Heartland Plastic
Surgery Center

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Dr. Robert C Russell


Robert C. Russell, M.D., FACS, is an accomplished surgeon with more than 35 years of experience in the field of plastic surgery.  He is a clinical Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and the chairman of Plastic Surgery at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.

Dr. Russell received his undergraduate B.S. degree from Indiana University while playing football and earning All-American honors. He received his medical degree from Indiana University in 1972. He completed 3 years of general surgery training at Indiana University Affiliate Hospitals, and a one-year hand surgery fellowship at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana.  He then completed a residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois in 1979, followed by a one-year fellowship in microsurgery at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

He was certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery in 1981 and earned a certificate of added qualification in hand surgery by examination in 1990 and received recertification in 2002 and in 2010.

Dr. Russell is a member of several medical associations and societies, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the American Association for Hand Surgery, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, and numerous others.

Dr. Russell is an academically accomplished plastic surgeon who has published more than 30 book chapters and over 100 scientific publications. He has made hundreds of local, national, and international lectures and presentations. He has been active in organized plastic surgery and has served as a member or chairman of over 100 regional, state, or national committees. Dr. Russell is the past president of the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, the American Association for Hand Surgery, the Plastic Surgery Foundation, and the American Society for Peripheral Nerve. He served as a member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and was vice-chairman in 1998. He has also been an oral board examiner for the American Board of Plastic Surgery for over 20 years.

Dr. Russell has served as a director and now volunteers his time as a surgeon and teacher with Operation Smile International, caring for children with congenital facial deformities and burns in many countries around the world.

Dr. Russell and his wife, Anne, have two daughters, Kaitlyn and Mirriah, and reside in Springfield.

Operation Smile

Changing lives 1 smile at a time

Pictures of Dr Russell's charity work with Operation Smile

Operation Smile is an international medical charity whose global network of thousands of credentialed medical volunteers from more than 80 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children from over 60 countries.  Dr. Russell has proudly served on Operation Smile medical mission trips since 1988, traveling almost yearly to countries such as Nicaragua, Vietnam, Peru, Kenya, New Guinea, Russia, and the Philippines with fellow surgeons and medical personnel from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.  These teams provide free surgical procedures and medical care to children and adults suffering from cleft lip and palate deformities, acute and chronic burn scars, and other hand, head, and neck congenital or acquired deformities.

The need for safe surgery is so great in these countries that some patients and their families journey several hundred miles to be seen and treated by the Operation Smile team.  While many of the cases are challenging, the missions are successful with very infrequent surgical or medical complications.   Dr. Russell and his family believe in the mission of Operation Smile so much so that the gift from his recent birthday was to be able to fund 1 Operation Smile surgery for every year of his life.  Friends and colleges made this a reality by donating more than $16,800 to Operation Smile in his honor.  If you would like to volunteer for Operation Smile International or make a monetary donation, please visit their Web site at: www.operationsmile.org 

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