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Hidden Gems: Meet Dr. Charlie Chen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Charlie Chen.

Hi Dr. Chen, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I first got into medicine because it runs in the family – there had been three generations of physicians and surgeons before me. I have always been exposed to treat patients and being in the operating room since young. Growing up in Taiwan, I would accompany my father to trips into villages to treat patients. I saw firsthand how powerful and important it is to heal the human body. Having that exposure early on led me naturally stay in the field of medicine.

Once I got into medicine, I knew I wanted to treat the entire human body. I went into plastic surgery because of our ability to treat the whole body – from head to toe. Many people think of plastic surgery as cosmetic surgery, but there is a whole other half in which we reconstruct the body from injuries, traumas, cancers, etc. Plastic surgery comes from the Greek work plastic, which means the art of molding or sculpting. We literally take one part of the body and shape it to replace or reconstruct another. It’s truly an artistic field.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It’s a long road to becoming a doctor. I always say we are professional students – you really dedicate your early twenties to studying and absorbing all the information needed even before you see the first patient. After medical school, you also enter a residency, where you’re a half student, half practitioner. You pull long hours of 24-hour shifts on little sleep, but it’s here you learn the most about taking care of sick patients. You see them continuously through the ups and downs. It’s also the experience here that you pull from when we are practicing out on our own.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your practice?
I started my own practice several years ago, after having been in hospital systems and group practices in the past. I practice plastic surgery with a concentration on aesthetics. I spent an extra year of training after plastic surgery, concentration mainly on cosmetic surgery, which is different than most of the procedures we did during training. Specifically, I treat a lot of patients after massive weight loss procedures, which often results in excess skin that needs to be removed. I believe we treat the whole human body – not just the anatomy but also psychologically in their journey after weight loss. I am proud to say we have a whole team set up to complete their journey – from the patient coordinators to operating staff to medical assistants. I always tell people I’m reachable 24/7 for them – there are no middlemen. It’s that patient-centered care that sets us apart.

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