Message from the Doctor
“My interest in facial plastic surgery stemmed from my initial involvement with patients with major facial and head/neck cancers at Stanford.I was fascinated by the operations required to remove these complex tumors but the highlight was always the second part of the operations-putting everything back together. In spite of whatever had been done to treat the cancer, the patients’ eventual point of focus was their appearance. Did they look ‘normal’?
I’ve been very fortunate to have had tremendous experience with facial reconstruction both in children and adults. I am convinced that I am a better cosmetic surgeon because of this; likewise, I think I bring an aesthetic sensibility to the reconstructions because of my extensive experience with elective, cosmetic procedures.
From my point of view, patients who are having surgery because ‘they have to’ (like children with hemangiomas or patients treated for skin cancer or migraines) are no different than those having surgery because ‘they want to’ (the patients having a facelift or rhinoplasty). The bottom line is that we all want to look our best. We have the experience, expertise, technology and excellent staff to make that happen for everyone.
I grew up in Venezuela and came to the United States for college. I had talked about being a Doctor since elementary school and was very lucky to have the opportunity to pursue that dream here in the United States. In college I became an American citizen and continued my training at world class institutions.
I arrived in Charleston in 1990 having been recruited by the Medical University of South Carolina as the first facial plastic surgeon in the institution. Over the next 10 years I developed an incredibly busy practice providing the complete gamut in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. I left MUSC and opened the Facial Surgery Center in 1999. Over the last 18 years I’ve been fortunate to have developed a practice which is seen as the premier cosmetic and reconstructive facial surgery practice in the state.
The need to give back to our community, to try to “fix the world”, was passed on to me by my late father. His commitment to helping others and doing the right thing for the less fortunate inspires me daily. Clearly my passion for aiding them was ingrained by his example. Through The Hemangioma Treatment Foundation I created in 2003, I have been able to help over 1,000 children with vascular tumors and malformations. With the Hemangioma and Malformation Treatment Center, which I also founded, we are able to treat more children and adults from around the world. With the addition of this practice I am working to make Charleston the national hub for treatment of hemangiomas and research toward finding a cure so that surgery and the potential scarring become unnecessary.
I am a surgeon, but most of all, I am a proud husband and father of three sons — Joseph, Adam and Jacob. The boys have been the highlight of my personal life and I’m extremely pleased with the type of people they are growing up to be. I am indebted to my children for giving me the greatest joys and satisfactions I have ever experienced. My wife Shelley has proven to be a wonderful mother and step-mother for my sons. She has been so supportive of my endeavors, and her personal qualities as a truly nice and considerate human being amaze me constantly.”