Each surgeon has a different story concerning what lead them to choose cosmetic surgery. Many join because of the joy that they believe people can gain through their services. Dr. Michael Obeng is the chief plastic surgeon at St. Elizabeth Boardman Health Center in Youngstown, Ohio and he told his story to WYTV 33.
Dr. Obeng grew up in Ghana and it is there, during his childhood, that he decided he would one day become a plastic surgeon. In 1985 he saw the results of a reconstructive surgery performed on his neighbor who had suffered a facial disfigurement. The surgeons were from Operation Smile, a not-for-profit, volunteer
medical services organization that provides reconstructive facial surgery to children and young adults all around the world. The results were motivational to him and he told WYTV, “She had a whole new different outlook on life. That really inspired me to be a doctor, specifically a plastic surgeon.”
Not many children in Ghana dream of becoming a plastic surgeon but that is exactly what Obeng dreamed of, and he would not allow himself to fail. He moved to the states in 1993, where he attended medical school. He took a fellowship at Harvard Medical School, while also being an assistant surgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr Obeng said, “I never let anything deter me, because when you have a
dream, people say you can’t do it, but actually it motivates you and makes you work harder.”
He has performed over 400 procedures and is doing complex reconstructions, cosmetic surgery, and hand surgery. He says of his patients, “These are people that would rather be treated elsewhere. But with my skill set, we’re able to keep these sets of patients in the Youngstown area, and it has been very rewarding.” Dr. Obeng is proud to be able to provide a service that is so badly needed for many who have deformities and disfigurements.
He has also started an organization to help provide reconstructive surgeries in other countries. The organization is called Restore Worldwide and it stands for Restoring Emotional Stability Through Outstanding Reconstructive Efforts. This organization obviously stems from his experiences of the life changing effect that reconstructive surgery can have on a person. Some of his efforts have been geared toward surgeries on women who have congenital breast deformities from breast cancer.
He has a goal of traveling to a different country each year, and teaching the local surgeons how to perform these reconstructive procedures. He knows that his organization cannot help everyone in each area that he visits. He says that he wants to teach the local physicians, “So when we leave they can still continue to do some of the work that we’re not able to get to.”