A recent visit to Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) gave Chris Surek, DO, the opportunity to practice surgical skills, teach fellow residents and anatomy fellows, and reminisce about his days at his alma mater.
Surek, a 2011 graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, is the chief plastic surgery resident at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC). He returned to a familiar spot on campus, the anatomy lab, with fellow KUMC residents to teach and practice facial aesthetic education — both anatomy and technique. KCU anatomy fellows were invited to take part and learn.
“We wanted the fellows to participate because we think it’s great to teach them a little bit more advanced anatomy in a particular region,” Surek said. He calls it the first “Kansas City Facelift Symposium.” The purpose is to give residents and anatomy fellows the chance to do a fresh cadaver dissection in order to see the anatomy, facial nerve branches and retaining ligaments. The doctors practiced techniques taught by Surek’s mentor of four years, well-known Australian facial anatomist, Bryan Mendelson, MD.
“We wanted to share this unique thing that we’ve learned through Dr. Mendelson and other good facial anatomists and facelift surgeons,” Surek said.
The symposium gives residents and fellows the opportunity to appreciate the intricacy and intimate relationships with neurovascular structures and soft tissue of the face. According to Surek, whether it is facial repair due to injury or a cosmetic procedure such as a facelift, it’s critical to understand the anatomy due to the many important structures in such a small area.
“The symposium was one of the best days in my medical school career,” said Dami Lee, a KCU anatomy fellow. Lee, who plans to pursue her dream of becoming a plastic surgeon, said she is grateful for the opportunity to interact and shadow the residents.
“Being in medical school can feel like a never-ending journey, but these experiences give me a glimpse of what it is like post-medical school,” Lee said.
As a former anatomy fellow, Surek spent hours learning and practicing his skills in the anatomy lab. He describes KCU’s lab as “the perfect place for these courses,” allowing students access to equipment such as high-definition cameras and televisions.
“I feel like those late night anatomical dissections and my own research when I was here as a medical student… really paid off,” Surek said.
Surek is a Denver native who graduated from the University of West Alabama. He felt guided toward osteopathic medicine at a young age by his father who is an osteopathic surgeon. Surek chose KCU for medical school because of the “caring and engaging” faculty and the “family-type atmosphere” on campus.
“I find I thrive in an atmosphere like this. I always felt supported. That’s why I chose here,” he said.
Surek hopes to make the Kansas City Facelift Symposium an annual event and include other surgeons from around the region.