A photo of Raquel Ulma.

Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Division of Plastic Surgery

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Surgery


My Biography & Research


I am a surgeon who specializes in pediatric craniofacial surgery and pediatric oral and maxillofacial surgery. I work hard to create a caring environment for my patients and their families and treat every patient as if they were my own child.

I am one of very few craniofacial surgeons in the U.S. who are trained in both oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) and plastic and reconstructive surgery (PRS). I was the first female in the United States to have achieved this accomplishment.

I was inspired to pursue this career because of the success of international cleft missions – in which surgeons travel to developing countries to repair cleft lip and cleft palate defects. Seeing the impact of this work on children’s lives is very fulfilling. I have received numerous awards for my work on these missions.

In addition to patient care, I’m involved in research in the areas of pediatric plastic and maxillofacial surgery. My main interests include management of craniosynostosis, which occurs when the bones in a baby’s skull fuse too early before birth, and hypertelorism, which is an abnormally large distance between the eyes. My colleagues and I are also looking into the outcomes of cleft and craniofacial defects.

I speak fluent English and Spanish, and when I’m not helping patients I enjoy traveling and learning about new cultures. My father taught me woodworking and blacksmithing, and I received a scholarship from the National Endowment for the Arts for these traditional arts. I also enjoy cooking and baking.

Clinical Interests

Craniosynostosis; cranial and maxillofacial reconstruction; cleft lip and palate; corrective jaw surgery; management of maxillofacial pathology; maxillofacial trauma; distraction osteogenesis and upper airway management

Research Interests

Craniosynostosis and hypertelorism management; cleft and craniofacial outcomes; surgical education and resident teaching

Academic Affiliation

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Surgery

Clinical Divisions

Plastic Surgery, Upper Airway Center

Research Divisions

Plastic Surgery

My Education

DDS: University of California, Los Angeles, School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CA, 2008.

MD: University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, 2012.

Residencies: University of California, Los Angeles, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Los Angeles, CA, 2014; University of California, Los Angeles, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Los Angeles, CA, 2018.

Fellowship: University of Michigan, C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery, Ann Arbor, MI, 2019.