When you hear the term plastic surgeon, it’s inevitable that the first things that run through your mind are face-lifts and implants. But it’s a lot more complex than that. Much like an artist, plastic surgeons have been bestowed a gift, and that’s something Dr. John Wakelin, M.D. of Upper Arlington’s Columbus Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery, Inc doesn’t take for granted.
“Calling yourself an artist sounds a little pompous, but a lot of people have said that about plastic surgery, and that’s precisely what I enjoy about it,” says Dr. Wakelin. “There is creativity in what we do that very few physicians are able to enjoy. That’s what enables me to look forward to going in and doing the work every day and being excited about going to work.”
While he sometimes works 16-hour days and completes anywhere from two to 15 daily surgeries, Dr. Wakelin finds that part of his job is truly invigorating and why this line of work is so perfect for him. “I do some surgeries in the office and a lot of outpatient surgeries at our outpatient surgery center, and then other surgeries at Riverside Hospital,” he says. “Being able to do different types of surgeries on a huge range of people—different ages, different problems—is really gratifying to me.”
In addition to the care he provides to his Columbus clients, Dr. Wakelin’s training and compassion directed his efforts to Paraguay, Nicaragua, Honduras and Peru with Operation Smile. There he performed cleft lip and palate surgeries for children and adults who normally would not have been able to receive such life-changing treatments.
“I was fortunate enough in my training to tag along for a medical mission,” says Dr. Wakelin. “It took me about a day to realize that this was something I wanted to be part of my life long turn. I feel fortunate enough to have skills that are so widely needed and are adaptable to these settings.”