Meet Dr. Kerr

Dr. Mahlon Kerr’s path to becoming a highly respected plastic surgeon in Austin, Texas, is highlighted by training under some of the field’s foremost experts, and a desire to return to the Texas hill country he first glimpsed during medical school. In this biographical interview, Dr. Kerr reflects on his childhood dream of continuing his family’s legacy in the medical field and looks forward to remaining at the leading edge of cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.

Synergy Plastic Surgery is located in Austin and Round Rock, where Dr. Kerr is one of the top breast augmentation specialists in central Texas. He’s also known for his facial plastic surgery and body contouring procedures including rhinoplasty, facelift, liposuction, and tummy tuck surgeries. Request a consultation online to meet with Dr. Kerr, or call one of our offices at  (512) 244-1439.

For Dr. Kerr’s complete credentials, view his CV.

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An Interview With Dr. Kerr

You attended medical school in Portland at Oregon Health & Science University. What are the similarities between Austin and Portland?

Austin and Portland are definitely sister cities. Both cities have a similar feel to them. They are both dynamic and growing with a youthful and diverse culture. You know the saying, “Keep Austin weird”? It can definitely be applied to Portland. Portland might be even a little weirder.

So how did a boy who grew up in a small town in rural Oregon wind up in Texas hill country?

I came here as a senior medical student for a month to do a rotation at Scott and White Memorial Hospital, and I thought Austin would be a good place to start a cosmetic plastic surgery practice. Austin consistently ranks as one of the top 5 places to live in the nation. We’ve been really happy here and really enjoy the outdoors and the environment. Austin is like Portland without the rain, and I like that. I spent a lot of time in the rain.

When did you decide you wanted to attend medical school?

You know, probably about the third grade. I’ve always wanted to be a surgeon. There’s a video from when I was in third grade and someone asked all of us what we wanted to be. The guy on my right said he wanted to be a baseball player, the guy on my left said he wanted to be a football player, and I said I wanted to be a surgeon. I come from a long line of doctors, including surgeons stretching back generations to the Civil War. My grandfather was president of the American Public Health Association for many years.

So being a doctor always seemed to be part of the plan. When did you decide on plastic surgery?

One of my first-year medical school professors was a plastic surgeon. Within the first couple of months of starting school I asked him if I could come to the operating room with him. He said absolutely. So I spent a lot of time in the operating room during my first years, which is pretty rare for that early in my training. During my first 2 years of medical school, I scrubbed into about 200 operations. I really knew right from the beginning that’s what I wanted to do with my life.

What was involved with your plastic surgery training?

My training included operating in more than 26 hospitals in multiple countries, which set the foundation for my residency and the rest of my career. During my training I also went on a few medical mission trips to perform cleft lip/palate surgery for children who otherwise didn’t have access to those services, those experiences are truly touching and let you know that being a plastic surgeon gives you multiple avenues to affect people’s lives for the better using both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

I was fortunate to do my plastic surgery residency at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, which is an unusually high-volume residency. I was doing about 1,000 cases a year. I’m super busy now, and I perform over 500 procedures in a year so that gives you an idea of the multitude of patients and operations I was exposed to back then. Salt Lake City also happens to be one of top areas for breast augmentation per capita in the U.S. That allowed me to train extensively during my residency on that procedure, and it’s now something I’m known for throughout central Texas.

Your practice is called Synergy. What does synergy mean to you and how does it reflect your approach to plastic surgery?

Synergy is about multiple parts working together. The practice is not just me; it’s really a team working together. Each person plays their part to enhance the overall experience. Surgically, we use modern techniques that are proven safe and effective. I think Synergy reflects our willingness to pursue multiple ideas and approaches to get the results our patients want.

In addition to your private practice, you are an assistant professor of surgery at Texas A&M’s medical school in Round Rock. What is it about teaching that you enjoy?

I’m passionate about teaching the next generation. I’ve taught hundreds of medical students over the years because I think it’s important to give back to the educational community. Somebody took the time to teach me, and that’s what made me who I am today. My medical students are given the opportunity to observe operations and have the chance to learn about plastic surgery as a specialty in a real-world setting.

Staying involved with the education of medical students keeps you on your toes because you need to stay current with technological and surgical advances. You can’t rest on your laurels. You have to be better than the rest and really on your game when teaching.

So you pride yourself on staying up to date with surgical advances?

We are a cutting-edge practice. That’s explained by our motto: Modern surgery, classic beauty. I think that’s absolutely true. I’m always incorporating new techniques. A great example of that is fat grafting. I think we’ve really led the fat grafting revolution in our area, and now everyone is doing it. In the beginning I spent time in Florida with Dr. Roger Khouri, one of the foremost experts in fat grafting for cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery and brought his principals and instruments back to Austin. We really started doing many of the more common fat grafting procedures before anybody else in the Austin area.

You’re obviously busy at Synergy, where your wife is a nurse who helps out with patients and runs the med spa. How do you unwind after work?

We live on Lake Travis and enjoy wakeboarding and wake surfing when we get the chance. We also like to travel internationally as often as possible.

So what’s your vision for the future of Synergy?

We’d like to expand. … We want to take the Synergy approach to the market by growing in Austin and then perhaps San Antonio and other cities in Texas. That’s ultimately the idea.

But Austin will always be our home base.

Thank you for your time.

My pleasure.

Read what our patients say about Dr. Kerr at www.drmahlonkerrreviews.com.