Reattaching a severed thumb? Corrective facial surgery that allows an 8-year-old to smile for the first time?
Dr. Richard Baynosa, program director of the division of plastic surgery at UNLV Medicine, spent six hours one day reattaching cowboy Ben Mays’ thumb after it was torn off during the World Series of Team Roping held in Las Vegas.
Abraham Chavez got his smile following a nine-hour procedure performed by Dr. John Menezes.
Plastic Surgery Services
That kind of painstaking reconstructive microsurgery, according to Baynosa, is “just part of the wide range of state-of-the-art plastic surgery services offered by UNLV Medicine.” Most of the plastic surgery patients are first seen at the UNLV Medicine Plastic Surgery Clinic, 1707 W. Charleston Blvd.
About 1,000 procedures are done annually, carried out largely by Baynosa, Menezes, and Dr. John Brosious. Six residents on staff, who go through six years of residency, are trained by the threesome.
Procedures offered include breast reconstruction, cleft lip and palate repair, craniofacial surgery, scar revision, skin cancer removal, skin grafts, tummy tucks, breast augmentation, breast reduction, dermabrasion, face lifts, liposuction, body contouring, rhinoplasty, eyelid repair, and thighplasty.
Baynosa, a School of Medicine associate professor who serves on committees for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and Mountain West Society of Plastic Surgeons, completed a fellowship with world-renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Phillip Blondeel in Belgium.
Now specializing in breast reconstruction for cancer patients, Baynosa is the first surgeon in Nevada to offer microsurgical breast reconstruction with the patient’s own abdominal skin and fat. He’ll often begin the reconstruction as his wife, Dr. Jennifer Baynosa, an associate professor of breast oncology surgery with the School of Medicine, is completing her work on a patient.
Menezes is the only craniofacial-trained surgeon in Nevada who also is fellowship-trained. He completed his fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“Every week I operate on the cleft lip and palate of a child,” he said. After that primary reconstruction, he generally does two follow-up reconstruction procedures as the child grows. “Just the clefts alone keep me pretty busy,” he said.
Menezes, who also handles craniofacial cases as a result of gunshot wounds, has repaired cleft palates as part of the Las Vegas Philippines medical mission. He plans to take UNLV medical students on similar missions.
Brosious, who attended medical school at Indiana University before completing his residency at UNR, frequently finds himself working on cases involving trauma to the legs and arms. Injuries from burns, car accidents, and four-wheeler mishaps often find him transplanting tissue from one area of the body to the affected areas.
He reattached one man’s arm after it was cut off by a samurai sword. “It apparently happened when a drug deal went bad,” Brosious said.
All three surgeons say they find their work gratifying.
“You get to change someone’s life for the better,” Baynosa said.