About Dr. Christine Kelley
Perhaps it was the gentle teasing of my father, who noticed the precision I used in trimming the meat on my dinner plate as a child. It could have been my high school teachers and advisors, who encouraged me to do something grand with my life based on my scholastic work. In fact both were a guiding force that led me to consider the medical profession. Just as importantly, I have always had a keen interest in science and nature. I thought about a career in chemistry or biologic research. I am introverted and shy, however, and I was concerned that I would be too prone to social isolation and continued awkwardness in a lab environment. I decided to push myself to grow into a more complete person by learning how to communicate with people more comfortably. I concluded that becoming a physician would be the most effective path to exercise these interests and goals.
I was anxious to get started on the challenges I had set for myself. I was fortunate to live in Missouri, where a groundbreaking medical education program had been developed at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. This still rather unique approach to cultivating physicians combines undergraduate study in biology and chemistry with medical education and training completed over the course of six years instead of the typical eight. In 1985, I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and Chemistry, and in 1986, my Doctor of Medicine degree.
During my medical school experience, I determined that the field of surgery was most interesting to me. People often ask why I decided to become a surgeon. In addition to the passé answer that I enjoy working with my hands, I appreciated that surgery often represents a definitive solution to a problem. In addition, surgery requires a steady mental and physical focus that is natural and rewarding for me. I completed my five-year general surgery residency at the University of Kansas in Wichita. While there, I received the honor of appointment to administrative chief resident. I also received the George Mastio Award for surgical excellence, which recognizes the outstanding graduating trainee.
In high school and early adulthood, I enjoyed working with children. I considered a career in pediatric surgery. However, during my residency, I found that the field of plastic surgery allowed me to work with all ages and also with a broad range of problems in nearly all body areas. I really liked the fact that plastic surgery is such a positive, life-improving process for many patients. Most importantly, however, I relish the complex thinking that is required to evaluate, plan and execute most plastic surgical procedures. Plastic surgery is unique in the richness of techniques available to address a given problem, and the field has a long history of inspiring medical innovation. From 1991 to 1993, I completed a specialized program in plastic and reconstructive surgery at St. Louis University, where I was again appointed administrative chief resident in my final year of training.
I entered the United States Air Force in 1993 and was able to hone my skills in plastic surgery at Scott Air Force Base. I earned the rank of Major and was honorably discharged in 1996, earning an Air Force Commendation medal for my performance. My board certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery followed in November of 1996. I have maintained my board certification status through the Maintenance of Certification Program of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Among my professional affiliations, I am a current member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Indiana State Medical Association and the Indianapolis Medical Society. I am also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Since 1999, I have practiced in the Indianapolis area, currently as an associate with Meridian Plastic Surgeons. I specialize in reconstructive and cosmetic surgeries for the full body, with a particular interest in breast and torso surgery. I draw upon my extensive experience in clinical wound healing and reconstructive surgery to also address the cosmetic surgery needs of many of my patients. As technologies and patient preferences have changed over the years, I have developed an interest in minimally invasive and non-invasive treatments to improve aging concerns on the face and body with less downtime and recovery. When surgery is required, I have made an effort to learn about new techniques to reduce bruising, swelling, pain and scarring. In December of 2015, I treated my first patient for complaints of Breast Implant Illness. Hundreds of others followed, and explant surgery has become a significant and fulfilling part of my practice. In September of 2019, I was privileged to begin collaboration with Dr. Mithun Sinha and others at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Together, we are trying to better understand the mechanisms responsible for a pathologic host immune response related to breast implants.
In addition to my medical career, I am also a wife to my husband, Terry, and a mother to two adult sons. This experience gives me great insight into the priorities and often-frantic schedules of my patients. I enjoy long walks in the woods in the company of our two Golden Retrievers,Yogi and Bodhi, and my Corgi grand dog, Teddy. Nature is my source of inspiration and rejuvenation. Much of my free time is spent outdoors. I like to hike, bike, kayak, sail, and snow ski. My husband and I have become fond of the natural beauty of nearby Michigan, where I especially love the forests and beaches adjacent to the Great Lakes.