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Plastic Surgeon Heals Patients, Finds Purpose in Oxford


Dr. Dan Shell is board certified in plastic surgery.

Dr. Dan Shell is a family man and skilled plastic surgeon who believes some people have seen a few too many Nip Tuck episodes.
The married father of three started his practice in Oxford six years ago because he wanted to have time to spend with his wife (Marry Anna Shell is the office manager at Shell Plastic Surgery) and his boys, ages 11, 9 and 3.
After graduating from Ole Miss, Dr. Shell went on to the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis. The soft-spoken physician made it clear during his HottyToddy.com interview that he reveres his family and is absolutely dedicated to his profession.
“I love my job because I can have a direct impact on my patients’ self esteem,” said Shell, whose father was also a plastic surgeon directing a large practice in Memphis. “In this specialty you rarely see the same thing twice. Plastic surgery is a creative endeavor. I enjoy using anatomical principles to restore function and elevate self-esteem.”
When Shell describes these cases his own demeanor brightens. “I enjoy the smile on a patient’s face after I’ve been able to repair a defect in their face or the grin of a child who suffered from a cleft lip and now can go to school free of anxiety. In the absence of this kind of reconstruction, children can grow up psychologically impaired. Adults can become socially debilitated.”
Shell is proud of his profession, but he warns prospective plastic surgery patients to carefully screen doctors. “It’s important to educate yourself as a patient,” he said.  “The profession has been misrepresented in the media as all about artificially restoring youth and making money. Unfortunately you will find physicians performing cosmetic procedures such as face lifts and breast augmentation who are not properly certified or trained in plastic surgery. For some, it’s a big-money business that leads to people getting Botox injections from just about anyone. The under-qualified doctors who are doing complex cosmetic procedures are inviting severe complications.”
He advises all prospective patients to do their homework and ensure that any doctor they see is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
If you live in the Oxford area, you don’t have to go far to find a plastic surgeon with exactly those credentials. Shell is board certified by The American Board of Surgery and The American Board of Plastic Surgery. He is also a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
He did his specialist training in plastic surgery and reconstruction at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, one of the nation’s top training grounds for plastic surgeons.
Shell puts that training to great use at his practice at 2716 West Oxford Loop. He spends two days a week at Baptist Memorial Hospital and two days at the Surgery Center adjacent to the hospital. Shell estimates that 50 percent of his practice is cosmetic surgery and the remainder is reconstruction. “In order to do good work in cosmetic surgery,” he explained, “you need a solid foundation in reconstructive skills.”
One of the major areas of reconstructive surgery that Shell performs and lectures about is breast reconstruction. Typically the surgery is done after breast removal due to cancer.
“We work in close cooperation with the patient’s oncologist,” Shell said. “After consultation with the patient, if we determine she is a good candidate, we usually try to perform the breast reconstruction immediately after the mastectomy. Our goal in these cases is to offer hope and alleviate fear. The procedure has evolved remarkably over the last 10 years and the results are extremely good.”
Surgery, lecturing, rounds and consultation would seem to leave little time for family life, but Shell makes it a priority. “Sometimes it seems like I never sleep but I try to make it to games and events,” he said. “One of the main reasons we wanted to establish our practice in Oxford is because of the quality of life here. It’s a wonderful place to raise kids.”
Besides a good patient base, the plastic surgeon said he finds the medical community in Oxford to be supportive.
“My colleagues are strong, but not competitive,” he said. “I’d call it a collegial atmosphere. We enjoy great resources here and on any given day I’ll interact with colleagues from orthopedics, general surgery, family practice or oncology.”
Shell said he believes his fellow physicians are glad to be able to refer patients in town rather than to Jackson or UAB in Birmingham, Ala.
What is his fastest growing segment of patients?
“I’m seeing several people a day with some diagnosis involving possible skin cancer,” he said. “The prevalence of younger patients (30-35) with melanomas can be partly explained by the growing popularity of tanning booths.”
Dr. Shell has no regrets about picking Oxford to practice medicine.
“I always thought I would end up working at an academic medical center but I changed my mind,” he said. “Here I can control my own practice and have a reasonable family life with the balance that makes life very fulfilling.”
A family man and a healer. Dr. Dan Shell is living his dream.
For more information on Shell Plastic Surgery, call 662-236-6465 or go to www.shellplasticsurgery.com.
Andy Knef is editor of HottyToddy.com. Andy can be contacted about this story at Andy.Knef@HottyToddy.com.

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