The word ‘plastic’ is derived from a Greek word meaning to mould or shape. How a person looks has a major impact on how they feel about themselves. If a person does not feel ‘normal’, their confidence is impacted, limiting their interaction with other people.
For thousands of years, plastic surgical techniques have been used to correct or restore the appearance of people afflicted by trauma, disease or congenital malformations. As part of their training, modern day plastic surgeons are immersed in these techniques. Consequently, restoring people back to how they used to be, with minimal scaring or deformity, is a foundational hallmark of every fully trained plastic surgeon.
Since I commenced practice 25 years ago, the applications of plastic surgery have expanded dramatically. As well as correcting deformity, plastic surgery has become widely accepted as a means of rejuvenation and augmentation. This has come about because women are more financially independent and consequently have more choice than at any time in history. Coupled with this is an obsession with image, spearheaded by celebrities with their ‘perfect’ photographs adorning magazines and social media. Given that at any moment of the day, our own personal image can be posted, with or without our consent, for millions to see, has many of us reflecting on how we would like to be seen.
THE UNSPOKEN FEELINGS
When women, particularly mothers, come to see a plastic surgeon, they often have two overwhelming feelings: fear and guilt. Firstly, they are terrified of dying under anaesthetic. That is true of most people undergoing a general anaesthetic however for a mum, she is worried about who will look after her children if she doesn’t make it through. Further to that she is making a choice to have the operation. She is putting herself at risk and for this she feels guilty. The guilt is compounded because perhaps for the first time she is putting herself first, rather than the family. She could be spending the money on school fees, or the mortgage, or a family holiday and yet she is choosing to spend money on herself.
The above is true for most mums who have the courage to visit a plastic surgeon. My reassurance to them is that they will come through the anaesthetic. I have never lost anybody with an anaesthetic and I only work with high quality anaesthetists, so the chances of something going wrong are remote. Secondly, when the operation is successful and they get what they want, they will feel more confident, feminine and sexy. The biggest beneficiary is their partner, closely followed by the children. When a mum is more confident and feminine, this is felt by the children who can tell there is something different and more solid with mum.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The common theme with plastic and cosmetic procedures is that they make a difference in how a person feels about themselves. For a woman in particular, this confidence flows out to those around them. It is why I love what I do. I make a difference in one person and this flows out to many others.
Bachelor of Science 1975 Monash University
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery 1979 Monash University
Masters of Surgery 1995 Monash University
SURGICAL DEGREES & TRAINING
FRACS: The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons - Plastic and Reconstructive 1991
When I was a toddler I crawled up a stove and put both palms on the hotplate. This left me with full thickness burns on both palms and as I grew I was very self-conscious of them. When I was six mum took me to the local GP for an injection. I came away wanting to be a doctor. I was fascinated with books about doctors and the human body. When I was thirteen the scar on my right hand began to pull my fingers in and I was referred to a plastic surgeon. Under general anaesthetic, he released the burn scar contracture on my right hand using a skin graft. After he had removed my sutures, I decided I was ‘going to be like that man’.
Almost 25 years later I graduated as a Plastic Surgeon and became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS). I had attended Monash University and attained a Bachelor of Science (BSc), majoring in physiology and pharmacology, then achieved my basic medical degree, a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS).
I commenced my medical career at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, receiving a broad base of early surgical training in general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology and vascular surgery. However, plastic surgery was my passion and I trained for 2 years at the Victorian Plastic Surgical Unit at the Preston and Northcote Community Hospital learning from some of Australia’s finest plastic surgeons. The following two years was spent performing microsurgery on rats as part of a research project for which I was awarded a Masters of Surgery (MS). During this time I assisted three of Melbourne’s best plastic surgeons learning the nuances of cosmetic surgery. My final two years of training was spent in the UK, working at St Thomas’s Hospital, with Big Ben visible from the operating theatre and then at the Mt Vernon hospital just outside of London.
Returning to Australia in 1991, I commenced plastic surgical practice in the south-east of Melbourne. Initially this included the management of trauma and reconstructive work, however as the practice grew I became more focussed on the management of skin cancer and cosmetic surgery. After 16 years in private practice I moved to Singapore to work with a consulting, training and coaching company primarily focussed on developing leaders. During this time I developed my communication skills and in particular I learned to listen to people so I could genuinely understand what they wanted.
I returned to plastic surgery in 2013 a much wiser and compassionate human being with a renewed passion. I love what I do, consulting and operating in Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns and Rockhampton. To be trusted to perform a procedure that often transforms lives is one of the greatest privileges I can imagine.
Australian Society Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
Australasian Society Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS)
International Society Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS)
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)