Plastic surgery is not just about cosmesis. It’s mostly about construction and reconstruction and improving people’s lives. Just ask Gregory M. Beddell, MD. Dr. Beddell is a board-certified general surgeon and fellowship-trained plastic surgeon who specializes in head and neck surgery and reconstructive surgery. His practice, Serenity Plastic Surgery, has clinical offices in Stow and Uniontown, OH. Recently, Dr. Beddell joined Western Reserve Hospital Physicians (WRHP), Inc.
“When the public hears the words ‘plastic surgery,’ they automatically think of the cosmetic aspect,” says Dr. Beddell. “Reconstructive surgery addresses important functional considerations as well as cosmetic and emotional aspects in treating individuals with congenital abnormalities, traumatic injuries or certain cancers.”
About Dr. Beddell
Born and raised in Canton, OH, Dr. Beddell completed the accelerated BS/MD program through Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) and Youngstown State University (YSU), graduating summa cum laude from YSU in two years. Between his General Surgery and Plastic Surgery residencies at Summa Health’s Akron City Hospital, he served as a general surgeon.
Gregory M. Beddell, MD, is a board-certified general surgeon and fellowship-trained plastic surgeon who specializes in head and neck surgery and reconstructive surgery. His practice, Serenity Plastic Surgery, has clinical offices in Stow and Uniontown, OH.
As a Plastic Surgery resident, Dr. Beddell gained knowledge and experience in breast procedures, cancer management and reconstruction, trauma reconstruction, and all aspects of cosmetic surgery. He also developed a keen interest in head and neck cancer surgery. Recognizing a need in Northeast Ohio for a surgical specialist in this field, he applied and was accepted for fellowship training at one of the nation’s top cancer centers: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
An active participant in research, Dr. Beddell received the Van Buren Surgical Research Award in 2007 and the Andrew Kerr, Jr. Award for Clinical Science Research in 2013. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons also recognized him with the award for Best Paper for Pediatric or Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in 2014 at its national conference.
Dr. Beddell offers a wide range of plastic and reconstructive services including breast reconstruction, post-cancer surgery and reconstruction, scar revision, skin grafts, and tissue implants.
“My patients are primarily adults who need reconstructive surgery due to wounds, previous cancer surgeries or a defect from a traumatic injury,” explains Dr. Beddell. “I also see patients who present with congenital abnormalities that are still present from childhood or that didn’t surface or appear until later in life.”
Malignant tumors of the head and neck can occur in a variety of locations including nose, scalp, throat, tongue, ears and glands and are often disfiguring, creating a lot of emotional stress for the patient. Patients with more severe cancers may also need reconstructive surgery to re-establish the functionality, as well as the aesthetics, of the affected body part.
“When I look at head and neck cancers, I not only think about how we are going to treat the cancer, but I also look at both the functional and cosmetic aspects as I consider the reconstruction options,” says Dr. Beddell, who advocates a multi-disciplinary treatment approach. “It is very important to provide each patient with a well-rounded plan of care, from the surgeon who removes the cancer to the speech language and swallowing therapist. We all work towards the same goal — to help the patient restore function to as near normal as possible.”
Improving Cosmesis and Self-esteem
Many patients with head and neck cancers also struggle with depression and anxiety. Dr. Beddell recalls a young patient he treated during his head and neck fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She was an 18-year-old with sarcoma of the jaw who needed cancer surgery. During the surgical procedure, her tumor was completely removed along with half of her jaw, which was reconstructed with bone from her leg.
“Initially it was difficult to converse with her because she was so emotionally distraught from the diagnosis,” recalls Dr. Beddell. “She was also depressed with the initial results of her surgery, which included extensive swelling and a life-altering change to her physical appearance.”
When the patient returned three months later for follow-up, however, there was a significant difference in her demeanor and her appearance. “It was a pleasure to see not only that the cancer had been completely removed, but she also had no long-term functional deficit. We were able to provide her with a result that was as close to normal as possible,” he says. “She was very happy with the results of her surgery, as were her parents, who said, ‘We have our little girl back.’”
Employing Robotic Assistance
In addition to traditional surgical procedures, Dr. Beddell is also highly trained in the use of Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) to remove head and neck cancers that were previously inaccessible — primarily for early stage oropharyngeal T1 and T2 tumors. Using a robot provides a better view of certain areas, like the base of the tongue or tumors in the tonsils, and allows for a more targeted and minimally invasive procedure.
While robotic-assisted surgery has been used for many years in specialties such as urology, OB-GYN, thoracic surgery and general surgery, it has been only recently utilized for head and neck cancer surgery.
“Robotic assistance provides great advantages in treatment of head and neck cancers and allows patients to maintain their best quality of life,” Dr. Beddell explains.
He is excited to be able to provide TORS by the end of this year. “We will be the first practice in the Akron area to offer this cutting-edge treatment to our patients,” he says.
For more information about Dr. Greg Beddell and his services, visit www.serenityplastics.com. To refer a patient, call 330-971-9730.