Making the Rounds with Dr. Amit Patel

Dr. Amit Patel explains how he went from sculpture to surgery

Making the RoundsIn this week’s Making the Rounds conversation, we caught up with Dr. Amit Patel, a surgeon who specializes in reconstructive and cosmetic treatment of the head and neck. Dr. Patel sees a wide variety of patients, including those who have had cancer or traumatic injuries of the face, as well as individuals interested in cosmetic enhancements and rejuvenations of the nose, face and neck.

How did you become interested in medicine?

It’s been a little bit of an interesting path. I actually wanted to be an artist – a sculptor – when I was growing up. Then the summer between high school and college, I happened to work at a doctor’s office and really fell in love with it. Those two worlds pretty much collided, and the rest has been history.

How is being a surgeon similar to being an artist?

My patients become my artistic medium, if you will, and I approach them from an artistic standpoint. How can I best and most creatively solve the problem at hand? How can I put these patients back together and get them into the real world and have them not feel insecure, have them not feel like they’re different? That’s a very big part of my patient-care philosophy.

What experiences have most shaped your career?

One of the unique experiences that has shaped my career was when I became a patient myself. I had a skiing accident and spent a fair amount of time away from what I normally do, which is a lot of reconstructive surgery.

I frequently have to tell my patients to be patient with the process and to let a tincture of time take effect. Having to swallow that pill myself as a patient changed the way I approach things and the way I approach my patient care.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?

It’s the trust that develops between me and my patients. When they come to me – especially my reconstructive patients – they’re often in a place where they’ve kind of lost their sense of identity. The trust that they hand to me, I take to heart and I take a lot of pride in that. It’s something I really, really enjoy.


Check out our video interview with Dr. Patel, where he tells us more about the conditions he treats and how he gets to know his patients.


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