Top Doctors in Nashville: Kevin Kelly, MD
As the director of pediatric plastic surgery at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, he specializes in pediatric craniofacial surgery.
Written By: Melissa Carro
Photographers: Jen McDonald
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Given that he reconstructs faces for a living now, it’s no surprise that Dr. Kevin Kelly worked his way through college as a carpenter’s apprentice.
“I’ve always liked building things,” he laughs.
The problems that Dr. Kelly’s patients bring to him, however, are no laughing matter. The director of pediatric plastic surgery at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, he specializes in pediatric craniofacial surgery. Being at a Level I trauma center means his team sees patients with a wide range of deformities and injuries. It is obvious that he takes tremendous satisfaction out of rebuilding people’s faces.
“We see children from all over the Southeast and from as far away as Egypt,” says Dr. Kelly. “Missionaries routinely reach out to us with children who need our help. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to bring together a whole collection of specialists in one place to help a child.”
According to Dr. Kelly, that team may well include neurosurgeons, psychologists, speech therapists, and social workers—in addition to his plastic surgery practice. Trained in oral surgery, general surgery, and plastic surgery, Dr. Kelly was recruited to Vanderbilt in 1989 to expand the craniofacial surgery department. Although 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. days are the norm, he’s clearly a man who is motivated by doing what he loves.
“One of the best accolades I ever received was when I operated on a little girl from another country,” he says. “When she returned, she had a new passport picture and I had to write a letter to the authorities verifying it was the same little girl. It’s incredible to be able to make such a dramatic change in someone’s life.”
As seen in the Top Doctors in Nashville, July 2015