J. Craig Merrell, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Getting to Know Your Doctor
Learn about Dr. Merrell's training, certification, experience, participation in Operation Smile
and other interests. click here
Areas of Expertise
Dr. Merrell is a Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon with special training, experience and expertise in the following areas:
- Hand Surgery
- Body Contouring
- Facial Rejuvenation
- Surgery of the Breast
- Reconstructive Surgery
- Surgery After Weight Loss
- Treatment of Skin Cancers and other Skin Problems
- Operation Smile
Practicing the art Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery takes years and years of training. The general pathway includes four years of undergraduate studies, four years of medical school, five years of general surgery residency and two or three years of specialization in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Many physicians will then add one or more years of fellowship study in a sub-specialty of plastic surgery such as cosmetic surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, breast surgery, etc. Upon completion of this rigorous program a physician can begin to practice plastic surgery, but Board Certification requires an additional two year wait followed by both written and oral examinations. Finally, physicians who have practiced in a given community for more than three years can apply for fellowship in the American College of Surgeons (FACS) an additional indication of their training and competency.
After completing the training noted above a plastic surgeon must first sit for and pass a written examination to test his/her knowledge of the field of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. This exam is but the first of two important steps to becoming Board Certified. The second phase of examination requires a doctor to submit case histories of patient he has cared for in a variety of different categories. He is then given an oral examination on these cases as well as on others selected by the board. After passing these rigorous examinations the physician is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons and he is permitted to use the MEMBERS symbol displayed on pages in this web site. In order to remain in good standing a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon is expected to complete at least 150 hours of continuing education every three years.
Nothing can take the place of experience. Those first few years after residency are incredibly stressful because the physician realizes that he is totally responsible for his results - good and bad. There is a big difference between doing your first breast reduction and doing your 300th breast reduction. Having performed a procedure dozens or even hundreds of times with a variety of patients allows your doctor to draw upon a personal resource that helps avoid mistakes and increases the prospects of having an excellent result. Dr. Merrell opened his practice in this community in July of 1983 brings to your needs a wealth of experience from years of dedicated service in the Hampton Roads area.