Making kids feel ‘normal’ again

Get to know Norton Children’s Hospital’s newest plastic surgeon, Dr. Scott Rapp, and how he’s changing kids’ lives.

When asked to write a feature on Norton Children’s Hospital’s newest plastic surgeon, I didn’t know what to expect. Like most, my mind immediately went to the cosmetic side of plastic surgery.

I was surprised to find that this field is changing the lives of children in more ways than you may realize.

The work of a plastic surgeon can impact a child’s entire body, from correcting facial deformities to reconstructing a hand or foot after a traumatic injury. Plastic surgery does improve aesthetics and functionality, but it also can help dramatically improve a child’s self-esteem.

Just as I learned that plastic surgery is not what I expected, I found that Dr. Rapp has a surprising background and range of interests. In addition to being a surgeon, he is an avid scuba diver, piano player, former professional soccer player, lover of sweets and spicy food, and is passionate about international medicine.

Dr. Rapp has a diverse perspective on life that is sure to make a difference for Norton Children’s Hospital and the children of this region.

Why did you choose medicine as a profession?
“I love anatomy. It’s what led me to plastics. You have to know anatomy of the whole body really well.”

Why did you choose pediatric plastic surgery?
“The variety. As a pediatric plastic surgeon, I do surgery everywhere — hand, face, neck, back, feet. I like that every day I feel I have an opportunity to make a child’s life better and to give them not only results that will impact them tomorrow but for the rest of their lives.”

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
“Through reconstructive surgery, we are able to make children feel a little more ‘normal.’ The most rewarding part is to see how much a child’s personality, confidence and self-esteem can improve from what we do.”

Why did you choose Louisville, Kentucky?
“There is a lot of opportunity here. Having a chance to work with Dr. Mark Chariker is really an honor. He has already given me great opportunities since joining his practice.”

What is something most people don’t know about you?
“I hate lemons. Lemon candies, lemon cake, lemon in drinks. Anything lemon.”

What is your biggest vice?
“That’s a tough one. Maybe late-night Internet shopping and candy. I have candy everywhere in my house, car, pockets, etc.”

Who is your hero?
“My parents. They both dedicated almost all of their free time and lives to their children. They did so much to give me the opportunities I have had in my life.”

What is your professional goal?
“International medicine is a huge passion of mine. To date, I have performed surgery on about 40 kids in Cuba. I have a goal set to start a hospital with a colleague of mine in Cuba to provide plastic surgery for children in need.”

What was your favorite thing to do growing up?
“Playing soccer. I even played professionally in Holland.”

What is your favorite food?
“I love pho or just about anything spicy. The hotter the better, but I get in over my head sometimes.”

What is your favorite way to spend time?
“Anything active. I got certified to scuba dive when I was 13 years old. I really enjoy anything outside or in the water.”

How do you relieve stress?
“I play piano — not the soothing kind. I have played Chopin since I was a kid. It is fast and emotional, so it helps me get my stress out.”

What is your biggest fear?
“Not using the opportunities I was given. Along the way, many people did a lot for me to give me the opportunities I needed to get where I am. I just don’t ever want to waste that gift.”

Are you a Cats or Cards fan?
“Neither. Being from Columbus, Ohio, I am a diehard Buckeyes fan!”