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Meet Dr. Atencio

Dr. Daniela Atencio is a fellowship-trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon whose experience includes comprehensive training with nationally renowned plastic surgeons. At our Austin, TX, practice, Dr. Atencio focuses on facial rejuvenation and breast enhancement surgery, in addition to body contouring procedures. She is a board-eligible plastic surgeon whose passion for complex surgical procedures led her to pursue a career in plastic surgery.

Dr. Atencio and our other Austin plastic surgeons at Synergy Plastic Surgery look forward to meeting with you. You can request a consulation using our online form or call our office at (512) 244-1439 to schedule an appointment.

Well-Rounded Training 

A native of Venezuela who earned her medical degree from the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico, Dr. Atencio first completed a general surgery residency at UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, a distinguished Level 1 trauma and burn center. That experience inspired her decision to specialize in plastic surgery. She completed her training at the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she performed a range of reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. 

In addition to training in the OR, Dr. Atencio conducted scientific research focused on facial aesthetics, which she has published and presented at national meetings of professional organizations.  

Treating Patients With Empathy 

In addition to being born in Venezuela, Dr. Atencio has traveled to and lived in several countries. She draws on her experiences with different cultures and people from various backgrounds to treat patients with empathy and compassion. She believes overall wellness is important, and she leads a healthy, balanced lifestyle that includes yoga and Pilates to keep both her body and mind fit.  

Dr. Atencio understands that many patients seek aesthetic surgery to feel more confident. She creates a welcoming environment to promote a positive, fun, and exciting journey, producing results that enhance her patients’ appearance as well as their overall well-being.  

On a Personal Note… 

Dr. Atencio says the love of her life is her German Shepherd, “Tox” (short for BOTOX). They enjoy the Texas weather by hiking, going to parks, and frolicking in the water. Cooking is another passion for Dr. Atencio, who is always looking for new recipe recommendations and new restaurants to try.  

An Interview With Dr. Atencio 

When did you decide you wanted to attend medical school?  

I knew I wanted to be a doctor since I was a little girl. I had a Barbie doll who was a doctor, and a local surgeon gave me my first white coat when I was 8 years old.  

Did you plan to become a surgeon before you started med school?  

Yes. During my junior year in college, I participated in a summer program for students who wanted to become doctors that immersed us in a rotation with a cardiothoracic surgeon. From the first day, I felt completely at home in the operating room watching open heart surgery. It was very exciting.  

What led you to ultimately specialize in plastic surgery?  

While in medical school, I decided to pursue a career in surgery. I like to do things with my hands and to have the opportunity to solve problems immediately, which isn’t something other specialties provide. During general surgery training, my plastic surgery rotation exposed me to a range of plastic surgery cases, including rhinoplasty and post-trauma facial reconstruction. The spectrum of surgeries and the challenges presented by each case fascinated me. At one point, I thought I would be a pediatric general surgeon, but I can still help children as a plastic surgeon.  

What did your plastic surgery training involve? 

I trained in Chicago at the University of Illinois, which has a plastic surgery program that provides residents with extensive surgical experience because it’s very busy and presents a range of cases. It included 3 different hospitals, with each having its own “specialty.” One is a craniofacial center, where we saw children with congenital defects in addition to general reconstructive plastic surgery. At another hospital, residents primarily saw trauma patients who needed facial or hand surgery. The third hospital provided experience in breast reconstruction and cosmetic plastic surgery.  

What can a patient expect during a surgical consultation with you?  

My goal is to have the patient feel comfortable and relaxed so that we can have an honest discussion about their concerns and aesthetic goals. I thoroughly discuss their treatment options and set realistic expectations about what each option can accomplish based on the patient’s anatomy, the quality of their skin, and other factors.  

You’re one of only a few women who are plastic surgeons in Austin, including your colleagues at Synergy. Do you find the perspective of a woman in your role has some inherent advantages? 

Yes, as women, we bring a unique perspective because we know first-hand how women are affected by body image. We understand that a woman’s confidence can be undermined by physical changes that occur due to aging, weight fluctuations, hormonal changes, or pregnancy. I’m also one of the very few women in the plastic surgery field in Austin who are bilingual. Spanish is my first language, and it’s important to me that our Spanish-speaking patients’ questions and concerns are understood accurately. People who learn Spanish as a second language may not understand the idiosyncrasies of the language used by native speakers.  

What would an ideal patient review say about you? 

It would say they were comfortable and that they felt heard during the consultation. That they felt I explained everything in a way they understood and that they love their results and feel more confident and happier than they did before the procedure, and that the whole experience exceeded their expectations.  

If you weren’t a plastic surgeon, what would you be doing?  

I’d probably be a ballet dancer, although I would need to be a lot taller and a lot skinnier, LOL. I love dancing and the arts in general. I think plastic surgery combines art and medicine, so I’m attracted to doing something in the creative arts. I also love cooking, so it’s more realistic to imagine opening a restaurant and making people happy through food. 

What is rewarding about plastic surgery? 

Seeing men and women regain their self-confidence and hearing their stories about how that new-found confidence has translated into higher self-esteem, better job opportunities, and better relationships. It’s rewarding to know that the results we create directly affect a patient’s everyday life once they’ve become a little more confident to pursue what makes them happy.