Dr Francisco Colon is one of the metropolitan region's foremost plastic surgeons, whose record and reputation are a key reason The Peer Group of New Jersey is perhaps the most successful cosmetic-surgery team practice in the state today. Indeed, in a field famous for technically proficient and credentialed physicians, Dr. Colon stands out: For starters, he took his plastic surgery residency in a program of Harvard Medical School, and he spent years training in no fewer than five of the most renowned hospitals in New York City and Boston. He joined The Peer Group upon completing that training, and he has enjoyed his role at the prestigious practice (founded in the 1930s by pioneering surgeon Lyndon Peer) and thus, has never desired to practice anywhere else. Now 50, Colon (pronounced Coh-LOHN) is entering the prime of his career, almost every day undertaking procedures across the cosmetic and plastic surgery spectrum: Body, breast and facial cosmetic surgeries as well as reconstructive procedures.
In many respects, Colon came by his work and expertise quite naturally - as a teen-ager growing up in Puerto Rico he followed closely -- even observed -- the work of his father, a respected surgeon who was head of Oncology and gynecological surgery at the University of Puerto Rico; Dr. Francisco E. Colon, now in his 80s, practiced until he was 75. Younger Francisco and his siblings grew up in Fajardo on the island's shimmering southeast coast. (Google images of "Fajardo, Puerto Rico" and you'll wonder why he ever left.) After graduating from San Ignacio de Loyola High School in Puerto Rico,he enrolled as a pre-med at Washington University in St. Louis. "I always wanted to be a surgeon, like my dad, and I was willing to work hard for it"; he went straight on to medical school at Columbia University in New York City.
He considered neurosurgery but was drawn to plastic surgery for the artistic, creative and technical demands placed every day on the practitioner. "In Plastic Surgery we are usually trying to create, or reconstruct a particular problem, whether it is related to cancer, trauma or just aging. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing what you can do with your hands and your imagination."
Like all exceptional surgeons, Dr. Colon built his expertise on a foundation of broad experience: In the 80s at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital on Manhattan's West Side, he repaired the wounds of victims of late-night street fights. On days off he "scrubbed" with the hospital's plastic surgeons; it was there he worked with future colleague Dr. Isaac Starker. Over the next five years, including three working in Boston with Harvard's Dr. Robert Goldwyn ("One of the wise men of our profession") and other renowned plastic surgeons, Dr. Colon took on many of the most challenging micro- and cosmetic surgeries of the time. It's an orientation that has stayed with him: "I always look to be creative in my work - I never wanted anything to be routine. As a plastic surgeon I enjoy applying both my artistic and technical skills. Every patient presents a challenge and I strive to achieve the best possible result"
When he was ready to launch his own practice, he recalled his friend Dr. Starker, and a 3-month rotation at Morristown Hospital during his New York residency. Drawn to the sophistication, diversity and high standards of Morris County Hospitals, Colon joined the Peer Group in 1995. "I'm very fortunate because it has all been an excellent fit. This is a beautiful place to live and raise my family. The level of medical care, the local hospital facilities and physicians are outstanding" Today his wife, Dr. Ola Monastyrskyj, is a practicing internist in Morristown as well.
Patients will find Dr. Colon a focused and exacting practitioner, yet one who is low-key and not inclined to bravado or pretense of any sort. "I've always been a steady, hard worker. I tend to be a perfectionist and I am very critical of my own work. I always look to see what I can do better the next time."
In 2010 he spent a month volunteering on a Healing The Children mission in Thailand, helping children with physical deformities. When he can get away he enjoys skiing and golf, and following the hockey, lacrosse, football and soccer achievements of his and his wife's three young children.