Flora and Mark Fisher’s father was a surgeon. But when the family emigrated from the Soviet Union to Brooklyn in the early 1990s, he switched to pediatrics. Three decades later, he’s still practicing.
So are his children. Both are plastic surgeons. His daughter — now Flora Levin — specializes in eye procedures. Mark concentrates on pediatric plastic surgery, and craniofacial reconstruction.
Their offices are in Westport. Actually, it’s one office. The brother and sister doctors practice together.
Though they inherited their love of medicine from their father, they did not plan to join forces. Growing up, they spent little time together. Flora is 10 years older. She went to college at 17, married young, and — during her first job, at Yale — moved to Westport. She and her husband are raising 3 children here now.
Mark did his residency in Washington, DC. There are limited options for his specialty. So when the opportunity arose to work with his sister, he seized it.
“We’ve never been around each other as much as we are now,” Flora notes.
She does primarily eyelid surgery. Though the technical details are similar, the “artistry” for each is different, she says.
“It’s very creative. I look at the face as a whole, not just the eyelids. And each person has a different personality.”
Mark says his work is very different than, say, removing a gall bladder.
“There’s no one step-by-step approach. Each cancer or trauma patient is different. The results have to be functional, but also aesthetic.” For example, a patient with cancer of the lips must be able to eat — but also look normal.
In addition, he says, plastic surgery is “head to toe.” He works on every part of the body.
Mark’s practice involves reconstructive surgery, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, along with congenital children’s deformities like cleft palates, and of course kids’ cuts and bruises.
As with any partnership — medical or otherwise — there are compromises. But, Flora notes, “If I had a partner I’d hired off the street, I might not listen as much as I do with Mark.”
She admires him as a doctor, too. “Mark has a bedside manner you can’t teach. He’s ethical. He listens. I really believe in him, and his abilities.”
In big sister mode, she adds, “I’m a nurturer. It gives me great pleasure to help him succeed, and watch him grow.”
Mark notes, “It’s a huge advantage to work with someone with 12 years’ experience. She’s well trained in surgery, but she also has real knowledge of basic things, like how to buy instruments and sign up for insurance.
“We mesh well together. We have the same approach and outlook. It comes from our father. Medicine wasn’t a 9-to-5 job. He lived it all day, every day.
“I know as my sibling, she has my best interests at heart. I wasn’t brought in just to grow the business. Neither of us is trying to gain an advantage.”
Dr. Levin and Dr. Fisher’s practice is growing steadily. Right now they’re at 131 Kings Highway North. But they’ve outgrown that space. Early next year they’ll move to Post Road East, near Balducci’s.
They look forward to working together in an office they’re building out themselves. Unlike most siblings, they won’t argue over who gets the bigger room.