After graduating with honors from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Dr. Tollefson completed a residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. He then completed a sub-specialty fellowship in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at the University of California at Davis. This department was recently ranked highly in the U.S. News and World Report.
He is board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon and American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons. As an Assistant Professor, he shares responsibility for teaching medical students, residents, and fellows. He enjoys teaching other surgeons internationally, most recently at the 2nd International Conferences in Facial Plastic Surgery in Hangzhou, China and the Zimbabwean Medical Association in Harare, Zimbabwe, Africa. He serves as a physician reviewer for three medical journals including the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.
For the past decade, he has been involved in many clinical and cutting-edge basic science research projects. Dr. Tollefson has also published numerous articles and has been an invited lecturer both nationally and internationally. One of his current research projects is funded by a grant from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The research team is attempting to restore the natural eyelid blink in patients that have paralysis of the face. This landmark research could potentially be the first successful use of an artificial muscle technology in both adults and children with facial paralysis.
Dr. Tollefson on numerous national committees including the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Awards, Fellowship, and Cleft Lip and Palate Subspecialty Committee; as well as the International Scholarship Committee of the American Cleft Palate Association. He serves as the California Society of Facial Plastic Surgeon’s alternate delegate to the California Medical Association.
As a surgeon with the UC Davis Cleft and Craniofacial Program, he enjoys caring for children born with cleft lip and palate. In addition to maintaining a busy surgical practice, Dr. Tollefson is an active volunteer with humanitarian organizations. He has performed surgery on five continents, including South America, Africa and Asia, in the last 4 years. He is the Associate Medical Director and on the Board of Directors for Operation of Hope, which has provided free surgeries for children with cleft lip and other facial deformities in South America and Africa for nearly 20 years. This organization’s work was recently covered in People Magazine. He also continues to serve as a volunteer reconstructive surgeon with the non-profit organization, Smile China to remote areas in China where surgical repair is not available.