Raj Vyas, MD | Orange County Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Raj Vyas is a specialist in what many consider the most challenging aspect of plastic surgery – craniofacial surgery, delicate cleft repairs, state-of-the-art cancer reconstruction and much more, both pediatric and adult. In addition to his broad reconstructive practice, he is well-respected in the area of aesthetics, particularly facial procedures and breast augmentation, translating his incredible skills as a reconstructive surgeon into creating beauty.
As a Craniofacial Surgeon, Dr. Vyas specializes in surgery of the cranium (skull) and face. Dr. Vyas is passionate about restoring form and function to children born with cleft lip/palate, cranial deformities, facial growth anomalies, and a host of other congenital craniofacial differences. In adults, Dr. Vyas has expertise in facial aesthetic surgery, migraine relief surgery, and reconstruction of the face after cancer and trauma. Dr. Vyas particularly enjoys rhinoplasty, jaw surgery, and procedures that reverse facial aging.
Practice Philosophy for Practicing Medicine
What drew Dr. Vyas to his field is the challenge of it – the need to stretch and use his creativity to solve whatever the problem is before him. He says that no two cases are the same because every human being has his or her unique anatomy along with whatever physical and psychosocial challenges to be faced.
“I love my work because I’m constantly learning. Every day I try to be better than the day before.”
Dr. Vyas says, “One of the biggest challenges I face in my work is making sure a patient’s loved ones feel as secure and confident as possible. I don’t want the anxiety of family members to translate to the patient. Calm loved ones results in calmer patients. My goal is to be reassuring and provide education – to paint a picture and to take away the unknown. Many of my patients are encouraged to take responsibility for their own care before and after their procedure. Of course, there is a downside because there’s lots of hype and misinformation on the internet, in articles etc. That is why I prefer an educated patient – one who has done some homework before we meet.”
Education & Training
“I was educated at Stanford and UCLA – then did my plastic surgery residency at Harvard and craniofacial surgery fellowship at NYU. I was so fortunate to have been mentored by world leaders in our field.”
Dr. Raj Vyas is a native of Southern California. He studied Biology and Economics at Stanford University, where he earned the President’s Award for Academic Excellence and graduated with Honors & Distinction. Dr. Vyas completed his medical education at UCLA, receiving numerous honors including the Longmire Medal (top medical student in surgery) and the Stafford L. Warren Medal (top overall medical student). He was one of two students invited to join the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) medical honor society during his third year, and served as UCLA chapter president.
Following medical school, Dr. Vyas joined the Harvard Plastic Surgery Residency. There, he was mentored by a broad range of world leaders in the field and treated patients at several “Top 10 US News” hospitals–Massachusetts General, Brigham & Women’s, and Boston Children’s. After residency, Dr. Vyas pursued additional fellowship training in Craniofacial Surgery at New York University – the nation’s first and most comprehensive program.
Dr. Vyas’s training reinforced his unwavering work ethic. That ethic is as extraordinary as his talent as a surgeon. He does most of his planning before entering the operating room – spending hours reviewing films; envisioning and planning every step; understanding it from every angle. He believes surgery should be precise and mathematical and does everything in his power to minimize surprises in the OR.
PEDIATRIC PLASTIC SURGERY
• Vascular anomalies (Hemangiomas and Vascular Malformations)
• Giant congenital or hairy nevi (moles)
• Skin lesions and scar revisions
• Cleft lip and palate
• Alveolar cleft (gum) bone grating
• Velopharyngeal insufficiency VPI (Speech surgery)
• Obstructive sleep apnea (Airway surgery)
• Craniosynostosis (Congenital skull anomaly)
• Craniofacial (Hemifacial) Microsomia
• Treacher-Collins Syndrome
• Maxilla or Mandible growth disturbance (Distraction Osteogenesis)
• Facial fractures
• Ear anomalies: Microtia and Otoplasty reconstruction
• Infant ear molding (Earwell™)
• Facial Reanimation Surgery (or consults Regarding Facial Nerve Surgery)
Pediatrics and Migraine Relief
CHOC is the perfect place for Dr. Vyas. It is a place that nurtures the patient. A place where physicians can feel part of a community–where they can collaborate with physicians from every specialty. The kind of work Dr. Vyas does is dependent on a multidisciplinary team. Patients are often patients for life, and it takes good medicine and good psychology to support that person. “In the case of a child, we must be thinking beyond the current challenge and procedure and anticipate how that child will grow in 6 months or 5 years.”
“I love working as part of a team at Children’s Hospital in Orange County. Collaboration is the best way to assure great outcomes.”
For people who suffer from chronic migraines that are resistant to traditional medications, there can be great relief. Over the last decade, we have learned that compression of peripheral facial and scalp nerves are likely the trigger that causes susceptible individuals to have repeated migraine headaches. This compression can be because of muscle, vessels, and/or bone. Decompressing the nerves can be extremely therapeutic and life restoring.
“I ask the patient to keep a headache journal to record anatomic trigger sites as well as the onset, frequency, severity, and duration of headaches. I then confirm suspected trigger site with the use of Botox. If responsive to Botox, I can do an outpatient procedure to decompress the suspect nerves in order to minimize or even completely eliminate the symptoms of their migraines,” says Dr. Vyas.
Dr. Vyas enjoys playing tennis and basketball and a huge Lakers fan. He also enjoys hiking, traveling, and beach time with his family.
Get To Know Dr. Vyas
I was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Fullerton, California.
I graduated with Distinction while studying Biology and Economics at Stanford University. I was drawn to medicine when learning Human Disease Genetics at Oxford University and through my Honors research in developmental neurobiology and health policy. I studied medicine at UCLA and earned medals for the top student in Surgery and the top medical student in my class. There I was fortunate to discover plastic surgery and, in particular, the fascinating and challenging subspecialty of Craniofacial Surgery. I did my plastic surgery training at Harvard Medical School where I was mentored by world leaders in all areas of reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery. I completed fellowship in Craniofacial Surgery at New York University’s renown Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, the country’s first and most established craniofacial program.
I am aware of the immense trust patients and families give their surgeon. Therefore, I want all my patients to know they are seen, heard, and loved. Our shared goal is their happiness, and my patients know I am dedicated to achieving this goal to the full extent of my abilities.
I very much enjoy the breadth and complexity of procedures that characterize both reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery. Each patient has unique anatomy with unique challenges and opportunities. Each procedure, whether restoring function or enhancing form, must be customized to the individual.
My favorite thing about being a plastic surgeon is restoring and enhancing the lives of my patients.
Being faculty at UC Irvine’s School of Medicine provides opportunities to combine my passion for clinical care with lots of exciting research and academic leadership. To me, being a successful physician means providing state-of-the-art care while continuing to innovate and advocate for patients both nationally and internationally.
Compassionate. Dedicated. Perfectionist.
I am lucky to have had many impactful mentors in both Boston and New York during my training. These leaders and innovators stretched my three dimensional understanding of the face, sharpened my surgical skill, and inspired my imagination for what constitutes facial restoration and enhancement.
Being a craniofacial plastic surgeon means I get the opportunity to care for my patients over many years. Constant self critique and learning are therefore essential to refining outcomes. Being a plastic surgeon has made me deeply committed to this lifelong process.
My patients know that I see them, hear them, and will always approach their care with love and persistence.