A photo of Raquel Ulma.

Raquel M. Ulma, DDS, MD

  • Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Division of Plastic Surgery
  • Assistant Professor, UC Department of Surgery



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.