What is an Oculoplastic Surgeon?
In the current world of medicine there are specialists for almost every part of our body. In many ways, this is advantageous as it allows a physician to dedicate his or her life to the study of a particular part of the body and provides patients with an expert who is devoted to a particular area. This results in a deep level of expertise in dealing with that particular part of the body. Many people have a general doctor or primary care provider as well as a specialist for their heart (cardiologist), joints and bones (orthopedist), and maybe their skin (dermatologist).
An oculoplastic surgeon (or eye plastic surgeon) is a specialist for structures around the eyes to include the eyelids, eyebrows, forehead, cheeks, eye socket (orbit), and tear drainage system. Oculoplastic surgeons must first complete a four-year medical degree from an accredited medical school, and then go on to a one year internship in general medicine or general surgery. An oculoplastic surgeon then completes a rigorous 3 year residency in ophthalmology in which he or she perfects the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. During this time, an ophthalmology resident completes hundreds, if not thousands, of surgeries and procedures around the eyes. A small number of ophthalmologists then have the opportunity to pursue accredited fellowship training in oculoplastic surgery (eye plastics) after residency.
There are only about 25 sites in the country where American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS) accredited fellowships exist. These fellowships are among the most difficult and prestigious fellowships in all of medicine--more than 100 people will apply for a single position. ASOPRS fellowships are two years long and during that time an oculoplastic surgeon performs more than a thousand surgical procedures around the eyes. These procedures include blepharoplasty, ptosis repair, facial fracture repair, eye removal, tear duct surgery, cancer reconstruction, and cosmetic surgery around the eyes.
After 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 1 year of internship, 3 years of ophthalmology residency, and 2 years of oculoplastic surgery fellowship, a person can finally become a member of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS) and be called an oculoplastic surgeon. The expertise gathered over this time allows an oculoplastic surgeon to be an expert in the area around the eyes and be a true specialist for his or her patient.
As an oculoplastic surgeon, Dr. Vrcek performs plastic and reconstructive surgery for the area around the eyes including eyelid lifts (blepharoplasty and ptosis repair), surgery for eyelid bags (lower blepharoplasty), brow lifts, cheek lifts, and fat transfer to the face. Dr. Vrcek believes that the area around the eyes is one the most important parts of the body and deserves a surgeon that is focused on this area alone.