July 18, 2019 | 74° F

Rutgers professor improves facial deformities and patient self-esteem as leading plastic surgeon

Photo by Rutgers.edu |

Boris Paskhover, the leading facial plastics and reconstructive surgeon at the Rutgers New Jersey School of Medicine, went to two different colleges after graduating from Rutgers in 2007, where he earned his degree in Cell Biology and Neuroscience. RUTGERS.EDU

Boris Paskhover is the leading facial plastics and reconstructive surgeon at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (RNJMS). As a Rutgers alumnus, Paskhover studied at three prestigious graduate universities on his way to becoming a leading facial plastics surgeons. 

He has been teaching students at the medical school and working as a surgeon in local hospitals since July of last year, he said. 

Paskhover grew up in Queens, New York and went to Rutgers — where he graduated in 2007 with highest honors and a degree in Cell Biology and Neuroscience, according to the RNJMS website. He then went to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and received his M.D. in 2011. After medical school, he completed his residency at Yale New Haven Hospital, and specialized in head-and-neck surgery, before finishing in 2016.

During medical school and residency, Paskhover received awards for his accomplishments and skills, such as the Gold Humanism Honors Award, according to the site. Along with leading numerous research projects, he has received a variety of awards for patient care, and grants for research. He also has approximately 20 publications relating to head-and-neck reconstructive surgery.

After residency, Paskhover had a desire to learn more about facial reconstruction surgery and obtained a fellowship with the New York University Langone Medical Center, according to the site. There he trained with some of the nation's leading facial, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, while also working as an attending surgeon at the NYC Veterans Hospital, Manhattan Eye Ear Throat Hospital and Bellevue Hospital Center. 

His extensive training on this particular field makes him one of a small number of surgeons specialized entirely in facial reconstruction, according to the site. Paskhover currently works as the only facial plastic surgeon at RNJMS.

“What I do is not common," Paskhover said. "There's only about 40 people who go through the facial plastic reconstruction training per year. So there's very few people in the country who do specifically what I do.” 

Paskhover works to fix the structure and skin of the face, he said. From mandible bones to cartilage, he treats all aspects of a patient’s facial appearance, including the ears. He specializes in restorative surgery, meaning he works on recreating or fixing parts of the face that may have been lost or damaged — often from birth defects or accidents as opposed to cosmetic surgery which is purely for aesthetic purposes, though he is highly trained in that as well.

Paskhover said he sees patients of varying ages and conditions, covering all aspects of facial reconstruction. 

The Rutgers alumnus said that what drew him to facial reconstruction was the opportunity to help people. His work helps individuals feel better about their appearance, especially those who suffered from accidents or deforming birth conditions, he said. Treating children with congenital deformities or patients who have had damage from diseases like cancer is rewarding to Paskhover.

Despite stigmatized conceptions of plastic and corrective surgery, Paskhover said he has never experienced any sort of negativity toward his work or profession. The majority of his surgeries consists of helping individuals that have serious damage to their faces from pre-existing conditions or circumstances, and although his procedures ultimately result in aesthetic improvements, his work receives gratitude and respect from patients alike.

“Most of my patients are very happy,” Paskhover said. “What I do is not life or death but it changes people's quality of life significantly. More than half my work, I’d say 70 percent of what I do is reconstruction. So someone's got a deformity, a hole in their face because of cancer or a broken jaw — I fix them.”

As a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, he teaches classes to medical students and also helps in training residents, according to the site. Some of the surgeries he performs include trauma reconstruction, congenital deformities treatment, nerve reanimation, rhinoplasty and cosmetic ear surgery. He is an expert in all areas of head and neck surgery and continues to pass on his knowledge to future generations of surgeons and doctors at RNJMS.

The Department Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery belongs to Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS), it is located in Newark. The department has a long history of treating patients with issues of the ears, nose, throat and other head and neck structures, and has produced more than 300 publications in the last five years, according to its website

Andrew Petryna

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