Facial Recognition
Dr. Michael Ondik, Dr. Julie Wahrman Cramer, Kim Alles and the team at Bucks Dermatology and Facial Plastic Surgery provide patients a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere to care for their most identifiable feature
by Sharon A. Shaw

A person’s identity is a very personal thing, with individuals going to great lengths to protect it, preserve it or change it and there are few things as identifying as one’s face. For some, concern arises from the necessary removal of potentially cancerous skin cells, while for others age is the primary culprit. Either way, patients can be assured their identity is in good hands with Michael P. Ondik, M.D., facial plastic surgeon, and Julie Wahrman Cramer, dermatologist, with Bucks Dermatology and Facial Plastic Surgery.

The Langhorne-based practice, co-owned by Richard D. Wortzel, M.D., Ph.D., and Sandra Horlick Wortzel, M.D., provides care for all manner of dermatological concerns, from acne and rashes to skin-cancer screenings and removal. “We pride ourselves on taking time to talk through our patients concerns and fears while carefully addressing their medical needs,” says Dr. Sandra Wortzel.

She proudly notes that all of the practice’s dermatologists are board certified and graduates of the University of Pennsylvania. The other members of the practice include Mohs surgeon Debra Grossman, M.D., dermatologist Julie Wahrman Cramer, M.D., and medical aesthetician Kim Alles.

“Our practice is all inclusive,” according to Dr. Wortzel. “Patients appreciate having all the services under one roof. Many times patients have to go elsewhere for reconstructive surgery. We are more convenient because we offer a complete set of services. … We have a very experienced Mohs Surgeon, Dr. Debra Grossman, who removes many of the skin cancers.  We work as a team.” The majority of the reconstructive surgery is performed by Dr. Ondik, who joined the practice two years ago. “His closure of surgically created wounds makes it look like it never happened,” says Dr. Wortzel. “He is very cosmetically oriented. He is not just a technician; he is an artist.”

After graduating cum laude with a double major in molecular biology and theater from Colgate University, Dr. Ondik chose to dedicate his life to medicine. He graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical School and continued his training at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in otolaryngology/head and neck surgery. He chose to pursue additional technical training in aesthetic surgery and was awarded a highly competitive fellowship in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery under a world-renowned surgeon that allowed him to further hone his already significant skills. He is a member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Dr. Ondik is unique in that he practices cosmetic surgery exclusively on the face and neck as compared to other physicians who might generally treat the whole body. “The more procedures you do on one specific area, the better and more consistent your outcomes will be,” he says. “I pride myself on performing facial plastic surgery; all my experience is with surgeries of the neck and face. This allows me to focus my skills in this area.” He performs all aspects of facial reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, including face and neck lifting, rhinoplasty (nose surgery), blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), Botox and injectable fillers, and facial reconstruction after skin-cancer removal.

“I like to start with what the patient is most concerned about,” he says. “This usually involves asking what brought them in. I will give my opinion, but I do not like to dogmatically say, ‘This is what you need’ or I will be doing the patient a disservice.” Instead Dr. Ondik provides them with options, both surgical and non-invasive, that meet their requirements in terms of results, budget and recovery time. His patients appreciate this approach. “A friend of mine went to another well-known plastic surgeon with a real ego,” says patient Janet Marks. “Dr. Ondik isn’t like that; he is modest and down to earth.”

Marks first experienced Dr. Ondik’s work after needing to have a suspicious mole removed. “I didn’t feel a thing,” she says of the surgery. “When I went back for my check-up, the area had healed so well we could not even find the scar.” She was so pleased that she returned to him for an elective procedure. Though she was considering a noninvasive procedure to tighten her jowl area, Marks ultimately chose a mini-facelift—in-part because Bucks Dermatology and Facial Plastic Surgery offers it as an in-office procedure, which helped minimize both the cost and recovery time. “It was easy as cake,” she says. “I didn’t need pain killers and I looked really good, even the next day. The difference is night and day. … I am so happy—so happy I did it. He was amazing.”

Dr. Ondik explains that many patients report a similar experience. “Many are tired of watching changes in their appearance and they get to a point that it bothers them,” he says. “They tell me, ‘I see my mother’s face’ or they are having a milestone birthday or anniversary and want to make a change. The ideal patient must have realistic expectations. Those are the patients that are the happiest.” Most also say that the procedure is not nearly as painful or involved as they imagined. “They love looking in the mirror and seeing the change and having others tell them they look more rested and youthful.”

Marks attributes her success in part to the preparation Dr. Ondik provided. “He explained everything I would experience afterwards: the expectations, reality and risks. Everything he said I was comfortable with. He was really thorough,” she says. “I asked ‘Are you trying to talk me out of it?’” She also says he was accessible at all times—even when she called with concerns several times the evening before her surgery. “He answered all my calls and he was so sweet, he assured me I wasn’t bothering him.” Marks, who describes herself as somewhat hyper, found his soothing nature helpful in easing her anxiety.

Of course one does not need to wait until they require a facelift to make improvements. The late 30s are a common age to begin using fillers such as Botox or Juvederm and resurfacing devices. Dr. Ondik says, “Technology keeps improving to create wonderful tools,” including lasers that encourage faster healing and photo-editing programs that allow a client to preview their expected results. He combines traditional techniques with these new technologies to develop a customized plan for each client.

Both Drs. Ondik and Wahrman Cramer provide cosmetic injectables such as Botox and fillers, while aesthetician Kim Alles can make qualified recommendations for appropriate skin-care products to help patients meet their cosmetic goals. She can also provide formulations with a higher percentage of active ingredients than are available over the counter. Unlike practices that simply offer a low price on Botox, Dr. Wortzel explains that, at Bucks Dermatology and Facial Plastic Surgery, the service is performed by skilled physicians who understand the artistry of the face. Drs. Ondik and Wahrman Cramer are careful and conservative. The results they achieve are excellent, and patient satisfaction is very high.

“My husband and I have been practicing dermatology for 25 years,” says Dr. Wortzel. “We have worked with a number of surgeons and seen the manner in which they work, and we feel very comfortable with Dr. Ondik. He is among the best surgeons we have worked with, his results are phenomenal, and our patients are universally pleased. Patients love his bedside manner: He takes the time to spell out their options; he is not aggressive; and he has a wonderful ability to communicate. We feel he is a huge asset to our patients and our practice.”

Bucks Dermatology and Facial Plastic Surgery
402 Middletown Blvd., Penn’s Square, Suite 210
Langhorne, PA 19047
Phone: 215-752-4020
Web: www.buckscosmetic.com

Photography by Kim Billingsley