Meet Dr. Caleb Steffen, the new plastic and reconstructive surgeon at JCMG. We got the chance to sit down with Dr. Steffen and learn a little bit about his background.
Tell us about your family:
I have been married to my beautiful wife Stacy for 10 years, and we have four wonderful children.
Let us know about your education:
- I went to junior high and early high school in the Netherlands when my father was stationed at a NATO base in Germany.
- I graduated from high school in the St. Louis area when my dad was stationed at Scott Air Force Base.
- I went to college at Evangel University in Springfield (I think there are more than 30 members of my extended family on my mother’s side who have gone to Evangel including my brother, sister, and my mother).
- I attended medical school at MU which is where I met my wife who received her master’s in accounting from there.
- I did my residency for general surgery in Omaha, NE (which is where I was born). We lived there for about six months, and I have not been back since.
- I completed a plastic surgery fellowship in Chattanooga, TN (where we have fallen in love with our new family hobby of hiking—especially hikes with waterfalls).
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up?
I spent my childhood moving every few years as my father served our country in the Air Force. The moves were difficult, but, in many ways, they kept our family very close. Our Christian faith was always a priority. After three years in Germany, we moved back to the St. Louis area and graduated from high school in O’Fallon, IL. I played on the football team for a year with my brother which was a lot of fun. Soon, I was off to medical school. It was a dream come true. There, I met Stacy, my beautiful, smart, kind, and extraordinary wife. We married halfway through medical school right here in Jefferson City. Soon we were off to Omaha, NE to begin my surgery residency. Time flew by, and our next stop was Tennessee for my plastic and reconstructive surgery fellowship. Along the way, we have had four beautiful children who keep Stacy and I busy playing “zone defense.”
Why did you go into medicine?
For me, medicine has always been a calling. I have wanted to be a physician for as long as I can remember. I’ve always liked science, but the human element was the real draw. I believe God has created every person as uniquely valuable. I try to affirm that belief through treating my patients with kindness and compassion. To sum it up, I chose medicine because I want to help care for people, ease suffering, and improve lives.
Why did you choose to specialize in plastic surgery?
In the same way that I felt called to be a physician, I feel that same calling for plastic and reconstructive surgery. I have been drawn to the way that surgery offers long-term solutions to difficult problems. Dating back to my early training, I am always so inspired by the way plastic surgeons help and restore patients in so many different ways. There is no specific body part or organ system which defines plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is all about the optimization of form and function. Whether patients have congenital differences, breast cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, or traumatic wounds, plastic surgeons had been trained to help restore them from head to toe. From skin grafts to microsurgery, we have been pioneers in surgical advancement. With my affinity for the artistic and attention detail, I knew that plastic and reconstructive surgery would be a great fit for me as well. It really has been! I have had the pleasure of providing reconstructive and aesthetic surgery for people from head to toe. In my training, I have specialized in breast reconstruction, microsurgery, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery of the face and body, and surgery of the hand and upper extremities. The ability to help people of all ages and from all walks of life is truly rewarding. Just one part of that is helping people feel better about their appearance. It’s especially rewarding to help close difficult wounds, fix dysfunctional hands, or repair bodies damaged by trauma or cancer.
Why did you choose to practice at JCMG?
I am so thankful to be starting at JCMG this July. When we began looking for my next job, we wanted to be close to home. My wife grew up here in Jefferson City, and her family has been settled here for generations. My parents and grandparents are nearby in Springfield. Perhaps most importantly, I saw that there was a real need in Jefferson City and the surrounding community for the surgical services I provide. Whether in reconstruction of the face and breast, surgery of the hand, aesthetic surgery, or everything in between, I will provide our community with top quality plastic and reconstructive surgery while letting folks stay close to home.
What would you do if you weren’t a doctor?
That’s a tough one. Outside the medical professions, I may have liked to have been a carpenter. I do medical illustrations for articles and textbooks sometimes—that could have been fun too.
What are your favorite hobbies?
I like wood carving and painting. As a family, we like to go hiking. I’ve been off the wagon for exercise for a while but would like to start playing basketball and weightlifting again.
Do you have any nicknames?
When I was little, they called me, “Cayweed.” One of my plastic surgery mentors tried to start “T.B.” for “Tall and Bald,” but it hasn’t caught on just yet.
What’s something you want Jefferson City to know about you or plastic surgery?
My Christian faith is the core of our family values and the reason for why I try to serve as a physician and surgeon. I do my best to live by the Golden Rule, treating others the way I would want to be treated.
I would love for people to know that there is much more to plastic surgery than what is portrayed on television. For most plastic surgeons, the majority of their practice is reconstructive surgery and hand surgery. It’s the very skill set required to reconstruct nearly every problem of every body part that enhances the plastic surgeon’s ability to perform aesthetic surgery. So while I enjoy aesthetic surgery and am meticulous about getting excellent results, it would be great to be known for my services in reconstruction. My reconstructive patients have functional and aesthetic problems ranging from congenital anomalies, hand trauma, facial injuries, massive weight loss, cancer, aging, etc. But if I can help moms get back their “pre-pregnancy” shape or others feel better about particular elements of their face and body, then that will be icing on the cake.
Royals or Cardinals?