UT Southwestern Frisco

Specialist spotlight: Paging Dr. Abier Abdelnaby

12500 Dallas Parkway
Frisco, Texas 75033 Directions
469-604-9000

Dr. Abier Abdelnaby
Abier Abdelnaby, M.D., has been a Plano resident for 13 years and is excited about coming home to treat patients in the Frisco area.

If the stuffed Fleet enema on her desk isn’t a dead giveaway, the “cheeky” pencil holder is: We’re in the office/inner sanctum of Dr. Abier Abdelnaby, colon and rectal surgeon at UT Southwestern and soon-to-be full time UT Southwestern Frisco physician.

After a healthy but late lunch, she took a few moments to tell us about her amazing journey from Egypt to New Jersey to L.A. to the Department of Surgery at UT Southwestern

She also professed her fascination with the GI tract and talked about how she puts patients at ease with sensitive topics like colonoscopy prep.

Where did you grow up? 

I’m a Jersey girl, but I was born in Egypt.

“My parents left after the 1967 war – immigration was a lot easier then. My mother went back to give birth to me and my two brothers. She wanted us to be citizens of the world. I grew up in New Jersey, but I’ve pretty much lost all of my accent.

What were you like as a kid? 

I was a science geek and an eager-to-please middle child.

“I had two interests: anatomy and writing. My parents said, ‘stick with the body.’ So I did.”

Describe your path to becoming a doctor.

Undergrad at Cornell, med school and surgical residency at Howard College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., then a colon and rectal surgery fellowship at USC in Los Angeles.

“After Cornell, I spent a year in investment banking, working in the shadow of the Twin Towers. It was great for a minute, but medicine called me back. Surgery was my last rotation, and it was supposedly the most grueling, but I absolutely fell in love with the attention to detail and the precision that was required. I like to fix things.”

What is your specialty, and what drew you to it? 

GI/endocrine surgery, with a focus on colon and rectal cancer.

“I became fascinated by internal medicine in med school and the GI tract, in particular. It is the common denominator of just about everything we do. It is an amazing system – one big happy factory, where every worker (the stomach, the intestines, etc.) does their part. We tend to take it for granted and think of it as one big blob. But I’ve always been fascinated by the GI tract in all of its glory.” 

How long have you worked at UT Southwestern?

13 years.

“Every day is a different challenge, literally. But I really enjoy what I do. I enjoy working for this institution, and I love the field of colon and rectal surgery.”

Making a world of difference

Dr. Abier Abdelnaby is a colon and rectal surgeon who makes patient care and comfort her top priority.  She has worked at UT Southwestern for 13 years, and combines surgical skill with compassion, always making herself available to patients and their families. "When you can find a cure for them, it can really change their lives."

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You perform 700 colonoscopies per year. Is it fair to say you’re a crusader for colonoscopy? 

Yes.

“I can’t emphasize enough the significance of what colonoscopy can do for a person, a family and even society. It’s more than just something you have to do when it’s time to do it – it saves lives. It can detect malignancies and polyps harboring malignancies. When we remove those, we have just added life to that patient.”

What do you tell patients who are reluctant to get a colonoscopy? 

Most of the apprehension has to do with the prep.

Abdelnaby desk
Friends and patients often give Dr. Abdelnaby gifts related to her specialty.

“Once upon a time, patients would have to drink a prep liquid that tasted terrible and made some people vomit. Now the prep tastes much better, it doesn’t cause pain and it works. After the procedure, a lot of people come back and say, “Hey, that really wasn’t that bad!” 

How do you make patients comfortable with a sensitive topic? 

As you can see from my office, I believe humor takes the edge off. 

“I may crack a joke or two to ease the tension. I also look at things not just from a scientific standpoint, but also from an emotional, spiritual, and personal perspective. I imagine myself as the patient, and consider how I would want to be treated. I think that makes a world of difference.”  

Dr. Abdelnaby in Africa
Dr. Abier Abdelnaby on her most recent trip to Africa with Physicians for Peace.

You’re a Physician for Peace. Tell us about that.

I take three to five trips a year to underserved countries and work with refugees, particularly in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. 

“I just got back from Mexico. It’s very gratifying when we can help people develop a sustainable model for care and provide the little things that allow them to better care for their families. It also makes me more culturally sensitive to patients from all different backgrounds. Traveling the world is a way to give back, but it also provides perspective and makes me feel thankful for what we have here.”

What does your family think about your job and your world travels? 

I’m a single mom of a 16-year-old daughter. Sometimes, she thinks I’m a little crazy. 

"And when she was younger, she would occasionally get angry that I was gone. But as she’s gotten older, she has told me that she definitely admires what I do.”

How do you feel about moving to UT Southwestern Frisco? 

I’m very excited about it.

“I’ve been a Plano resident for 13 years. The whole area is exploding, and it’s nice to see. It’s a diverse population, and the people there do their research about finding the best care. I’m looking forward to serving my neighbors and getting them easy access to the best care. … Also, I won’t miss that commute into downtown Dallas!”

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Abier Abdelnaby, M.D.

Abier Abdelnaby, M.D.

  • Surgery
  • Gastrointestinal Cancers
  • Screening for Colorectal Cancer

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