“Good hands, good judgment, kindness and knowledge equal one great surgeon!” These are the words Dr. Scott Miller’s father inscribed in an artistic anatomic atlas presented upon his son’s graduation from medical school. When the future Dr. Miller was 10 years old, it was the compassionate, timely action of his father, also a physician, which ignited an interest in medicine and surgery.
“We were at a department store when a security guard got stabbed. Without hesitation, Dad ripped off his shirt and held pressure to the wound until the paramedics came,” he remembers. “I was impressed with his technical ability to save a life and his poise to do so. How many lives would have been altered if he didn’t have that ability? It made me want to be able to do that.”
Which direction his medical practice would take was determined when, as a young man, he watched surgeon Dr. Stephen Miller (no relation) operate on a child with a disfiguring scar on his cheek. “He used plastic surgery techniques to reorient the scar so it faded into the contours of his face,” says Dr. Miller. It impressed the budding surgeon who, with a background in drawing and oil painting, soon realized that plastic surgery was the field for him.
The precise artistic and reconstructive work was not the only feature that attracted him to the profession. It was also the concept of caring for individuals to support their self-image and self-esteem. Dr. Miller now has his own practice, the Miller Cosmetic Surgery Center, where he contributes daily to the quality of people’s lives.
“Plastic surgery has the artistic and creative outlet I need,” he says, adding that it also combines technical skill and even a touch of athletics. “Preparing for a surgery is like preparing for a big match,” says the former collegiate competitive tennis player. “You think through the case, get a good night’s sleep and have that excitement before performing. To get things looking just right, with minimal scars, takes creative thought and logical solutions applied in a meticulous and skillful way. There is satisfaction in seeing immediate positive results from your work.”
COSMETIC VS. RECONSTRUCTIVE
There’s some debate in the medical field about whether plastic surgery is primarily a matter of reconstruction or aesthetics. “There’s been an artificial wedge put between the two schools of thought,” says Dr. Miller. “But a burn reconstruction uses the same surgical techniques as, say, fixing a webbed earlobe. I just work along the continuum to get my patients the best results.
“I believe that it’s all cosmetic to some degree,” he says. “Treating child’s cleft lip and performing a facelift are somewhat the same — you’re restoring the facial anatomy, to a more normal state in one case and more youthful in the other. In both instances, we’ve met our patients’ needs by restoring their anatomy to an aesthetically pleasing, natural state.”
CREDENTIALS — AND CARING
Dr. Miller is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and
is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the California Society
of Plastic Surgeons and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has
been awarded for service by the PSEF Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation)
and ASAPS (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) and he is the Co-Director
of Surgical Specialties’ plastic surgery teaching courses for the West Coast Regional Training Center, training and certifying other plastic surgeons in advanced aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery techniques.