For Dr. Michael Lypka, it is a “true honor” to carry on the work of Dr. Ernest Cronin, co-founder of CHRISTUS Operation San José. Originally from Canada, Dr. Lypka (pictured third from left) attended dental school in Canada and received his oral and maxillofacial surgery training in Los Angeles.
“In dental school, I was always interested in the medical and surgical aspects of dentistry, so I pursued oral surgery specialty training,” Dr. Lypka said. “While I did enjoy general dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery provided a little more spark so to say.”
While an oral surgery resident, Dr. Lypka learned more about pediatric craniofacial surgery and pursued plastic surgery training to give him a broader scope of expertise. It was his plastic surgery training in Houston that added a new chapter to his story.
“I applied to multiple different programs across the country, when I applied to plastic surgery,” Dr. Lypka said. “By luck, I matched at the Methodist program.”
It was through the Methodist program that Dr. Lypka met Dr. Cronin. “Getting to work with Dr Cronin and other great plastic surgeons in Houston was invaluable,” Dr. Lypka said. “I shared an interest with Dr. Cronin in treating cleft lip and palate patients. I was fortunate to be able to learn his approach to treating these patients, which has impacted the way I practice currently.”
In 2009, Dr. Lypka became involved with CHRISTUS Operation San José mission. “As a senior resident, I went to Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico on the Operation San José trip,” Dr. Lypka said. “Perhaps the most memorable experience was treating a 14-year-old girl with cleft lip and palate who had never had surgery. She was shunned in her village. Getting to repair her lip and palate had a pretty big impact on her life and mine as well. It is cases like these that keep the volunteers of Operation San José coming back each year.”
In 2016, Dr. Lypka assumed the Medical Director position of the mission upon Dr. Cronin’s retirement. “Dr. Cronin started the mission to help others less fortunate who may not otherwise receive treatment for a very treatable condition. It is a true honor and privilege to carry on Dr. Cronin’s legacy and the work of the many volunteers of Operation San José.”