Why I became a doctor...

Dr. Oppenheimer — @RealdrOPP

When I was 5 years old, I got my first bike without training wheels. One thing you should know about me is that I stick my tongue out when I concentrate. That's apropos because as I got around my first curve, the wheels skidded out and I fell--chin first--on the pavement. My tongue was bit almost in half: through-and-through; hanging on "by a thread." Lots of blood (I hate the sight of blood) and a frantic rush to find my grandfather ensued: he was, of course, a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He and my uncle, who was in his plastic surgery residency at the time, sewed me up on my kitchen table. (If you think about it, good overhead lighting and a flat working surface).

Me with my grandfather in 1984, before the "tongue incident"

Achieving YOUR goals one day at a time...

Fast-forward about 30 years, and my tongue works just fine. All I have is the scar and the story. Which is actually remarkable given that the tongue is innervated by 5 different cranial nerves: the hypoglossal (for movement), the trigeminal & glossopharyngeal (for touch), and the facial & vagus nerves (for taste). Absolutely remarkable! Five different nerves that all found their way back on course.

Needless to say, I grew to idolize my grandfather. I worked with him and my uncle: sterilizing instruments and painting water-stained ceiling tiles in the office at first, then progressing to the operating room. It's a true story that I nearly fainted the first time I did a case with my Gramp, but I promise I've been rock-steady on my feet since then.
As you'd expect with any family tradition, I owe a great deal of respect to the work they've done. I'm committed to helping the world, both locally and globally.

​I find myself looking towards the future. My goals? To change the dialogue about the meaning of plastic surgery and in so doing, to make exceptional plastic surgery available to all.

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