Inspirational Patient of the Year

The other day, one of our favorite patients was in the office. Syed is a 26 year old man, who we first met in 2011. At that time he presented with a severe craniofacial deformity and was tracheostomy dependent, which enabled him to survive. Dr. Cohen performed several very complicated surgeries and a few more minor touch ups beginning in 2012. We were thrilled to see Syed without his tracheostomy, which was removed following the last major operation. Syed is a hero and it is always a pleasure to see him smiling and happy with life.

Many of our patients are not aware that Dr. Cohen was Director of Craniofacial Surgery at Rady Children’s Hospital from 1999-2015, and prior to that, at the University of Michigan. In addition to his highly respected work in aesthetic surgery and aesthetic medicine, Dr. Cohen was the inventor of the first commercially distributed internal distraction system for bone lengthening in children and was the first surgeon in the world to use these techniques to prevent the need for tracheostomy (a breathing tube in the neck) in infants with recessed lower jaws and cleft palates who could not be taken off a ventilator. As one of the first teams in the world to perform endoscopic craniosynostosis surgery, Dr. Cohen and Dr. Meltzer, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Rady, took what had been a 4-6 hour procedure, requiring blood transfusions and intensive care, converting it into a 30-60 minute procedure, often without the need for any blood transfusion. The same type of patient that had been admitted to the ICU and hospitalized for almost a week, could now be discharged from a regular room within 24 hours.

Thousands of children in the U.S. and overseas have benefited from Dr. Cohen’s pioneering work. The guiding principle behind these contributions has been a desire to make surgery safer and easier for patients. Although nothing in medicine is perfect, a constant striving for improvement in care and outstanding outcomes, whether for a patient with a complex craniofacial disorder or an adult with cosmetic concerns, is what makes FACES+ special.

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