Dr. Steven Fagien & Dr. Elbert Vaca

Meet Dr. Elbert Vaca

“Outstanding results can only be attained by demanding the best of myself via the combination of artistry, a deep understanding of anatomy and meticulous surgical technique.”

Dr. Elbert E. Vaca is a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon who completed his medical training at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He has authored over 40 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts and book chapters with a focus on aesthetic surgery and has presented his research at the most prestigious national and international plastic surgery meetings. His research has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, Fox News, Readers Digest, Women’s Health, and Fortune Magazine.

Dr. Vaca is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. He was born in California to parents who immigrated from Ecuador and was raised in California, Ecuador and Florida.

Dr. Vaca initially intended to become a neurosurgeon early in medical school, however, he soon discovered that plastic surgery was his true calling. Per Dr. Vaca, “Plastic surgery is the synthesis of science and art and has the power to make a profound impact on a person’s confidence and self-esteem. As a plastic surgeon, it is a privilege to be a part of that process.”

University of Florida, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Northwestern University

After graduating Phi Betta Kappa & Summa cum laude from the University of Florida, where he earned his BS in Biology and minor in Chemistry in only 3 years, he received his medical degree (M.D.) from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Johns Hopkins is regarded as one of the world’s greatest medical institutions and was ranked as the best hospital in the United States for 21 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report. While at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Vaca was part of the facial transplantation research team lead by Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, culminating in the most extensive face transplant to date in 2012.

Dr. Vaca then completed 7 years of specialty training in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, which is ranked among the 10 best hospitals in the United States according to U.S. News & World Report. He trained under several of the most well respected and experienced facial and body aesthetic surgeons in America. Dr. Vaca earned the prestigious Northwestern Department of Surgery “Resident as Teacher” Award a record 3 times for a plastic surgery resident and scored in the 94th national percentile on the American Society of Plastic Surgery In-Service Examination. While at Northwestern, Dr. Vaca gained such a distinguished reputation for his surgical skills that Dr. Arun Gosain (past President of the Plastic Surgery Foundation) described Dr. Vaca as the “best technical surgical resident I have worked with in my last 27 years as a teacher.”


According to Dr. Vaca, “My ultimate goal is to listen to each patients’ areas of concern to deliver safe, beautiful, and natural appearing results.” It is Dr. Vaca’s philosophy that outstanding results can only be attained by demanding the best of himself via the combination of artistry, a deep understanding of surgical anatomy, and meticulous surgical technique refined by years of arduous medical training at the best medical institutions in the United States.

Highlighted Publications

Alghoul MS, Mioton LM, Bricker JT, Vaca EE. Enhancing the Lateral Orbital “C-Angle” with Calcium Hydroxylapatite: An Anatomic and Clinical Study. Aesth Surg J. [Accepted]

Alghoul MS, Bricker JT, Venkatesh V, Gupta AR, Vaca EE, Sinno S, Ellis MF, Mustoe TA. Rethinking Upper Blepharoplasty: The Impact of Pretarsal Show. Plast Reconstr Surg. [In Press]

Vaca EE, Alghoul MA. Upper Blepharoplasty with Endoscopic Assisted Brow Lift to Restore Harmonious Upper Lid Arc Curvatures. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020; 146(5): 565e-568e

Alghoul MS, Vaca EE, Mioton LM. CME: Getting Good Results in Cosmetic Blepharoplasty. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020; 146(1): 71e-82e.

Alghoul MS, Bricker JT, Vaca EE, Purnell CA. Authors’ Response to “Reply: Lower Eyelid Reconstruction: A New Classification Incorporating the Vertical Dimension.” Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020; 145(4): 878e-879e.

Alghoul MS, Vaca EE, Mioton LM, Zins JE. Letter to the Editor: The Functional Anatomy of the Deep Facial Fat Compartments: A Detailed Imaging-Based Investigation. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020; 145(4): 870e-871e.

Vaca EE, Surek C, Klosowiak J, Dumanian GA, Alghoul MS. Neurotized Free Platysma Flap for Functional Eyelid Reconstruction: A Cadaveric Study of Anatomic Feasibility. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020; 145(4): 1049-1057.

Rohrich RJ, Sinno S, Vaca EE. Getting Better Results in Facelifting. Plast Surg Glob Open. 2019; 7(6): e2270.

Turin SY, Vaca EE, Cheesborough JE, Mustoe TM. The Simplified Lateral Brow Lift under Local Anesthesia – A Definitive Solution to Lateral Hooding. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2019; 7(6): e2098.

Alghoul MA, Bricker JT, Vaca EE, Purnell CA. Lower Eyelid Reconstruction: A New Classification Incorporating the Vertical Dimension. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2019; 144(2): 443-455.

Vaca EE, Bricker JT, Park ED, Alghoul MA. Identifying Aesthetically Appealing Upper Eyelid Topographic Proportions. Aesth Surg J. 2019; 39(8): 824-834.

Dorfman RG, Mahmood E, Ren A, Turin SY, Vaca EE, Fine NA, Schierle CF. Google Ranking of Plastic Surgeons Values Social Media Presence Over Academic Pedigree and Experience. Aesth Surg J. 2019; 39(4): 447-451.

Vaca EE, Sinno S. Rejuvenation of the Neck. In: Advances in Cosmetic Surgery. Edited by A. Matarasso. Elsevier Publishers, London UK. 2018; 23-30.

Turin SY, Li DD, Vaca EE, Fine NA. Nitroglycerin Ointment for Reducing the Rate of Mastectomy Flap Necrosis in Immediate Implant Based Breast Reconstruction. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2018; 142(3): 264e-270e.

Dorfman RG, Vaca EE, Mahmood E, Fine NA, Schierle CF. Plastic Surgery-Related Hashtag Utilization on Instagram: Implications for Education and Marketing. Aestht Surg J. 2018; 38(3): 332-338.

Dorfman RG, Vaca EE, Fine NA, Schierle CF. The Ethics of Sharing Plastic Surgery Videos on Social Media: Systematic Literature Review, Ethical Analysis, and Proposed Guidelines. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017; 140(4): 825-836.

Dr. Elbert Vaca

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