The popularity of plastic and cosmetic surgery is ever increasing, with the advancements in technology allowing the use of more non-invasive techniques. But should the need arise for surgery, the importance of finding a properly trained and board certified provider is paramount. There are many plastic and cosmetic surgeons who deal daily with liposuction, breast augmentation and body work of all manners, but when it comes to facial plastic surgery, Dr. Neal Goldman offers something unique in the Winston-Salem, NC area. “My entire practice in Advance, NC, serving the Winston-Salem, NC area, is focused completely on facial aesthetics, so my patients are truly getting a facial cosmetic specialist. My patients take comfort in the fact that, day in and day out, I deal specifically with the face and the face only. Patients seek physicians who are experienced. Patients seek the confidence in a surgeon who has done so many procedures that their surgery is like second nature to them,” said Dr. Goldman. From the age of five, Dr. Goldman knew that he wanted to be a physician. He never doubted that he would make his dream of helping others a reality.
When Life Comes Full Circle
With a father in the Foreign Service, Dr. Goldman grew up in Japan and the Dominican Republic. It was this early exposure to other cultures which sparked his interest in international medicine. He graduated from an American high school in Maryland and then pursued his degree at Duke University. “Following my graduation from Duke, I attended the University of Rochester and completed ENT [ear-nose-throat] training, I went to the University of Washington in Seattle, WA for my facial plastic surgery training, then extended my time there with a second post-graduate fellowship in cranio-maxillofacial surgery, and I stayed on as a member of the faculty in Seattle. Then I started my search for a place to live. I wanted to continue my involvement in Academia, and I was drawn to North Carolina. I accepted a position at Wake Forest University as the Director of Facial Plastic Surgery from 1999-2012. I was happy with my practice at WFU, but I discovered the NC mountains and a love of the outdoors, so I set up a practice in Boone, NC in 2012. My patients were very insistent that I open an office to serve Winston-Salem, so I opened my second location in Advance, NC,” Dr. Goldman recalled. With a thriving practice and doing something he loves, you might think Dr. Goldman would be satisfied just helping his patients here, but since very early in his medical school years, Dr. Goldman has had a yearning to go and work internationally with children and adults, treating those with craniofacial deformities. His work abroad has given him a new perspective on life and medicine.
“I remember writing papers in school about how I wanted to work as a physician internationally, so I knew I would one day do just that. To me, being a doctor meant international medicine. But it was in my third year of medical school while at the University of Rochester, after looking at all the specialties, knowing that surgery was my interest, becoming a facial specialist all came down to my meeting my mentor and role model. There was a physician, a facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Quatela, who I met and I really wanted to be just like in every way, from the person he was outside of his practice, to the way he treated his patients…the way he made people feel when he walked into a room. It is kind of remarkable that one person had this much influence on me, but he is the reason I became a facial specialist,” stated Dr. Goldman. It was through his mentor and friend, Dr. Quatela, that Dr. Goldman realized his dream of working internationally through the charitable medical group, Help Us Give Smiles or HUGS, founded by Dr. Quatela.
“When I go on the yearly trips to Vietnam and Guatemala with Dr. Quatela, I can see how my life has come back around full circle. Now I am working with the physician who inspired me to do what I do and who has given me the opportunity to do international medicine. Now I have incorporated my initial dream of international medicine into my life and career.
Many of the patients I see on these trips have a cleft lip or microtia, which is a congenital deformity where one or both ears are poorly developed, absent or malformed. We work alongside medical professionals from the countries we visit, teaching them how to do the surgeries. Recently, after reflection about my past trips and most recent trip to Vietnam, I realized there are powerful bonds formed, not only between those on the medical team, but between the patients and their families. I see a lot of children and some of the children, especially in Guatemala, are from deep in the jungle, and they have never seen another child who was born without ears. During their time with HUGS, they meet other children just like them, and they really become part of a larger family that offers support. They come in scared, but over several days, they have a sense of peace that there are others out there ‘like me.’ Beyond helping others who wouldn’t receive medical services without HUGS, I get to work with my mentor, then return to my practice where I can’t even describe how much my patients and my work mean to me,” Dr. Goldman commented. Outside of those two weeks a year spent with HUGS, Dr. Goldman finds himself enjoying every aspect of his work.
There’s an old saying, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,’ and it doesn’t take long when you talk to Dr. Goldman to realize that he not only knows facial plastic surgery, but he truly cares about his patients. “I go into my office every day looking forward to seeing my patients. I like talking to my patients about the things in their lives that they care about – hearing about their jobs, their kids, pets, and hobbies. I believe it is very important to build trust with my patients, so they know there’s no reason to worry; I have the experience and knowledge to help them. Because my practice is focused solely on the face, I deal with many of the same or similar issues all the time. I have patients who get great results for many years from non-invasive treatments using fillers and injectables, with little downtime and the possibility of delaying or avoiding surgery completely, but should they feel that they want more significant changes to their face, neck, eyes, or nose, we can discuss surgery. I start with a consultation and then take pictures of the patient and sit down with them, and we look at the pictures on the computer, discussing what I can do to address their concerns. Since I only deal with surgeries of the face and neck, I can share with them what I’ve done in the past, perhaps with a similar situation. Throughout my medical career, I have loved the complexity of the face and continue to find every day intellectually stimulating. Sometimes when I am at the hospital with my patients, I find myself walking down the halls, almost singing, and smiling…then I catch myself and think, ‘not everyone in the hospital is happy to be here,’ but I enjoy my job so much that containing my enthusiasm is hard. I have done so much in my career, from writing articles in medical journals, to teaching and presenting at medical courses, to being recognized in several publications as ‘Top or Best Doctor,’ although I do love sharing the passion I have for facial plastic surgery with my peers, going to my office every day is my reward. Having my patients happy with their decisions and being a part of getting them to where they want to be is the best feeling,” said Dr. Goldman.
The Goldman Center for Facial Plastic Surgery is located in Kinderton Village at 108 Dornach Way in Advance, NC. For more information, call336-245-9595 or visit the website at FacialPlasticSurgeryNC.com.