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24 July 2017

Ellie Zara Ley (1974–) surgeon

Eleazer Ley was born in San Luis, Sonora. His mother was Chinese, and his father half-Chinese. Shortly after birth he developed a medical complication that the local doctors did not know how to deal with. Despite not having the correct papers, his mother was able to take the child across the US border to a hospital in Yuma, Arizona, purely with a doctor’s letter.

Ley grew up to be a doctor. He did undergraduate work in the US as a foreign student, returned to Mexico for medical school, and immigrated to the US. He worked at New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY and in the general surgery program at the University of Arizona. He then completed a fellowship in pediatric craniofacial plastic surgery at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City. At the University of Southern California in Los Angeles he received fellowship training in hand and microsurgery, and then returned to the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, to complete a fellowship in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

He considered extending his skills into gender surgery, and researched how it was being done in Thailand. He had also married, and they had two daughters. He took a position in Tucson where his wife is from. Approaching 40, Ley had 14 years of medical school, residency, and three fellowships. He opened the Ley Institute of Plastic & Hand Surgery, LLC and the Arizona Craniofacial & Pediatric Plastic Surgery. He also did work in Nogales, Sonora, for the border community.

Then Ley had a damascene moment. Helping the two daughters with nail polish, it was suddenly apparent what was missing from life.
“It just stirred something inside of me that wouldn’t stop, this force. It was relentless after that. My feminine side just completely came out.”
Ley transitioned and was divorced in 2015. Ellie Zara Ley had surgery from Dr Toby Meltzer, who
Drs Meltzer & Ley
continued discussions with her for several months and then asked her to join his practice. She closed her Tucson practice, and moved to Scottsdale. She shadowed Meltzer’s surgeries, and is now taking on her own patients.

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