the Deaconess/Beth Israel Hospital system. He served as the Chief Resident of the Harvard Deaconess Surgical Service from 1988 – 1989. His time at Harvard prepared him greatly for his future success as a surgeon.

Following his time at Harvard, Dr. Gray completed fellowships in hand and microsurgery in San Francisco with Dr. Harry Buncke, the Father of Microsurgery. He also finished a residency and fellowship in plastic surgery with a heavy emphasis on cosmetic plastic surgery. This program emphasized many of the procedures Dr. Gray offers at Bay Area Plastic Surgery, extensively preparing him in highly complex plastic surgery techniques.

Professional Societies

Dr. Gray is proud to be affiliated with the following associations:

  • California Medical Association, Member
  • San Francisco Medical Society, Member
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Member
  • American College of Surgeons (FACS), Member
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery, Diplomat
  • American Board of Surgery, Diplomat

San Francisco's Own

Dr. Gray has always practiced plastic surgery in San Francisco and is proud to call it his hometown. He was born and raised in the Richmond District of San Francisco, where he and his brother attended Town School for Boys and Lick Wilmerding for high school. Dr. Gray’s mother worked as an artist and owned an art supply and frame shop in the neighborhood, while his father worked in San Francisco as a practicing physician. Dr. Gray now lives in Marin County with his wife, Cherisse, his three younger children, and his two standard red poodles. Dr. Gray’s office is in the historic Sutter medical building, which overlooks the San Francisco Bay.

Professional Societies

Dr. Gray is proud to be affiliated with the following associations:

  • California Medical Association, Member
  • San Francisco Medical Society, Member
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Member
  • American College of Surgeons (FACS), Member
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery, Diplomat
  • American Board of Surgery, Diplomat

Q & A with Dr. Leonard Gray

My center is located on the 23rd floor of the historic 450 Sutter medical building, which has a gorgeous view of the San Francisco skyline and bay. It has a warm and inviting feel, almost like a living room space. There is a beautiful waiting area and several exam rooms, each with nice wood and various stone species. I also have an AAAASF operating room with preop and recovery rooms. It is a wonderful place to work on cases, and my patients love the incredible view. It is also AAAASF certified, so it is extremely safe and clean.

I love my work, interacting with my patients daily, thinking in 3 dimensions, and solving problems. I love the technical aspects and the manual dexterity required to accomplish the procedures. For me, I also like really getting good at stuff— I just want to run about 1 mile an hour faster every time I do something and get just a little bit better all the time. I love to expand the field, and plastic surgery, in particular, has developed quite a bit during my time. I do not think any of the procedures I do today are the same as when I started. There are whole fields that have opened up; the noninvasive things have completely progressed, and most surgeries are different and more advanced than when I started. It has been fun to help expand and perfect the field in the various procedures. Most of all, when patients are happy, I am happy, so it is an enjoyable, fun, and rewarding experience.

When I went to college at the University of California at Berkeley, it became clear that I was good at science. I was a lot better in science than anything else. I also realized that I did not want to be a person who worked in the lab all the time— I wanted to interact with people on a day-to-day basis, and that is when medicine started to look attractive to me. There was a combination of science and interacting with people, and I believed that each component would be rewarding. I also felt that it would feel great to help people and do something that looked fun. It became clear that my grades were quite good, and it would be possible to go to medical school. So, I applied and decided to go to UCLA, which at that time was the #3 rated medical school in the country. It was also a state school, which meant that it had relatively low tuition and was affordable.

Well, in the middle of medical school, I really did not know what I wanted to do. There was nothing that I really thought was fantastic. I knew I did not want to do general medicine, and I thought that maybe being an eye surgeon would be rewarding. So, I did a lot of research with the eye surgeons at Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA. I got involved with that group extensively, even traveling and doing genetic research on retinal disease at the Navajo Indian reservation in Tennessee. The only problem was that it was okay, but I did not really love it. I still did not know what I wanted to do at this point.

I went to a plastic surgery lecture believing that I would not particularly like it, but as it turned out, I actually did. It was a lecture on breast reconstruction that I just thought it was fascinating. So, I decided to change my advisor from the eye department to the plastic surgery department and chose Dr. Malcolm Lesavoy as my advisor. He was wonderful, and I also got to know the department chairman, Dr. Harvey Zarem, who was a great man. I did work with them both.

I have lived in Marin County for many years. Marin County is beautiful and close to the practice. I have five children; my two oldest daughters live in Los Angeles and New York, and then I have three younger children. I have two years old twins and a little baby who are all doing great. I have two large standard red poodles and they are great companions; they love to go on walks and are very friendly and they love the children, and I have had different interests over the years other than medicine and plastic surgery.

I have gone on a number of trips overseas to Guatemala and the Philippines to help children with cleft lip and palates, which has been very rewarding. Other than medicine, I have always liked to play basketball and still play on occasion. I am a master scuba diver and have been for many years. As a backpacker, I have climbed Mount Whitney more than once. These days I hike in Marin County and Fairmont. I also like to bike, ski, and cook. I especially like using the pellet smoker to make all sorts of things like pulled pork, ribs, brisket, roasts, and vegetables. In addition, I started a small avocado farm and also like to grow roses.

I grew up in San Francisco, specifically in the Richmond district near Alta Plaza Park. I attended Town School for grade school and Lick Wilmerding for high school. San Francisco offered a vibrant and eventful environment while growing up, with attractions like the Presidio and Golden Gate Park.

After attending Lick Wilmerding High School, I furthered my education at the University of California, Berkeley, where I pursued a major in biochemistry. During my time there, I excelled in various scientific subjects like chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, math, and biology. Notably, I achieved the highest grade in the organic chemistry class, earning an award for my achievement. Additionally, I cultivated an interest in medicine and dedicated time to volunteering at hospitals and clinics, which further fueled my passion for the field.

After completing my undergraduate studies, I was admitted to the University of California, Los Angeles for medical school. This marked a significant milestone in my journey. During my time there, I had the privilege of encountering my mentors in the field of plastic surgery, Dr. Malcolm Lesavoy and Dr. Harvey Zarem. Their guidance and influence played a crucial role in deepening my fascination with plastic surgery and shaping the trajectory of my career.

Under the mentorship of Dr. Malcolm Lessevoy and Dr. Harvey Zarem, I delved into research within the realm of plastic surgery. This led me to pursue an additional degree in immunology at the University of California, Berkeley. During that time, I achieved the AOA Research Award, a notable recognition of my research efforts. The guidance and support of Dr. Zarem and Dr. Lessevoy also played a pivotal role in helping me secure a residency training opportunity at Harvard University, a significant step in advancing my career in the field.

During my time at Harvard University, I successfully completed a general surgery residency, eventually attaining the position of chief resident at Harvard Medical School. Building on this experience, I proceeded to undertake a fellowship in plastic and reconstructive surgery in San Francisco. This fellowship took place within the oldest and most renowned plastic surgery program on the West Coast, further honing my skills and expertise in the field.

In addition to my prior experiences, I had the privilege of engaging in another fellowship in hand and microsurgery in San Francisco. This valuable opportunity allowed me to work alongside Dr. Harry Bunke, a pioneer in the field often referred to as the “father of microsurgery.” This fellowship significantly enriched my knowledge and proficiency in the intricate field of microsurgery and hand surgery.

After completing my comprehensive training, I established my practice in San Francisco, where I have remained ever since. Throughout my career, I have exclusively focused on cosmetic plastic surgery for a span of over 20 years. I have developed specialized expertise in various areas including breast surgery, body contouring surgery, facial surgery, and nasal surgery. These particular domains have become my distinct areas of interest and concentration within the field.

The philosophy of my practice revolves around kindness, compassion, and comprehensive patient education. When individuals seek my services, I aim to ensure they feel informed and empowered. My ultimate satisfaction comes from achieving the best possible outcomes for each case, and that remains my constant goal in every aspect of my practice.

In my free time, I’m engaged in various activities. I’m a father of five children. My three young children, Jack, Skylar, and Maverick, occupy much of my time outside of work. I have two older daughters as well, Stephanie and Alyssa. They both live in New York City now, but when they come to town, we always enjoy spending time doing fun dinners and activities together.

Additionally, I enjoy going to the gym for basketball and weight training. Cooking is another passion of mine, particularly using the smoker. I take pleasure in smoking a variety of foods such as fish, meat, chicken, and different vegetables—it’s a gratifying hobby that I cherish.

I especially like spending time with my lovely wife, Cherisse. I enjoy doing just about anything and everything with her. Whether it’s going out to dinner, building projects, or traveling on vacation to Hawaii and other places, it’s always fun, rewarding, fulfilling, and special.

The epiphany that led me to choose aesthetics happened during my time in medical school when I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Harvey Zarem and Dr. Malcolm Lesavoy, both prominent figures in the field of plastic surgery. Their mentorship and shared experiences ignited my passion for plastic surgery. I conducted further research and obtained an immunology degree from the University of California, Berkeley, with their guidance. This led to my residency at Harvard for general surgery.

Moreover, the plastic surgery program I attended emphasized aesthetic surgery extensively, more so than any other program in the United States. This exposure allowed me to perform a significant number of aesthetic procedures during my training. Once I entered private practice, I discovered a genuine affinity for aesthetic procedures and patients. Performing breast surgeries, breast revisions, lifts, liposuction, tummy tucks, facelifts, eyelid surgeries, and rhinoplasties proved to be immensely fulfilling and invigorating for me. The satisfaction I derived from these procedures cemented my commitment to the aesthetics field.

Throughout my educational and training journey, I encountered the typical challenges that come with pursuing one’s goals. Some classes and aspects of training were more demanding than others, requiring extra effort and dedication. There were instances where I had to contend with tougher periods, whether it was handling difficult coursework or managing the demands of training. However, such challenges are a natural part of life and shaped me into the surgeon I am today.

Personable, trustworthy, expert.

Patients choose me because they find comfort and trust in the environment of my office. I provide thorough educational consultations, ensuring they are well-informed about their procedures. Exceptional pre- and post-operative care is part of the package, leading to excellent outcomes. The entire experience, from the initial consultation to post-operative follow-ups, is meticulously designed to meet high standards. This comprehensive approach stands out, generating appreciation from patients who benefit from exceptional results and an overall superb experience.