Experienced surgeon opens Elevation Plastic Surgery
November 12, 2018
Devan Griner thought he knew what he wanted to do with his life. But then one trip to Vietnam with a nonprofit medical service organization changed everything.
As a volunteer with Operation Smile, he saw firsthand how plastic surgery could help children with birth defects gain self-esteem and lead happier lives. He decided then that he would become a plastic surgeon, and several years later he is doing the work that he loves in Park City.
Griner's practice, Elevation Plastic Surgery and Med Spa, opened at 1441 Ute Blvd. last month.
Griner grew up in the Salt Lake Valley, and his plans were to become a photographer, just like his dad. But then Griner saw a documentary his dad made about Operation Smile, which brings doctors to underserved countries around the world to perform surgery on children with cleft lips and cleft palates.
Griner, who was a high school junior at the time, was so moved by the film that he and his brothers decided to hold a fundraiser at his school for Operation Smile. They donated the funds and Operation Smile invited Griner to join the group on a service mission to Vietnam.
Helping prepare the children for surgery and working with them during the recovery was impactful.
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"I decided right there, 'I want to do this. This is my calling,'" he said.
What appealed to him about the work was the near-immediate gratification of changing people's lives.
With his sight set on becoming a surgeon, he went to the University of Utah as a pre-med student and worked as a surgical technologist in Park City to get experience in the operating room. He said he fell in love with the mountain town and planned to return later in life.
He went to medical school, did a general surgery training for five years, plastic surgery training for three years and pediatric and craniofacial surgery training for one more year. It was a long road, but he said once he made his decision as a junior, he has never looked back.
"Kids deserve the absolute best," he said. "I went and got an extra fellowship training so that I could bring the best back to Utah."
Once he finished his education, he and his wife returned to Utah with plans to open a practice in Park City as soon as possible. But since there is a limitation on the amount of plastic surgeons that can practice in an area, he had to wait about two years to get the go-ahead.
In the meantime, he built up a practice in the Salt Lake Valley and waited. David Teasley, owner of Teasley Plastic Surgery in Park City, retired at the end of 2017 and Griner applied to fill the vacancy.
When he was told he could open a practice in Park City, he said he could hardly believe it.
"It's a very prestigious honor and commitment to be up here, so I was really excited when they chose me," he said.
He specializes in both aesthetic and pediatric plastic surgery, and he also has estheticians who do skin rejuvenation, peels, lasers, botox injections and treat lesions. There are five exam and treatment rooms and surgeries take place at the Park City Hospital.
He continues to volunteer with Operation Smile almost every year, traveling to Brazil, Peru, Jordan, China and Russia. Between him and his wife, he said they have gone on about 25 mission trips.
"It is extremely gratifying that it is going to take an hour and a half of your time, and you can change their life forever," he said. "You may be the only person in their lifetime that they meet that will have that opportunity to help them."
The same holds true for his patients at his practice in Park City. He said helping people feel comfortable in their own skin and gain confidence is what makes him love his work.
"How many people get to go home every day and know they changed somebody's life?" he said. "It's extremely gratifying and I am very lucky."
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