Giving Back The Gift of A Smile
Dr. Kochhar’s work in reconstructive surgery returns to patients what they thought was lost.
Imagine being unable to smile at a loved one or laugh with friends. It may seem unthinkable, but for some patients who have had Bell’s palsy, extensive head or neck surgery or congenital conditions that result in facial paralysis, it is an everyday reality.
“Facial paralysis is a devastating disorder that affects patients not only physically but emotionally as well,” states Amit Kochhar, M.D., director of the Facial Nerve Disorders Program at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Saint John’s Physician Partners. “Our goal is to improve the quality of life for patients with facial paralysis by offering medical, surgical and physical therapeutic options.”
While Dr. Kochhar is new to Providence, he is not new to this kind of work.
“I completed my otolaryngology residency in 2014 and my fellowship in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery in 2016,” he shares. “I have been practicing for the last five years in an academic setting, but felt it was difficult for patients to travel long distances to achieve quality specialty care. I believed there had to be a way to offer this type of sophisticated surgical care in the community.”
After meeting with the founders of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute, Dr. Kochar realized they had already achieved this goal for neurosurgery and he was excited to learn they were interested in expanding to head and neck reconstruction and facial reanimation.
“I joined Providence to help create a regional program for complex head and neck reconstruction, specifically in free tissue transfer. This type of surgery requires transferring tissue from the arm or leg to the face, mouth or throat to reconstruct large defects.”
When he is not working, Dr. Kochhar tries to spend as much time as possible with his wife and two young children on the trails and bike paths from the Santa Monica Mountains to Griffith Park.
He also enjoys baseball and visits nearby Dodger Stadium a few times a year. Dr. Kochhar hopes to one day take his children to his most memorable travel destination, Mach Picchu in Peru. Until then, he believes that Providence will allow him to offer the best care he can for his patients.
“Since joining Providence several months ago, I have been taken aback by the generous and giving attitude of everyone I have met,” he notes. “That includes administration, medical and hospital staff. I am very excited to join a team that shares the same goals as I do and what the future holds.”