Clark Schierle, MD, PhD

Clark Schierle, MD, PhD

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Northwestern Specialists in Plastic Surgery

About Dr. Schierle

“I view every case as a blend between reconstruction and cosmetic. Art and science are not opposites, but part of the same spectrum.”

What is your practice philosophy?

Patient education is first and foremost our goal. The patient is the most important member of the healthcare team, my role is as your physician first, and then your surgeon. Your safety is always the utmost concern in anything that I proceed with, and making sure you completely understand what is involved before we move forward. I end up talking a lot of people out of surgery that way, but that's how I want it. If you have unrealistic expectations, that's a setup for an unhappy patient, and we only want happy patients. We don't shoot first and ask questions later.

What makes your practice different?

I view every case as a blend between reconstruction and cosmetic. Art and science are not opposites, but part of the same spectrum. Because of that I see myself as a problem solver, not as a businessman. A patient is not likely to hear a pitch from me about all the things they need done that they didn't realize. The patient has to come to me with what their problem is, what is making them feel self-conscious, what they don't like about themselves. If I have a good solution that can reliably and safely address that then we can move forward. There are no high-pressure sales tactics, there's no hard sell. Safety and education first.

What is a typical course of treatment?

Usually we do one preoperative consult, but patients can have as many as they'd like. If questions come up, or they want to add additional procedures, we never charge or penalize patients for getting more information or answering more questions before they move forward. I will meet with you on the day of your surgery before any sedation to answer any last minute questions, from you or from family members, to make sure everyone understands the plan and we're all on the same page. I will see you typically within the first week after the surgery as an early checkup, and then for anywhere from three to ten postoperative visits thereafter depending on the procedure, until healing is complete.

Do you provide before and after photos?

At Northwestern Specialists in Plastic Surgery we employ the most advanced 3D imaging system in the city of Chicago, the Canfield Vectra System. I personally have converted my practice to 100% 3D pre- and post-operative imaging and surgical planning.

Depending on the procedure you are interested in, we can also offer simulations of your predictive postoperative outcome. This is currently most effective for breast augmentation and rhinoplasty. Although everybody is unique, it allows me to show you patients very similar to your particular situation from our library of previous patients. The 3D visualization allows me to show you more than just one, perfect angle that makes everything look as good as possible. I can zoom in and rotate and and show you the parts that I'm not happy with and the parts the patient is still not happy with. I can also show you how things evolve during the healing process, so you get a really accurate sense of what to expect.

With standard before and after photos you don't get to see how you get from point A to point B. The response from my patients has been overwhelmingly positive, because they really get a much more accurate sense of what to expect.

Do you provide patient references?

Typically new patients are ok with just seeing our 3D before and after pictures. If you are interested in speaking to a prior patient, we do have a process to connect you to two or three patients who have been through a similar procedure in the past.

What other resources are available to your patients through your practice?

As an extension of our mission to educate our patients, we are aggressive users of the Internet and social media. Depending on patients' appetite and what they're looking for, we offer information in a variety of formats. We use Twitter, Facebook, and our blog to post useful links and information about interesting topics in health, wellness, breast cancer treatment, etc. that we feel will be interesting to our patients. Our website has an extensive FAQ and resources page with links to other healthcare providers and professionals that provide useful services: physical therapy, massage, hair and makeup, etc, that our patients have told us are useful to them. We update that very regularly, and new patients can either search or download the list at their convenience.

For out of town patients, we have a dedicated web page for resources for them: hotels that provide discounts, special hospital-grade hotel rooms where they can have a nurse, private duty nurses for hire to help patients with the recovery process. We are very aggressive in our use of post-operative pain pump technology, an anesthetic medicine catheter that remains connected to the patient for a day or two after surgery and provides numbing medicine and helps speed recovery.

We are pioneers in minimally invasive approaches to breast surgery and facial surgery using video endoscopy to minimize scarring and provide a faster recovery. We also use minimally traumatic techniques and local anesthesia when appropriate to minimize swelling and speed recovery.

Why did you choose your specialty?

My mom, dad, uncle and grandfather are all architects. My dad is a professor at USC, where he teaches structures and design. My uncle is a world famous architect who did huge projects for Disney, where he worked 35 years building incredible structures all around the world. I grew up in a house where the concept of art and science coming together really made a lot of sense. In architecture form and function are equally important. You want designs that are beautiful, but fundamentally they need to not fall apart, and there's a lot of science behind that.

During the course of medical school rotations, I did plastics during my general surgery rotation, and it really clicked. I enjoyed the process of learning the science of how the surgery is done, and then taking a step back to make sure it looks pretty, that you've restored this person's appearance so they maintain their quality of life.

What are your outside interests?

I'm a proud husband to my wife, Melissa Wickert, who is a CRNA. We have a French bulldog, Tucker. In my free time I like skiing, scuba diving, traveling and juggling. Juggling was a geeky thing to do in college. The international juggling association convention was at UCLA one year during undergrad, and that opened my eyes to this whole world of juggling, so I picked up juggling cups, rings, bowls, stars, diablo sticks, etc. It's a nice way to keep my physical dexterity up.

Education & Credentials

Bachelor of Science
University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Medical School
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Doctor of Philosophy, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Residency, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
McGaw Medical Center, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Hospital Affiliations

900 N Michigan Surgical Center
Illinois Masonic Medical Center
Mercy Hospital & Medical Center
Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital
Saint Joseph Hospital
Sameday Surgery River North

office location

676 N Saint Clair St
Suite 1525A
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 266-6240
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Mon-Fri: 8am – 5pm