Kortney Hightower didn’t set out to become a dermatologist. In fact, he never even planned to be a doctor.
But during his third year at Auburn University, where he was studying for a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, he interned in the field and had a change of heart. After adding some biolgy classes and graduating from Auburn in 1998, Hightower decided to go to medical school.
That decision would ultimately lead the Lakeland native to Sun City Center, where he recently opened a new practice in the Commonwealth Medical Plaza, 955 E. Del Webb Blvd., Suite 101.
Hightower, 37, said it wasn’t until his fourth year at the University of Alabama Medical School in Mobile that he knew what his specialty would be.
He took an elective in dermatology and spent time with speciality doctors in the field to find he was drawn to the hands-on nature of dealing with the skin and its diseases, including surgery, biopsies and an array of interesting rashes.
“There was a lot more to dermatology than I thought,” Hightower said. “I was amazed by what people could hide under their clothes.”
Such diversity makes the job interesting, he said.
Hightower received his medical degree in 2003 and did his residency at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Finishing in 2007 he spent the next two years at the Watson Clinic in Lakeland, and then joined Dr. Jerry Hedrick’s practice in Brandon. When the practice was sold July 31 he decided to open his own office in Sun City Center.
“I always thought I’d like to practice here,” he said. “I prefer seeing adults and dealing with their dermatological issues. I especially enjoy the surgery.”
The doctor specializes in general dermatology, blue-light therapy, dermatological surgery and Mohs surgery, a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer.
Hightower lives with his wife, Amy, in South Tampa. They have a 3-year-old son, Phillip, are expecting a family addition in January.
His staff includes front office coordinator Stephanie Kacer, medical assistant Naobi Lantigua and – for now – his wife, who is helping set up the practice until the new baby arrives.
Until the practice is established, Hightower is helping out at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Currently his office hours at his practice, which is golf cart accessible, are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Appointments are preferred but walk-ins are welcome. Medicare and all major medical insurance are accepted.
For an appointment or additional information, call (813) 634-1484.