A board-certified plastic surgeon and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Reinisch’s primary clinical and research interests focus on the field of pediatric plastic surgery and congenital ear deformities (microtia). He has treated more than 20,000 children from across the country and around the world. Central to Dr. Reinisch’s work is his emphasis on minimally invasive surgeries and personal, comfortable care, as well as his assurance that his patients and their families feel relaxed and confident throughout treatment. In 1983, Dr. Reinisch founded the Division of Plastic Surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, which is now one of the busiest departments at children’s hospitals in the world.
Dr. Reinisch is known worldwide for his design and development of the Medpor ear reconstruction technique. Traditionally, plastic surgeons have relied on a technique that removes cartilage from a patient’s chest and uses it to build the ear. The method, though effective, has two major limitations: It requires multiple surgeries to complete and cannot be performed until a child is 8-10 years of age - old enough to have a sufficient amount of rib cartilage. By this time, the effects of living with a deformity have often taken a toll on the child emotionally. Dr. Reinisch envisioned a new technique that would save children and their families the discomfort of multiple surgeries and the emotional distress a facial deformity can cause.
Dr. Reinisch designed a new method that relies on a biomaterial—not human—chest cartilage, and can therefore be implanted in children as young as age 3 in a single surgery, resulting in a better cosmetic outcome than rib cartilage ear reconstruction. By creating a new ear from the biomaterial and wrapping it in a thin layer of tissue from the patient’s scalp, Dr. Reinisch has overcome many of the obstacles of traditional ear reconstruction and has successfully treated more than 2,000 children. Since performing the first Medpor® surgery in 1991, Dr. Reinisch has further improved the technique by eliminating the need for drains after surgery, resulting in minimal scarring. More than 80 percent of his Medpor surgeries have required only one procedure.
Dr. Reinisch’s work in microtia treatment and his creation of the Medpor® technique have won awards from both the American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS) and the European Association of Plastic Surgeons (EURAPS). Most recently, he was the honored guest at the opening of the Smile Angel Foundation’s new children’s hospital in Beijing.
Dr. Reinisch is currently the Director of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery for Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Los Angeles. When he began practicing in the 1980s, the field of pediatric plastic surgery was still in its infancy, and many children’s hospitals did not consider it a specialty. He is credited with establishing the Division of Plastic Surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, creating a model for other hospitals and serving as its Chief. He has also served as Head of the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Southern California (USC).