We loved hearing you present at the AAPS Workshop held in February in Melbourne. My favourite quote from the workshop was said by you, “With a stable foundation, it’s a lot easier to build the next story.” Can you briefly explain what you mean by this?
From a surgical point of view, there are often multiple stages involved in a procedure. It’s better to get one stage correct and to let it settle and stabilise before beginning with the second process and the third. For example, if a patient is undergoing a breast lift and breast augmentation, it can be advisable to complete one procedure and to let the body stabilise before continuing with the second. With surgical experience though, these stages can be combined.
From a recovery point of view as well though, it’s also important to ensure that the patient is stable and is comfortable with the process before proceeding with further stages.
Regarding the relatively new 3D imaging technology used with breast augmentations, which gives patients the ability to ‘preview’ their desired outcome before they undergo their procedure – Do you think this technology is a useful tool and if so, can you tell us why?
I think this technology is an extremely important tool, but it’s only one part of the overall tool kit. Computers are amazing, but they still have to guess. Computers produce a useful guideline of possible expectations, but the real life results depend on a number of factors. For breast augmentations, it’s helpful to use a computer in order to help select the appropriate size, but what’s ultimately realistic will also depend on the shape of the breast. Where the breast might be droopy, the computer has to guess what is going on behind, which it can’t accurately do. Images produced by computers are not always totally realistic and can’t necessarily be safely achieved in surgery. Appropriate clinical examination and surgical experience are still required to provide this insight and to set realistic expectations.
You obviously have a lot of satisfied clients – in fact, you keep a whole stack of thank you letters in your waiting room. Why is it important for people to do their homework when they are looking at undergoing a plastic or cosmetic surgery procedure?
Like many things in life, particularly surgical procedures, the best time to get things right is the first time. We believe the right patient should have the right surgery, performed by the right surgeon at the right time for the right reasons. You need to make sure your surgeon is qualified and experienced in your procedure and that you feel comfortable and confident in them. The mark of a professional is preparation; the more preparation you do, the more likely you are to get what you want.
You worked in Switzerland and America for a quite a few years before returning to be based in Australia. How does Australia compare with Europe in attitudes towards plastic surgery, particularly breast augmentation/ enhancement?
It’s been 20 years since I spent time working in Britain and America, so I can’t really comment on current attitudes and methods in those countries. I think in Australia we’re very progressive and advanced in our thinking. We all learn from each other. In America until very recently, you were only able to use saline implants. On the whole I think plastic surgery has become more widely accepted and discussed openly, which is definitely a positive.
Tell us something about yourself that few people would know!
This is maybe not the type of answer you’re expecting here, but my greatest interests are being a plastic surgeon and being with my family, so I divide my time between the two. These two roles don’t leave a lot of time for anything else.
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