It's one of those phone calls from school that parents dread: "Hello, your child's been hurt at school."
That's the call Ryan Tow received in 2005 from his daughter's elementary school. Allison Tow was a first grader and had suffered a serious cut on her cheek. The first thought, of course, is getting the injury mended as quickly as possible. Cosmetic concerns are secondary.
The family's primary doctor, though, understood that at some point the little girl would be thankful that she was taken to a plastic surgery specialist. That's how Mr. Tow first heard about taking Allison to Dr. Brenton Koch. As one of the top plastic surgeons in Des Moines, Dr. Koch would be the best choice for minimizing the likely scar.
That turned out to be an understatement, according to Mr. Tow, who wrote a thank-you note 10 years later to our Des Moines facial plastic surgery practice.
"Dr. Koch has stitched up the laceration in her cheek (she was a VERY unhappy patient), and reassured us that by the time Allison was a teenager we'd barely notice the scar. A little makeup would cover it," he said, "and she'd look as beautiful as ever."
"He was right."
The memory of that conversation came to Mr. Tow as he was preparing to send Allison's senior photo to her high school for the yearbook.
"I remembered that conversation with Dr. Koch, and I realized that I didn't even have to touch up the image in Photoshop to remove the scar. It healed beautifully."
Mr. Tow took the opportunity to follow up with Dr. Koch.
"I just wanted to say thank you. I've attached a photo we took the day she got the stitches, and another photo showing her today."
And here they are:
Allison as a first-grader needed several stitches to close her wound.
Allison's dad recalled Dr. Koch's words looking at Allison's senior picture.