Surgeon's creative side surfaces in sweet hobby

October 1, 2015

Plastic surgeon Richard DeSplinter completes complex cosmetic and reconstructive procedures in his work at Via Christi Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics in Wichita, Kan. A few times a year, continuing a tradition his mother started, he also puts his skilled hands to work sculpting fondant icing.

Yes, he decorates cakes.

When DeSplinter was a boy, he used to watch his mother, Sharon Guerra, decorate cakes for special family occasions. It's a tradition he has continued for his own daughters, 14-year-old Lindsey and 13-year-old Lauren. Before their birthdays, they give him a cake concept.

Designs have varied from garden-themed cakes, where flowers bloom above a frosting field, to a movie theater-themed cake adorned with little pink pigs enjoying snacks and a show from their auditorium seats.

DeSplinter sees some crossover between his work and his hobby. There is an artistic component to plastic surgery, he says. And when planning a surgery, he maps out the process before picking up his instruments. With a cake, he visualizes a design, sometimes sketching where he's heading — he learned to draw as a child. When the cake cools, he uses frosting and fondant icing to craft and cut shapes and execute the cake's design.

He occasionally decorates cakes for colleagues, adding that a nurse in the office has a birthday coming up soon. "I'd better get on that," he says.

BETSY TAYLOR

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