dr. ir. J.K.K. Popken

dr. ir. J.K.K. Popken

Full Professor
dr. ir. J.K.K. Popken
  • Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery



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).

Side Activities

  • Chairman of workstream Cleft of ERN-Cranio; ERN; 2020 - 
  • Chairman council of plastic surgery training / trainers; Dutch Society for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (NVPC); 01/06/2019 - 

Research Output (86)

Incidence of cleft-related speech problems in children with an isolated cleft lip

Smarius B J A, Haverkamp S, de Wilde H, van Wijck-Warnaar A, Mink van der Molen A B, Breugem C C 4 Jun 2020, In: Clinical Oral Investigations. 25 , p. 823-831 9 p.

The BAPRAS screening tool for reimbursement in a postbariatric population

Monpellier V M, de Vries C E E, Janssen I M C, van der Beek E S J, Mink van der Molen A B, Hoogbergen M M, van der Lei B Jun 2020, In: Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery. 73 , p. 1159-1165 7 p.

Body Image as a Potential Motivator for Bariatric Surgery:a Case-Control Study

Makarawung D J S, Monpellier V M, van den Brink F, Woertman L, Zijlstra H, Mink van der Molen A B, van Ramshorst B, Geenen R 25 May 2020, In: Obesity Surgery. 30 , p. 3768-3775 8 p.

Incidence of complications in secondary alveolar bone grafting of bilateral clefts with premaxillary osteotomy:a retrospective cohort study

Bittermann Gerhard K P, van Es Robert J J, de Ruiter Adrianus P, Frank Michael H, Bittermann Arnold J N, van der Molen Aebele B Mink, Koole Ron, Rosenberg Antoine J W P Feb 2020, In: Clinical Oral Investigations. 24 , p. 915-925 11 p.

Body Contouring Surgery after Massive Weight Loss: Excess Skin, Body Satisfaction, and Qualification for Reimbursement in a Dutch Post-Bariatric Surgery Population:Excess Skin, Body Satisfaction, and Qualification for Reimbursement in a Dutch Post-Bariatric Surgery Population

Monpellier Valerie M, Antoniou Evangelia E, Mulkens Sandra, Janssen Ignace M C, Jansen Anita T M, Mink van der Molen Aebele B 13 Feb 2019, In: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 143 , p. 1353-1360 8 p.

Midfacial growth and dental arch relationships in bilateral cleft palate following secondary alveolar bone grafting and orthodontic intervention: Factors predicting a Le Fort I osteotomy at age 18

Bittermann Gerhard K.P., de Ruiter Adrianus P., Bittermann Arnold JN, Mink van de Molen Aebele B., van Es Robert JJ, Koole Ron, Rosenberg Antoine JWP 1 Oct 2018, In: Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery. 46 , p. 1764-1771 8 p.

Heart rate variability as candidate endophenotype of social anxiety:A two-generation family study

Harrewijn A., Van der Molen M. J.W., Verkuil B., Sweijen S. W., Houwing-Duistermaat J. J., Westenberg P. M. 1 Sep 2018, In: Journal of Affective Disorders. 237 , p. 47-55 9 p.


de Vries C., van den Berg L., Monpellier V., Hoogbergen M., Van der Molen A. M., de Castro S., Van der Lei B. Sep 2018, In: Obesity Surgery. 28 , p. 332-332


de Vries C., van den Berg L., Makarawung D., Nienhuijs S., Hoogbergen M., Monpellier V., de Raaff C., Poulsen L., van Veen R., van der Molen A. M., van Wagensveld B. Sep 2018, In: Obesity Surgery. 28 , p. 50-50

Internationally adopted children with cleft lip and/or cleft palate:Middle ear findings and hearing during childhood

Werker C. L., van den Aardweg M. T.A., Coenraad S., Mink van der Molen A. B., Breugem C. C. 1 Aug 2018, In: International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. 111 , p. 47-53 7 p.

All research output

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