Dr. Vaca is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in aesthetic surgery of the face, breast and body. His research has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Time Magazine, US News & World Report, Fox News, Reader's Digest and Fortune Magazine. He completed his medical training at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, followed by residency in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.

He has authored over 40 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts and book chapters and has presented his research at the most prestigious national and international plastic surgery conferences including, among others, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), the Plastic Surgery Research Council (PSRC), and the American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS). Dr. Vaca & his co-authors were awarded the prestigious “Best Paper Award”, by the Journal of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery in 2021.

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.

Following completion of his extensive training, Dr. Vaca returned to South Florida and joined the practice of Dr. Steven Fagien at one of the premier plastic surgery practices in the United States. 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.” Dr. Vaca's goal is to provide exceptional concierge care and deliver elegant & natural appearing results.


After graduating Phi Beta Kappa & Summa cum laude (highest honors) 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 #1 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 led by Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, culminating in the most extensive face transplant to date in 2012. Dr. Vaca was highly lauded early during his training – the chairman of Plastic Surgery at Johns Hopkins described Dr. Vaca as, “One of the best medical students we have had; great hands and the total package.” Another faculty member expressed, “All in all, I believe in time we will see Elbert Vaca as an international leader in plastic surgery.”

Dr. Vaca then completed 7 years of specialty training in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL, 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.”

Board Certification
Certified By

The American Board
of Plastic Surgery ®


Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Medical Degree

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Doctor of Medicine

Undergraduate Degree

University of Florida

Bachelor of Science, Biology; Minor in Chemistry


According to Dr. Vaca, “Plastic surgery is my craft and passion that I continuously strive to perfect. I enjoy focusing on the small details – getting these right is what differentiates an excellent from a good result. My ultimate goal is to listen to each patient's areas of concern and 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, attention to detail, 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

Vaca E Sinno S. Rejuvenation of the Neck. Advances in Cosmetic Surgery. Edited by Alan Matarasso. Elsevier. 2018. ISBN: 9780323639637

Patel AA, Wan R, Garg S, Ullrich R, Vaca EE, Alghoul MS, Ellis M, Galiano RD. The Asian Eye: Anthropometric Eye Measurements of Attractiveness in Young Asian Women. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2022. Nov 1;150(5):1006-1014.

Alghoul MS, Vaca EE. Creating Harmonious Arcs: The Importance of Brow Shape in Determining Upper Lid Aesthetics. Clin Plast Surg. 2022. Jul;49(3):389-397.

Vaca EE, Perez MM, Lamano JB. Turin SY, Moradian S, Fagien S. Schierle C. Photographic Misrepresentation on Instagram after Facial Cosmetic Surgery: Is Increased Photography Bias Associated with Greater User Engagement? Aesth Surg J. 2021. Oct 15;41(11):NP1778-NP1785.

Vaca EE, Bricker JT, Alghoul MS. Current Upper Blepharoplasty and Ptosis Practice Patterns Among The Aesthetic Society Members. Aesth Surg J. 2021. Apr 12;41(5):NP198-NP209.

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. 2020. Dec:146(6):1239-1247.

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

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

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. Apr;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. Apr;145(4):1049-1057. PMID 32221231

Vaca EE, Sheth N, Purnell CA, McGrath JL, Gosain AK. Secondary Suture Fusion After Primary Correction of Craniosynostosis: Recognition of the Problem and Identification of Risk Factors. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020. Feb;145(2):493-503.

Rohrich RJ, Sinno S, Vaca EE. Getting Better Results in Facelifting. Plast Surg Glob Open. 2019. Jun;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. Jun;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. Aug;144(2):443-455.

Vaca EE, Bricker JT, Park ED, Alghoul MA. Identifying Aesthetically Appealing Upper Eyelid Topographic Proportions. Aesth Surg J. 2019. Jul 12;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. Mar 14;39(4):447-451.

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. Sep;142(3):264e-270e.

Vaca EE, Bellamy JL, Sinno S, Rodriguez ED. Management of High-Energy Avulsive Ballistic Facial Injury: A Review of the Literature and Algorithmic Approach. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2018. Mar 19;6(3):e1693. PMID: 29707453

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. Feb;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. Oct;140(4):825-836.