Striving for the Best
In the hands of world-renowned oculofacial plastic surgeon Dr. Alan Brackup, patients discover natural-looking, life-changing results
by Pete Croatto

As the interview with Alan B. Brackup, M.D., FACS, comes to an end, the reporter presumes that this world-renowned cosmetic surgeon will simply return to the task of improving patients’ lives. Or at least begin his weekend. 

Less than a minute later, however, the reporter’s phone rings. It’s Dr. Brackup. He wants to refine an answer about how he stays humble despite his success. The reporter cannot think of a comment that needs clarification or improvement, though he welcomes the input. Dr. Brackup graciously proceeds.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to train with leaders in the field: Nobel Laureates, people who have come up with life-changing innovations,” says Dr. Brackup, whose relaxed way of speaking reveals his upbringing, courtesy of his education and medical training at Stanford University. “These are people who don’t represent themselves as anything but humble, so who am I to be otherwise?”

The quote is perfect. The reporter thanks Dr. Brackup for his time. Only later, does he realize the greater significance of the follow-up phone call: The act itself is the perfect illustration of the doctor’s selfless approach to his profession. Dr. Brackup wanted the reporter to have absolutely everything he needed for the story, even after 40 minutes of thoughtful conversation.

An example of Dr. Brackup’s eloquence: “I’ll never say I’m the only person who can achieve a result. Hopefully, I’m giving them the best that can be achieved. The truth is, I think people come back both because of the result and because of the atmosphere. They also trust me. Trust has to be earned. I can’t tell you how often a patient will say to me, ‘Thanks so much for not trying to talk me into something.’ They know I’ll do what’s best for them, without thinking about dollars.”

Providing a ‘Social Service’

This story is less about Dr. Brackup, the man, than it is about his patients. However, one can’t begin writing a story about Dr. Brackup’s patients without first writing about what draws them to the doctor’s doorstep, beginning with his background and credentials, which make for a 15-page C.V.

Dr. Brackup’s practice, Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, is based at the St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne. He offers an array of cosmetic and reconstructive cosmetic surgery options, including facial plastic surgery and liposuction. The environment is relaxing, welcoming, informal.

“I want them to feel comfortable and appreciated,” says Dr. Brackup, referring to his patients. “Everyone who comes here is a guest in my home.” Everyone leaves looking more youthful, though not unnaturally so, meaning friends and family notice how good the patient looks without thinking to ask, “Have you had work done?”

This is not meant as a boast but merely the product of his training and credentials. He is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He participates in more than a dozen professional organizations, including being a fellow at the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Cosmetic Surgery and the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He’s also chairman of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission’s Medical Advisory Board, appointed by the governor to oversee mixed martial arts and boxing. His papers and presentations could round out this article, which should come as no surprise considering the fact that he is an internationally requested speaker in the fields of eyelid, facelift and laser surgery. He has been named one of the top doctors in America by the prestigious Castle Connolly organization.

Dr. Brackup knows his reputation takes him only so far. The lectures and publications enable him “to stay current.” Teaching serves the same purpose, feeding his commitment to constant self-improvement.

“There’s always more to learn,” he says. “There are always new ideas. I don’t ever want to have a practice where it’s just me in my office by myself without being actively involved in the greater world of my profession. It gives my patients the advantage that—through these meetings, through these interchanges, through this teaching—they’re receiving the most current, scientifically sound treatments that are available.”

This includes employing the latest noninvasive procedures, but Dr. Brackup and his associate, Katie Hooven, M.S.N., R.N., M.B.A., stress that excelling at cosmetic surgery involves much more than staying current. “He establishes relationships with people, which is huge,” Hooven says. “You establish a rapport and a comfort level when they walk in the door, so they’re more open to talk about things.”

The relationship deepens with each visit.

“I believe that the greatest value in what we do is improving people’s quality of life by making them feel more confident,” Dr. Brackup adds. “They feel better, they present differently. You wake up in the morning, you look in the mirror and you feel good about the image. And you are different. People feel better when they leave and when we’re done. In that respect, I do believe we’re providing a social service.”

Making an Impact
In Dr. Brackup’s practice, many people who start out as patients ultimately become friends.

“Our patients are really nice people,” Dr. Brackup says. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t get a hug, a huge ‘thank you’ or a kiss. I think we learn from our patients that we have the ability to change their lives in a meaningful way. What might seem to someone else as being trivial to a patient might mean the world. I listen to my patients and try to see what will make the greatest impact for them and then what’s the best way to achieve it for them.”

Although Dr. Brackup is involved in every patient’s case, he embraces collaboration. He listens to his qualified staff of 10 employees, who receive continuous training. The patients have a voice in their treatment as well. “In terms of achieving everything we want, we’re a team,” he says. “I’m indebted to them for putting their trust in me.”

Arrogance and rigidity have no place in Dr. Brackup’s office. He’s too appreciative to declare his way as the only way.

“If someone needs that from their doctor or their staff,” Dr. Brackup says, “we’re not the place for you.” Instead, “we’re striving to be the best we can be.”
Cosmetic Surgery Specialists
1203 Langhorne-Newtown Road
St. Clare Medical Building, Suite 120
Langhorne, PA 19047

Photograph by Allure West Studios