This week’s featured physician is Dr. Brian Rinker, plastic surgeon and director of the Plastic Surgery Residency Program at UK HealthCare.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Rinker talks about the art of ‘restoring lives’

Making the RoundsThis week’s featured physician in our Making the Rounds blog series is Dr. Brian Rinker, plastic surgeon and director of the Plastic Surgery Residency Program at UK HealthCare. His specialties include aesthetic surgery, breast reconstruction, microsurgery and correction of congenital hand anomalies.

How did you become interested in plastic surgery?

Like most people, I didn’t have any idea what plastic surgery was when I started medical school. I thought of it as, you know, “Doc Hollywood,” cosmetic surgery – that sort of thing. I had no idea what plastic surgeons actually did. And then when I found out as a medical student, it just fit so well with my personality and the things I enjoy doing.

It’s just such a creative specialty, and so varied. We get to treat so many kinds of patients with so many different kinds of problems, and it’s always exciting and always interesting, so I fell in love with it immediately.

How is plastic surgery different from other types of surgery?

I think the average person doesn’t know what plastic surgery truly is. They see the cosmetic side of plastic surgery – which is important – but it only makes up about 10 percent of the actual specialty. You know, most of what we spend our time doing is restoring and reconstructing defects from trauma, from cancer surgery or from congenital defects.

My job is a little different than some other surgeons because, in general, I’m not saving lives. In general, what I’m doing is restoring lives. I’m restoring people back to the way they were, restoring their function, their appearance, their body image after an injury or after a loss due to cancer surgery. And it’s very inspiring to see the type of impact you can have in people’s lives – they can get back to their work or the things they love to do and get back to feeling whole again.

How would your family describe you?

I got a card from my daughter, who’s 8, the other day, that says, “I like my daddy because he’s big and huggable.” So I guess that’s how my daughter would describe me.

Describe your ideal weekend.

Well, I like to go out into the countryside where it’s peaceful. I like to bring my kids and just do something simple and fun like go for a hike or fish or camp out.

What fictional character would you like to hang out with?

I’d like to hang out with Sherlock Holmes. I think that he would be a great guy to hang out with, have a conversation with. Very knowledgeable. And he is also based on a physician, so I think we’d have a lot to talk about.

Watch our video interview with Dr. Rinker below, where he discusses how plastic surgery treats more than just physical issues.

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