Profile photo Mink van der Molen

Mink van der Molen

Full Professor


Aebele Mink van der Molen (1959) graduated as MD at the University in Amsterdam in 1986. Het passed his ECFMG exams in the same year and applied for residency in The United States in order to get experience abroad. From July 1987-July 1989 he worked in Chicago at Columbus Hospital affiliated with Northwestern University, one year internal medicine and a year of general surgery. On the brink of staying in the USA for a full residency in General Surgery he decided to come back to the Netherlands, when a plastic surgery residency was offered in the Isala Clinics in Zwolle.

After completing his training in Plastic Surgery he obtained the Pulvertaft fellowship (6 months) issued by the British Society For Surgery of the Hand which was followed in Windsor and London under guidance of Mr David Evans. The thoroughness of David’s thinking about and performance in all aspects of hand surgery made a lasting impression.

This was followed by a fellowship in Hand and Micro Surgery obtained via the American matching program at the Medical College of Wisconsin (Froetert Hospital) from july 1996-july 1997, which boosted hand and microsurgical skills further.

Armed with this experience Mink van der Molen accepted a position as “Chef de Clinique” in the department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Dijkzigt Ziekenhuis in Rotterdam, now Erasmus MC.

The opportunity to combine hand surgery with pediatric plastic surgery in Utrecht was so attractive he decided to switch and accept a combined position in the St Antonius Hospital and the WKZ in 2001. The WKZ had just moved from the City Centre to its current location and was brand new.

Over the years pediatric Plastic Surgery became the main focus of his work, both in the area of congenital hand anomalies as well as regarding cranio-facial anomalies. This culminated in his appointment as Professor in Pediatric Plastic Surgery in April 2020 during the peak of the first Covid epidemic. Professor Mink van der Molen held his oration with the title “waar het om draait” in October 2021.

Professor Mink van der Molen is head of the Multidisciplinary Cleft Lip and Palate team in Utrecht. As NFU recognized expert center, the team participates in the European Reference network for rare diseases. Professor Mink van der Molen is currently chairing worksteam Cleft of ERN-Cranio. The Cleft Lip and Palate team in Utrecht serves locally as an example for the implementation of Value Based Health Care principles in daily practice.

Besides clinical work his main research interest is in the field of cleft lip and palate and in particular speech problems, velopharyngeal dysfunction and speech enhancing surgery. This also explains his interest in the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome as about 1/3rd of these patients suffer from speech and language disorders, often accompanied by VPI and some form of cleft palate.

Inherited from his period in the St Antonius Hospital, Prof. Mink van der Molen is also still involved in studies regarding effective solutions for osteoarthritis of the base of the thumb (in collaboration with the St Antonius Hospital).

Recent publications

Concurrent de novo ZFHX4 variant and 16q24.1 deletion in a patient with orofacial clefting; a potential role of ZFHX4 and USP10 Marijn Créton, Frank Wagener, Maarten Massink, Willem Fennis, Marjon Bloemen, Jan Schols, Miranda Aarts, Aebele Mink van der Molen, Gijs van Haaften, Marie José van den Boogaard
American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A, 2023, vol. 191, p.1083-1088
The BAPRAS screening tool for reimbursement in a postbariatric population V M Monpellier, C E E de Vries, I M C Janssen, E S J van der Beek, A B Mink van der Molen, M M Hoogbergen, B van der Lei
Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, 2020, vol. 73, p.1159-1165
Incidence of complications in secondary alveolar bone grafting of bilateral clefts with premaxillary osteotomy Gerhard K P Bittermann, Robert J J van Es, Adrianus P de Ruiter, Michael H Frank, Arnold J N Bittermann, Aebele B Mink van der Molen, Ron Koole, Antoine J W P Rosenberg
Clinical Oral Investigations, 2020, vol. 24, p.915-925
Incidence of cleft-related speech problems in children with an isolated cleft lip B J A Smarius, S Haverkamp, H de Wilde, A van Wijck-Warnaar, A B Mink van der Molen, C C Breugem
Clinical Oral Investigations, 2020, vol. 25, p.823-831
Body Image as a Potential Motivator for Bariatric Surgery D J S Makarawung, V M Monpellier, F van den Brink, L Woertman, H Zijlstra, A B Mink van der Molen, B van Ramshorst, R Geenen
Obesity Surgery, 2020, vol. 30, p.3768-3775
Body Contouring Surgery after Massive Weight Loss: Excess Skin, Body Satisfaction, and Qualification for Reimbursement in a Dutch Post-Bariatric Surgery Population Valerie M Monpellier, Evangelia E Antoniou, Sandra Mulkens, Ignace M C Janssen, Anita T M Jansen, Aebele B Mink van der Molen
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 2019, vol. 143, p.1353-1360

External positions

Member of the board, Stichting Sumbing Bibir (

Chairman of workstream Cleft of ERN-Cranio, ERN

Chairman council of plastic surgery training / trainers, Dutch Society for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (NVPC)