Beloved, brilliant, fun, giving, humble and a pioneer — these are among the words colleagues and friends use to describe Vic Narurkar, M.D., who died after a massive heart attack last month, days shy of his 51st birthday.
The unexpected loss of a cosmetic dermatology icon has left many thinking about Dr. Narurkar’s significant contributions to the subspecialty, the person he was and the void he left.
“Vic was a prodigy and a genius. He was the original Doogie Houser. He graduated from Brown University at 16 and graduated from Stanford Medical school at age 20. Vic was incredibly humble and didn’t talk much about his age and incredible accomplishments,” says Kathleen M. Welsh, M.D., who met Dr. Narurkar more than 30 years ago when they were first-year dermatology residents at Stanford.
Despite each launching aesthetic practices in San Francisco, in the same year, Dr. Welsh says the two were friends and colleagues — not competitors.
“If Vic thought there was an innovative, new technology that was going to improve our cosmetic practices, he would call me and say, ‘Kathleen, you have to try/buy this. This is going to be big.’ Because of his counsel over the years, I have a very small laser graveyard!” Dr. Welsh says.
Spokane, Wash., dermatologist Wm. Philip Werschler, M.D., was performing demonstration injections at the last month’s Maui Derm meeting when he got the news that his dear friend of nearly 25 years had passed. Dr. Werschler says he and Dr. Narurkar “grew up” together as dermatologists. They earned their stripes in the profession by speaking at meetings, conducting studies, publishing their work and, eventually, mentoring others.
“We’d often talk about how we had the best job in the world as dermatologists,” Dr. Werschler says.
Legacy of a Legend
Dr. Narurkar made immense scientific contributions in the field of aesthetic medicine. In the world of lasers and devices, he was legend.
His interest in devices started early when he completed a fellowship in laser and cosmetic dermatologic surgery with laser pioneer Philip Bailin, M.D. As a fellow, Dr. Narurkar was involved in developing pulsed dye and alexandrite lasers used for birthmark and tattoo removal. And after completing the fellowship, he was appointed dermatology director and assistant professor at UC Davis Laser Center, where he was the original investigator for laser hair reduction with alexandrite and diode lasers; cosmetic vascular lesion treatment with pulsed dye and KTP lasers; and skin resurfacing with CO2 lasers, according to Dr. Narurkar’s Bay Area Laser Institute website.