Board-certified Plastic Surgeon
Meet Dr. Heather Furnas
Dr. Heather Furnas, M.D. specializes in rejuvenating the aesthetic of men and women of all ages. She is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has been in practice for almost 30 years. She is the co-founder of Allegro MedSpa of Novato and is thrilled to be serving alongside her husband, Dr. Francisco Canales. Dr. Furnas has served as a Clinical Instructor in surgery at Harvard Medical School and is currently Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery at Stanford University. Her overall goal is to provide the highest quality of care with the utmost integrity.See More
Skills And Specialities
A few of her most popular procedures include: mommy makeovers (including breast augmentation and tummy tucks) , eyelid lifts, facelifts, and labiaplasty/vaginal rejuvenation. At Allegro MedSpa, our experienced staff provides Botox, Juvederm, CoolSculpting, laser skin resurfacing, miraDry, tattoo removal, non-surgical vaginal tightening, laser hair removal and more.
Dr. Furnas was selected by her peers to serve as Visiting Plastic Surgery Professor by both The Aesthetic Society and The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. In that role she traveled across the country lecturing on her specialties and was also invited to lecture in England, Spain, Canada and Mexico. She received the Tiffany Award for best scientific paper at the annual Aesthetic Society meeting in 2016.
Education And Training
Dr. Furnas completed her undergraduate education at Stanford University and continued her education by attaining her master’s degree from Stanford as well. She then attended UCLA School of Medicine and after receiving her medical degree, she returned to Stanford University where she served her residency in plastic surgery.
Dr. Furnas is a ranking member of multiple professional associations, including:
- The California Society of Plastic Surgeons
- The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- The American Association of Plastic Surgeons
- The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
- The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
- Fellow of the American College of Surgeons
Humanitarian Work And Hobbies
Dr. Furnas’ father has always been an inspiration to her, as he is a world-renowned plastic surgeon who traveled to many different countries to serve others in need. Today, Dr. Furnas upholds her father’s legacy by volunteering her services to the people of Peru, Honduras, Western Samoa, the Philippines, and El Salvador. When she is not helping others, Dr. Furnas enjoys spending time with her family, reading, writing, and painting.
Coffee Break With Dr. Furnas
The best thing about working for PSA/AMS is the team. We have a group of talented, caring people who work together to help each other out. Patients constantly tell me how much they love the staff. We love the compliments, of course, and if a patient complains, we discuss how we could have done better. We really do take feedback to heart. The team has done an extraordinary job of handling all the changes brought about by COVID. Dr. Eric Culbertson is a wonderful addition—he fits right in.
The biggest influence on me has been…my father. He was Chief of Plastic Surgery at UC Irvine, when he took a year’s leave of absence to serve as an East African Flying Doctor. I watched him operate in bush hospitals across Kenya and Tanzania. His cases varied from lion maulings and hyena bites to burns and congenital deformities. He was an artist with his scalpel, and he tackled whatever case needed to be done. He didn’t know much Swahili, so he spoke to his patients with his kind eyes and a comforting hand on a shoulder.
My favorite procedure/treatment is…anything that makes my patients happy. I like the variety in our practice. I am particularly interested in labiaplasty. The difficulty can be underestimated. A well-done procedure requires attention to detail and artistry. The procedure is controversial because there are many assumptions and misunderstandings about why women seek the operation. Patients often complain of pain, tugging, self-consciousness, and hygiene challenges. After labiaplasty, nearly all are symptom-free. The improvement in their quality of life is dramatic. Dr. Canales and I have done studies, spoken internationally and published scientific papers about good technique, safety, and the patients’ perspective.
The best part of my next weekend will be…Zooming with my children. I love being a plastic surgeon, but my favorite job in life has been being a mom. Our son, Diego, lives in San Francisco, where he co-founded a tech company called ClearMetal. Our daughter, Siena, is in graduate school at Columbia University in New York City. When all of us get together, even remotely, it’s like getting a big dose of joy.
My hidden talent is…writing. I am currently working on a memoir about becoming a woman surgeon. Over the years, friends expressed surprise to find out how few surgeons were women. Currently, only 16 percent of women are plastic surgeons. I was surprised that they were surprised, and that gave me the idea for my book. I am pitching to agents now.
The most surprising thing most people don’t know about me is…I had a Bronx accent at age five and a Scottish Glaswegian accent at age six. My father trained as a plastic surgeon at Cornell in New York City, followed by a year-long fellowship at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in Scotland. From a Bronx public school, where I learned to “smoke” pretzel sticks, I moved to the much more academic Scottish school system. At first, I was at the bottom of the class, but I was soon just another Scottish schoolgirl. After that, we moved to Iowa City, where I picked up a Midwestern Twang.
My all-time favorite movie is…”Stand and Deliver,” a 1988 film based on the true story of a high school math teacher, Jaime Escalante. Mr. Escalante taught at an East LA high school, where students were far below grade level. In a place where many students belonged to gangs, he worked relentlessly until they themselves believed they could succeed. A class that had no hope of passing algebra ended up passing the AP Calculus test. Jaime Escalante saw diamonds, where others saw rocks. One year, I taught an extra-curricular algebra class for my daughter and some of her classmates. Feeling the weight of responsibility, I watched that movie 30 or 40 times.
The words I try to live by are… “We can do this—we just have to figure out how.” Challenges in life are, by definition, difficult to overcome. Excuses are cheap and easy, and they don’t advance a thing. A belief that a seemingly impossible thing is possible opens up a door and lets ideas fly in.
My favorite quote is…by Eleanor Roosevelt. “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” My father encouraged my interest in surgery, but he warned it would be a difficult road for a woman wanting a family. When I was in medical school, he couldn’t name one female surgeon who was married with children. And that was my dream. Like so many women surgeons, after training long years of 120-hour work weeks and delaying pregnancy, I struggled with infertility. I was lucky to eventually have two children. Women surgeons are much less likely than their male colleagues to have children. We have significantly higher complications of pregnancy compared with other specialties, due to the physical stresses of our job. I am working with one of our societies to change this.
My favorite magazine is… The Economist. I read the magazine every week. My favorite section is Obituary, by the unnamed writer, Ann Wroe. In 2016, she wrote about Qusai Abtini, a 14-year-old Syrian boy who played a typical father in a low-budget TV sit-com. An 11-year-old school friend played his talkative wife. With the shooting and explosions, going to school was too dangerous. Instead, he and his friend made people laugh, showing the absurdities of war. As Aleppo fell under siege, Qusai’s father decided to get him out of the country. As they were driving away, a missile hit their car. The father survived, but not the boy. Each obituary is a thoughtful masterpiece.