Medicine & Innovation Combine at the Cleveland Clinic through Dr. Frank Papay

Posted on:

< < Back to



Dr. Frank Papay is the chair of the Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute at the Cleveland Clinic Health System. He also is a physician who combines innovation with the healing arts of medicine.
Dr. Papay has spearheaded the Cleveland Clinic’s work in the emerging field of face transplants among other notable surgical breakthroughs. He and a team of gifted surgeons have been featured for this work in National Geographic. Here is the full story:
He was part of the surgical team that performed the first “near-total” face transplant in the United States in 2008 and says that what was learned from that surgery has led to other medical discoveries.
That first face transplant patient is still alive and doing well, according to Dr. Papay. She is a strong advocate for the surgery, he says.

Dr. Papay talks about the extensive preparation that goes into the face transplant process from preparing the patient to picking a top-flight surgical team of numerous specialists. He also discusses the ethics underlying the procedure.
The costs of the various face transplants has been supported by the Department of Defense, says Dr. Papay. The military is interested in this surgery to potentially restore the faces of soldiers who have suffered injuries in battle.
Dr. Papay also is the holder of over 40 medical device patents. In 2017, he was inducted into National Academy of Inventors.

One of his more recent innovations is a device that can modify the transmission of pain signals to the brain and help control cluster migraine headaches.
He says that his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit has been cultivated and nurtured by “Forest Gump moments” – which he describes as serendipitous encounters with key people who have influenced his life and career.

Dr. Papay received his undergraduate degree from Ohio University in 1975 and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 1977.
He received his medical degree from the Northeast Ohio Medical University in 1984 and a doctorate in management (entrepreneurship/entrepreneurial studies) from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in 2013.