The first time the modern world entered into war, plastic surgery emerged to prove itself and its significance as a medical field. During World War I surgeons and doctors utilized skill and new advances to heal and restore the bodies, faces, and spirits of our wounded troops. Where general practioners lack the intricate expertise and artistic vision of the true human face and body, plastic surgeons excel. Even today, primary physicians and specialized surgeons will refer patients to plastic surgeons in the most delicate and complex of situations where they know a plastic surgeon’s precise hand and skill will benefit the patient the most.
Reconstructive surgery is the art of restoration of form and function to the human body. Among his many success stories, sometimes overlooked is Dr. Michael Byun’s prominence and authority in this specific area of plastic surgery. He understands how a trauma, such as automobile accidents, accidental falls, sports injuries, cancer surgery, birth disfigurements, and work related injuries can take an emotional as well as a physical toll on the individual.
*Note: The testimonials below include before and after images that may be graphic in nature. Discretion is advised.
The patient is a 25-year-old male who was born with a primary complete left upper lip cleft lip and palate. He underwent numerous surgeries as a child and most recently at the age of 14 had a double-jaw surgery with LeFort II reconstruction and LeFort I reconstruction. The reconstructions had failed and relapsed, causing further scarring. Noted was the downslanting of the upper eye and lower cheek areas, due to the scar contracture from the previous surgery. He has compensatory lip curling which blunted the chin.
- Release of brow muscles
- Fasciocutaneous flap, check and neck, bilateral
- Septoplasty and trubinectomy
- Plication of the platysmal band
- Pyriform augmentation
- Redo of the cleft lip
The patient is a 36-year-old male who had a slow growth of a cheek mass for the last 15 years and has been unable to have this tumor diagnosed. After the patient visited with Dr. Byun, a MRI was completed which was consistent with the parotid tumor measuring a diameter of 25 cm and projecting about 20 cm.
- Right parotidectomy
- SMAS muscle flap, right neck and cheek
Abel Alfaro : Victim of Motor Vehicle Accident – Reconstruction of Face
“I remember the unfortunate day of October 1, 2003. I was driving going about my usual routine, when out of no where I was hit on the passenger side of my car with full force by what appeared to be a huge truck. I must have passed out because the next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital. I believe that it wasn’t my time to go because god blessed me with a great doctor, who gave me a second chance at life. When I woke up I had tubes in my nose and wires that connected me to many machines. But that isn’t the scariest or worst feeling…I woke up but being able to move my mouth, not being able to speak. I was told that I was hit by a garbage truck at 55 miles an hour. I had a severe multiple facial bone fractures, and lacerations that started near the carotid artery and went on to expose the inside of my mouth. I was told that the laceration was so severe that I had missing teeth on the right side as well as gum tissue. I couldn’t speak but my facial expressions where more than enough.
It was explained to me that Dr. Michael Byun had been my attending physician. He made my face look whole again. He reattached everything that he could. By looking at myself I couldn’t believe that besides the scarring I appeared normal. People who have seen my pictures prior to the reconstruction never could have imagined that I’d look so good.
That was only the beginning of my reconstruction. He was able to immediately take care of my exterior now it was time to reconstruct the inside of my mouth. I had stated earlier that I had severe facial bone fractures, which included the lower part of my eye socket, nasal fracture, and jaw fracture. There were able to be fixed right away except for my jaw fracture because I had been orally intubated and I had that huge laceration. Once I was stable enough to have another surgery, the tube in my mouth had been removed and I went right back to surgery twenty one days later. I had multiple plates and screws inserted into my mouth so that it will heal correctly. I had what they call IMF screws inserted into my mouth with wires that kept my mouth closed for nearly two months.
Now that it’s almost three years post my traumatic experience, I don’t believe that I could be any happier with my results. Dr. Byun always told me that there is always room for improvement. I trust him with any big medical decisions in my life. I owe him more than I can say. He gave me a second chance at life. He’s the best! No other has better technical superiority or has the most heart as Dr. Byun.”
Teri Jendusa-Nicolai : Reconstruction of Feet and Scalp
“On February 1, 2004, I arrived at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital’s emergency room. I was near death. I had suffered a brutal attack at the hands of my ex-husband who is now beginning a 37 year prison term for attempted homicide, among other charges. I was unrecognizable as a human being. My head was swollen to three times its size. I was cut and bruised everywhere. My limbs and especially my toes were severely frostbitten. My eyes were swollen shut. Because of the beating I sustained, I lost a 2″ x 2” portion of the back of my scalp. My body temperature was 84 degrees. I lost the baby I was carrying. The outlook was grim.
By the grace of god and by the diligent efforts of the hospital staff, I survived. However, I was facing amputation of my legs and an arm. My scalp needed extensive work. I was told that I would probably always have a bald spot. My face was so full of cuts and bruises that I would more than likely need plastic surgery to regain a normal appearance. That is when Dr. Michael Byun came into my life. He soon started “debrided” the blisters from my toes, limbs, and face. He very skillfully applied ointments to help keep the scarring down which ultimately dismissed the need for future surgeries.
The first thing that struck me about Dr. Byun was his warm personality and his oft spoken nature. I was very comfortable with him. This meant a lot to me after all I had just been through. He kept me informed on my progress and kept me very involved in the decision making process. My legs and arms were restored to health but my toes were damaged beyond repair. They had to be amputated. The balls of my feet suffered a great deal of damage also and the question became, do we amputate those also or seek alternative measures? Dr. Byun advised me that if I could be patient, we would work to save the balls of my feet. This would be very important for balance and walking. Given my young age and my good health, together we opted to take the long route. Dr. Byun together with an orthopedic surgeon performed as many as 13 surgeries on my feet…debriding them a little at a time to save as much tissue as possible. He also used a “wound vac” to help speed the healing process. It was a great success! Today I am walking and chasing after my young children.
He also did an absolutely beautiful job on the back of my scalp. By using what he called a “butterfly incision,” he removed the damaged portion of the scalp and repaired it so I would have no bald spot. This was a very delicate surgery that required a lot of skill. When people look at me today, they are amazed. It is difficult for them to believe that I was ever in the shape I had been in.
Dr. Byun has earned my utmost respect as a talented professional who has a passion for excellence. His genuine concern and care for my emotional well being as well as my physical health has granted him a home in my heart forever.”
Marybeth Schmidt: Reconstruction of Face
“Seven years ago in 1999, my older sister was in a terrible car accident, suffering a traumatic brain injury. Following the accident, Marybeth had the extremely hard job of regaining her ability to walk, read, speak, and unfortunately accept a facial disfigurement. Due to the TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), Mary had little or no control over the nerves and muscles of her face. Her eyes couldn’t focus well and turned inward and her speech was so distorted by the loss of control that it was difficult to understand what she was saying. Of course, this traumatic change in her life put Marybeth into a deep depression–poor sleep patterns, anger issues, and distress over her appearance.
I made so many phone calls to local plastic surgeons who stated that they didn’t have the expertise to handle Marybeth’s needs– also; they wouldn’t be able to submit charges to Medicaid. Then, I got Dr. Byun’s name and made an appointment to see him in his North Shore office. I really thought this was another futile attempt and that no one would be able to help Marybeth.
Well, I have never experienced anyone with the gentleness and compassion of Dr. Michael Byun. During his initial examination, Dr. Byun contorted the muscles in Marybeth’s face to show me how she would look after surgery. I was so stunned by the change in her looks! He gave Marybeth a mirror so that she would see for herself what he could do for her. She refused the mirror, saying that she hadn’t looked in a mirror in years and wouldn’t again. With the most compassionate tone in his voice Dr. Byun told Marybeth that it was his “job” to make sure that she would look in a mirror again and smile, that he wanted to make her life whole again. I was elated that this man knew exactly what Marybeth needed, physically and emotionally, but I was also torn since I knew that there was no way such surgery was affordable to my family. But then when I explained the financial problems, Dr. Byun offered me a special price–just to take him out to lunch when Marybeth’s work was completed!
This most compassionate and gentle man, Dr. Byun gave all of this to Marybeth as a gift–he has not charged us for her surgeries nor the extra time he has spent taking not only Marybeth, but all her sisters, under his wing. He has performed a number of extensive plastic surgeries on Marybeth, and today she does look in the mirror. Without the plastic surgeries, her personal and social recovery couldn’t have happened. He continues to rehabilitate Marybeth’s appearance; Dr. Byun doesn’t feel that his work with Marybeth is “complete.” He wants to do even more and when he, Marybeth and the family share the lunch upon “completion,” it is going to be a great one!”