Hugh Bailey – Newstimes.com
For Dr. Mark Melendez, the personal touch takes top priority.
The plastic surgeon, who has offices in Shelton, Greenwich and Woodbridge, says he wants his practice to hearken back to earlier days, when doctors knew their patients well and were always available.
“I’m trying to bring back what was done in the past,” said Melendez, who opened his practice late last year. “Family practices used to go to patients’ homes, and that’s a service patients do need at times. We want to provide the best in outpatient care.”
At Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery Associates of Connecticut, Melendez provides a range of cosmetic and reconstructive surgical procedures, including what’s known as microvascular reconstruction surgery for breast cancer patients. It’s a technically demanding procedure that involves using tissue from elsewhere in the patient’s body for reconstruction.
For all his patients, he said, availability is key, adding that all his patients have his cellphone number.
He completed a fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2012-13, where he learned about complicated procedures, including hand transplants. “It was the best decision I have made for my career,” he said. “I was the only fellow accepted that year, and I had the ability to work with the giants in the field.”
Melendez, who lives in Wilton, has staff privileges at six local hospitals, including Derby’s Griffin Hospital, Milford Hospital and Greenwich Hospital. His wife, Dr. Renee Baranin-Melendez, is an emergency room doctor at Greenwich Hospital. They have a 3-year-old son.
Before he pursued medicine, the 45-year-old Melendez looked to a career in business. He holds a master’s of business administration degree from the Harriman School of Business at Stony Brook University, and he said the experience prepared him well for running his own practice.
“As president of my own company, I’ve found there is a lot involved with the application of my business knowledge, including billing, coding and management of the practice,” he said.
Melendez said he has volunteered his services on medical missions to Ecuador and Vietnam, where he plans to return in March for the third time.
“It’s an enriching experience,” he said. “We’re able to provide services overseas, and it’s a forum by which we work closely with the Vietnamese surgeons and operate together as a team.”
He said plastic surgery is one of the most competitive fields in medicine, citing a variety of reasons for its popularity. “There’s the lifestyle, the potential financial gain and the breadth of surgery one gets a chance to do,” he said. “It really attracts the best and the brightest.”
Dr. Jeffrey Arons, a Woodbridge plastic surgeon who subleases space to Melendez, said the two have a good working relationship.
“He’s a younger doctor, and it’s been nice to share cases together,” Arons said. “He’s starting out, and he does some very sophisticated breast reconstructive surgery, which is really best done with two surgeons.”
Arons said all plastic surgeons compete to some degree, but described his relationship with Melendez as collegial.
“In addition to subletting office space, he asked if I would assist him with the microvascular surgery. It’s been a mutually beneficial relationship for both of us,” he said. “I see it as helping, not competing.”
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