When it comes to younger patients’ sports injuries, Dr. Jennifer Kargel loves being able to make an immediate difference in the patients she sees at Children’s Health℠ Andrews Institute - Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.
“It’s very rewarding to be able to treat these injured patients, restore function of the hand, and get them back to the activities and sports they love,” Dr. Kargel says. She cites the interaction with parents and children as a constant motivator.
Coming from a family of medical providers, Dr. Kargel always knew she wanted to be a physician and a surgeon. She was further drawn to plastic surgery for several reasons. She had an amazing plastic surgery mentor, Dr. Linda Phillips, at the University of Texas Medical Branch. “I saw what she did, and I thought to myself that I wanted to be able to impact patients’ lives the way she does,” Dr. Kargel says. Also, plastic surgery and the subspecialty of hand surgery require a high level of creativity and problem solving, requiring expertise in a wide variety of areas such as bony fixation, soft tissue manipulation and microsurgery.
Once she began working with children, she knew that pediatric hand surgery was a perfect fit for her. “Kids are resilient and they heal so well,” Dr. Kargel says. “Even with injuries that seem devastating, they can bounce back and have excellent results very quickly.”
Along with her practice partner, Dr. Jonathan Cheng, Dr. Kargel treats all types of hand and wrist problems, from sports injuries to traumatic injuries. Together, they care for 2,000 to 3,000 children with hand conditions each year. She also sees children with congenital differences, including conditions such as syndactyly (fingers connected to one another), symbrachydactyly (parts of the hand missing) and radial dysplasia (hand bent severely inward and missing parts).
Dr. Kargel is board-certified in plastic surgery and is a member of the Texas Society of Plastic Surgery. Born and raised in Texas, she earned her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, where she also completed her plastic surgery residency. Dr. Kargel has completed subspecialty fellowship training in hand surgery and microsurgery at UT Southwestern in Dallas, and is an assistant professor in the UT Southwestern Department of Plastic Surgery. She is also a candidate member of the American Association for Hand Surgery.
In addition to her work at Children’s Health Andrews Institute, she serves as the director of hand surgery for the VA North Texas Healthcare System, where she treats hand conditions for active and retired military personnel.
Dr. Kargel lives in the Dallas area with her husband of 14 years and their pets. Her interests outside of medicine are varied and include cooking, gardening, reading, watching movies, painting and drawing.