Dr Peter T Hetzler has been one of New Jersey's leading plastic surgeons for two decades. Indeed, the Rumson native - who returned home after gaining a world-class level of expertise - is one of the profession's best examples of the successful independent practitioner: Peers say he is knowledgeable, experienced, highly ethical and exceptionally sensitive to his extensive patient base.
The son of an insurance executive (his godfather was a physician), Dr. Hetzler grew up around the water, scuba diving off the shores of Sandy Hook - "I always thought I'd become a marine biologist." After attending Rumson Country Day School and the Phillips Academy at Andover, Dr.Hetzler went on to Stanford University. It was at first an eclectic academic path: A major in Marine Neurophysiology and a minor in French Literature. After working with John Angers, MD, studying immunology medicine at the PACK Medical Group, he headed to the University of Michigan medical school, and later took his general surgery and plastic surgery residencies at Hershey Medical Center, Penn State University.
Dr. Hetzler focused on unique and challenging areas of surgery, including pediatric cardiothoracic surgery. But it was renowned Penn State University hand surgeon and plastic surgeon William P. Graham III who "single-handedly influenced me" to consider plastic and reconstructive surgery.
Like many of the top surgeons in his field, Dr. Hetzler possesses an exceptionally strong background in general surgery. In the late 80s he was performing delicate microsurgery procedures during a fellowship at York (Pa.) Hospital. He then took a fellowship at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in aesthetic surgery.
Over the years Dr. Hetzler's Monmouth County practice by all accounts has established itself as a leading plastic surgery center in the region. His practice today is in great demand, both for cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. Assisting Dr. Hetzler is one of the most dedicated and attentive staffs in the field. "My staff are truly devoted and highly skilled, which makes a big difference to a practice such as mine." As a leader in surgical societies, he has been at the forefront of key policy matters and patient-safety initiatives. In 2006 he received the first-ever President's Award for Advocacy from the ASPS. He chairs the ASPS Ethics and Leadership Development Committee and is Director of ASPS Pathways to Leadership. Peers say his measured and thorough approach commands widespread respect.
Still fairly easy-going, though, Dr. Hetzler continues to scuba dive when he can and enjoys skiing. He is a past trustee of Rumson Country Day School and the Oceanic Free Library of Rumson. He has also served as President of the Alumni Council of Phillips Academy and on the Board of Trustees. He and his wife have two children; they live in eastern Monmouth County.