Dr. Cynthia Salinas

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Dr. Cynthia Salinas

Raised in Mercedes, Texas, Dr. Cynthia Salinas knew she was interested in medicine at an early age. “I had a grandfather who had diabetes when I was a young girl. I’m guessing we didn’t have many oral medications at the time, so he was injecting insulin, and he allowed me to help him. At that point, I got interested in being a doctor, and I remember being very specific, too. My mom bought me a nursing kit, but I remember telling her, ‘No mom, I need a doctor’s kit’.”

Even though Dr. Salinas had long dreamed of a career in medicine, she, like many of us, experienced doubts of her own about being able to fulfill her dream. After much deliberation, she decided that she wanted another option, and instead chose to attend pharmacy school at the University of Texas at Austin. After graduation, she worked for several years as a pharmacist, and while she enjoyed what she was doing, her dream of becoming a doctor never quite left her alone. With the encouragement of her parents, she ultimately decided to pursue an additional professional degree, this time, to become a doctor like she’d always wanted.

She chose to attend the medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. While medical school was grueling, Dr. Salinas said that having already gone through pharmacy school was a huge help in allowing her to complete her medical degree. “At first, I thought I was going to go into internal medicine and specialize in endocrinology. But then I attended a surgery clerkship and really excelled at it, so I chose surgery instead,” she said. Dr. Salinas completed her general surgery residency and critical care fellowship in New York. Eight years later she was finally able to return to her home and family in the Valley. “My whole idea in going into medicine was to come back and help serve my community.”

Once back in South Texas, Dr. Salinas began working as a trauma surgeon at McAllen Medical Center. “I loved it,” she said. “I was a trauma surgeon for two years and every day was a new challenge.” While her position as a trauma surgeon was highly rewarding, a joyous occasion had Dr. Salinas pursuing a different career move. With the birth of her son, Dr. Salinas sought a position that would allow her to spend more time with family.

“My career path may have morphed, but it’s been a good metamorphosis,” she said. Now, alongside Dr. John Hovorka, whom she met while working as a trauma surgeon, Dr. Salinas is now part of an amazing team of physicians that educates and treats patients suffering from venous conditions or who require wound care. She divides her time between their clinic in McAllen, Laser Surgical Solutions, and her responsibilities as Medical Director of the Wound Care Center at Mission Regional Medical Center and wound care physician for Harlingen Medical Center.

Dr. Salinas is a passionate advocate for providing Valley residents with the education and care necessary to take charge of their health. Two of the most frequent conditions she sees in the Valley is Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Peripheral Arterial Disease. “Chronic Venous Insufficiency means the valves in the veins don’t work well anymore, and we don’t really have a reason behind that,” she said. “For women, it’s usually due to pregnancy or obesity. For men, we don’t really know. A lot of it is genetic.” Peripheral Arterial Disease is a circulatory condition that may be preventable. “High cholesterol, smoking, leading an unhealthy life, and inactivity, in general, are all risk factors for PAD.”

Dr. Salinas recognizes her talented teams as the reason for the wound care departments’ success. “We have excellent nurses; our ultrasound technicians are fantastic. We have a whole ultrasound lab here.” While Dr. Salinas specializes in surgery, she says the goal for patients is early diagnosis. “If we can catch these conditions earlier, we can instigate treatments that are non-operative. A lot of times we’ll send them on a walking program with a physical therapist. They’ll walk with them three times a week for three months. That’s in the hope that the body will be able to create its own new arteries. Experience has proven that when we send a patient to a walking program, they come back feeling so much better.”

Although the path to her current role has been a long and winding one, Dr. Salinas says she is right where she wants to be. “My current positions allow me to establish rapport with my patients, get to know them, and really invest in their well-being and healing rates,” she said. “I see my patients once a week, so I get to hear about their lives, their families, I know their kids. I think it’s awesome.”

Dr. Cynthia Salinas specializes in Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Prime Healthcare’s Wound Care Centers at Harlingen Medical Center and Mission Regional Medical Center. The professionals at Laser Surgical Solutions in McAllen offer in-office treatments for varicose veins, vascular medicine, diabetes management for wound care, lymphatic services, Tibiopedal Access Minimally Invasive (TAMI), IV-Infusion, and compression sock measurements.

For an appointment at Laser Surgical Solutions please call 956.992.9161.

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