Profile On Plastic Surgeon Dr. Darrick Antell

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“When I was still in dental school, I knew I wanted to be a plastic surgeon. If getting a medical degree meant climbing Mt. Everest, I would have done it.”

Rick Antell earned his D.D.S. and then spent his summer breaks practicing dentistry in his father’s office. His last six months at MCO, he undertook a traveling fellowship. “MCO gave me a very good foundation. I didn’t see any great difference among the medical schools I attended. Name institutions help open doors, but wherever you go you still need to stand on your own feet.”

He completed his internship and residency in general surgery and later completed his plastic surgery specialty. Then he set up his own practice. A board certified plastic surgeon and an officer of the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons, Rick states that “It’s less common today, but the founders of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons had dual degrees in dentistry and medicine.”

One of his specialties, orthognathic surgery, combines both disciplines. “Most of the jaw reconstruction I do is in the U.S. Because of the high incidence of cleft palates, he has done a great deal of that surgery in developing countries.

The biggest technological breakthroughs are the fixation devices. Instead of wiring the jaw, we use tiny screws and plates now. In many cases, patients can open their mouths right after surgery.”

Also specializing in breast reconstruction, he prefers the saline implant for both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. “It’s hard to draw a line between the two. Patients requiring functional correction should receive aesthetically pleasing results as well.” In his view, “Plastic surgery is really problem-solving. It’s very creative because you can’t look up the solution in a book. And you have to pay close attention to proportions, which is the subject of my current research grant.”

Rick teaches at several institutions and lectures and writes extensively on plastic and reconstructive surgery, and he has performed surgery on national television. He’s never climbed Mt. Everest, but his medical specialty has given his access to worlds where he can help people. Yet he’s “still in contact with a lot of people in his home town. He made good friends at MCO and in the community.