Steven Cohen, M.D.


Plastic Surgery, Cleft Palate and Craniofacial


3020 Children's Way
MC 5031
San Diego, CA 92123


Plastic Surgery, Cleft Palate and Craniofacial


Rady Children's Specialists of San Diego

Medical Group / IPA

Rady Children's Specialists

Medical School

University of George Washington, DC


Columbia Presbyterian Hospital


Dartmouth Medical School, State University of Pennsylvania


University of California Los Angeles

Board Certifications

Plastic Surgery




Dr. Steven R. Cohen, FACS, is director of craniofacial surgery at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego and a clinical professor of plastic surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

After attending college at Emory University, where he graduated summa cum laude, he was accepted as an early decision candidate at the George Washington University School of Medicine, where he graduated in 1980.

Dr. Cohen trained in general surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City and originally pursued a career in cardiac surgery. After his second year at Columbia, he was selected for the Dr. Andrew Morrow's Cardiac Surgery Fellowship and spent two years as a clinical associate at the National Institutes of Health in the Cardiac Surgery Branch. While at the NIH, Dr. Cohen saw a program on PBS on the new field of craniofacial surgery and changed his career path.

He went on to complete his general surgery residency at Dartmouth, his plastic surgery training at the University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and a fellowship in craniofacial and facial plastic surgery with Dr. Henry Kawamoto at the University of California, Los Angeles.

From 1990 to 1993, Dr. Cohen founded and directed the Craniofacial Anomalies Program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. From 1993 to 1999, he was co-director of the Center for Craniofacial Disorders at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. In 1999, Dr. Cohen became the chief of craniofacial surgery and surgical director of the Craniofacial Center at Children's Hospital of San Diego and founded FACES+, one of the first comprehensive plastic surgery, skin and laser centers in the United States.

Dr. Cohen is known throughout the world for his contributions to the treatment of children with facial deformities, including cleft lip and serious craniofacial skeletal malformations. He was the first to treat infants with Pierre Robin syndrome with the distraction procedure, now the procedure of choice for this condition. Dr. Cohen is also the inventor of one of the first internal distraction systems, the MID system, and holds a patent on the Macropore biodegradable distraction device. He has helped develop a number of other new surgical techniques in conjunction with Macropore Biosurgery, Inc. and Stryker Leibinger, Inc.

Dr. Cohen is very involved in the plastic surgical training program at UC San Diego. In addition to founding and securing funding for the UC San Diego/Rady Children's Craniofacial Fellowship, Dr. Cohen started the UC San Diego Aesthetic Fellowship. In 2001, 2011 and 2014, Dr. Cohen was selected as Teacher of the Year by the UC San Diego plastic surgery residents.

Formerly on the executive boards of the American Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons and the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, Dr. Cohen was also a founder of the Cell Society, an international organization dedicated to educating physicians and the public on emerging treatments in regenerative medicine. He has helped to pioneer new regenerative cell therapies in his own specialty, as well as in orthopedic surgery, sports medicine and cardiology. Currently, he works closely with Cytori Therapeutics, Inc., a leading provider of cell therapy solutions for cardiac, musculoskeletal and soft tissue disorders.

Dr. Cohen has been an invited speaker throughout the United States, Europe, Asia South America and Australia and is an honorary member of the Royal College of Australian Surgeons. He has been an invited surgeon to a number of medical centers, including Johns Hopkins, Stanford and the University of California, San Francisco, to demonstrate and teach surgical techniques. Dr. Cohen has lectured and operated throughout the world demonstrating new surgical techniques in regenerative surgery, most recently in Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Spain.

He has written more than 150 articles for medical journals and served on the editorial board of Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, the Annals of Plastic Surgery and the Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal. Currently, he is on the editorial board of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

For nine of the past 11 years, Dr. Cohen has been named a "Top" plastic surgeon in San Diego Magazine. Previously, he was recognized by the Atlanta Journal and Constitution as one of the best plastic surgeons in Atlanta, was listed from 2001-2013 as one of the nation's "Best Doctors" (by Best Doctors, Inc.) and was named one of the "Top Doctors in America" from 2004-2013 by Castle Connolly. In 2008, Dr. Cohen was voted as San Diego's "Best" cosmetic surgeon in the Union-Tribune Readers Poll. In 2011, he was selected as one of the top plastic surgeons in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

With his wife, Sheri, Dr. Cohen is involved with a number of charities, including Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, where he has served on the advisory board and received the Founder's Award in 2004 and the Outstanding Physician of the Year Award in 2009 and 2013. In 2001, he received a Health Care Hero Award and a Special Certificate of Congressional Recognition for his work with Fresh Start, and in 2011 was awarded a United States Senate Certificate of Commendation from Senator Diane Feinstein for his work with children.

Dr. Cohen and his wife have helped to lead a fundraising campaign to benefit the Center for Neuro-Craniofacial Surgery at Rady Children's; he was one of the first physicians at Rady to become part of the Rady Children's Hospital Foundation Circle of Care. Dr. Cohen is also an avid supporter of Fresh Start Surgical Gifts and along with its founder, Dr. Dennis Nigro, created the Fresh Start Center at Rady Children's.

Dr. Cohen is also a painter and sculptor, and has exhibited and sold his work in Hanover, N.H, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and La Jolla, Calif. After a 14-year hiatus from painting, he has begun a new series of work of mixed media on handmade Japanese paper (Washi).