Jonathan S. Black, MD
Specialty: Cleft and craniofacial surgery
Fellowship: Medical College of Wisconsin
Residency: University of Virginia
Medical degree: University of Nebraska
Jonathan S. Black, MD, wryly refers to plastic surgery as the family business—and for good reason. Both his grandfather and his father trained as plastic surgeons. However, although Black knew from his senior year in high school that he wanted to be a doctor, plastic surgery wasn’t an automatic choice. It was not until he was on his OB/GYN rotation in medical school and watched reconstructive surgery after treatment for ovarian cancer that he was won over. “After the tumor was removed, a group of reconstructive specialists took over,” he recalls. “When the plastic surgeons came in, I was hooked. For someone who likes to see an immediate impact to my work, it’s a wonderful specialty.”
Black joined UVA Health System in August 2014, splitting his time between the Medical Center in Charlottesville and UVA’s Augusta Plastic Surgery in Fishersville. In Charlottesville, he primarily sees children with conditions including cleft palate and lip, abnormal head and ear shape, and birthmarks. He also sees patients of all ages with facial trauma and burns. In Fishersville, his practice is more diverse, including those who have breast or skin cancer or who opt for procedures like rhinoplasty or liposuction. “I enjoy aesthetic surgery,” he says. “I think it also makes me better at the reconstructive surgery that is at the heart of my practice.”
It was while a resident at UVA that Black developed an interest in pediatric and craniofacial patients. “I worked with a cleft palate patient who really made an impression on me,” he says. “I wanted to learn how to take care of that patient from start to finish.”
Children born with cleft palate and lip may require as many as five different operations before age 18. In addition to procedures to correct the cleft palate and lip, they may require a bone graft to complete their gum line and or have their face moved forward to overcome growth restrictions. Few plastic surgeons have this complete skill set. “I wanted to be in a position to fill in as necessary while adding depth to the team,” he says.
UVA is taking advantage of Black’s expertise. Now that it has all the elements of a comprehensive cleft palate team, UVA is creating a centralized clinic so that all team members could ideally see patients during the same visit. The clinic is expected to open at the Battle Building at UVA Children’s Hospital next summer.
In the meantime, Black is concentrating on building his practice, meeting with pediatricians and making presentations. “My goal is to convey to referring physicians my commitment to treating their patients promptly and to keep physicians in the loop about the progress of treatment,” he says.
As he gains experience, Black finds that being able to consult with members of “the family business” is more valuable than ever. “My father was a mentor to me throughout my whole medical training, but he has never been more useful to me now that I’m in practice,” Black says. “Having him available to talk cases over is an immense resource.”
If you would like to arrange an informational meeting with Jonathan Black, please contact Physician Relations team member Amy Cash at 434.465.7996.