I was born in Leicester, one of the rural ‘shire’ counties of England and a quite beautiful place. It was recently made famous not only by the discovery and reburial of King Richard III, the last English King to have died in battle, but also underdogs Leicester City Football club winning the English Premier League. I was educated locally at Loughborough Grammar School, which in 1995 celebrated its quincentenary, before I went on to graduate in Medicine from Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1994.
I am fortunate to have undergone my formative training by some of the world’s surgical giants. The first, who sparked my fascination with anatomy and plastic and reconstructive surgery is a famous London Plastic Surgeon, Professor Gus McGrouther. Under his supervision as an undergraduate, I undertook facial anatomical research that led to me being awarded the Conrad Lewin Prize from the British Association of Clinical Anatomists and subsequently the Denis Dooley Prize in Clinical Anatomy from the University of Cambridge. I was informed that I was the first medical student in the history of the University to have won it. I then travelled to New Zealand where I spent a wonderful plastic surgical elective period in Wellington.
My surgical training commenced in Cambridge under the second, Professor Sir Roy Calne. Having taught anatomy to undergraduate medical students of Downing College and across the University of Cambridge, I then moved to London where at St George’s Hospital, I learned of John Hunter – a fascinating man who developed a fearsome reputation not only as the father of modern scientific surgery but also as a man intolerant of fools. At St George’s, I was observed as having the ability to operate and was rapidly encouraged to follow a cardiothoracic surgical career. As an irresistible opportunity for a young enthusiastic surgeon, I therefore moved to the Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea where I was taken under the wing of the third giant, Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, world famous heart surgeon. He encouraged me to join him at Harefield Hospital, where I undertook fascinating clinical research into the reversal of heart failure. Sir Magdi not only taught me a great deal of surgical expertise, but also valuable lessons about life. I was enormously privileged to have worked with him and my work under his tutelage led to me being awarded not only a Doctorate of Medicine from Imperial College London but also a Hunterian Professorship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England before the age of forty. 2017 marks the 10-year anniversary of my award.
I have learned that hard work and dedication has a curious way of guiding providence. Notwithstanding my success in cardiothoracic surgery, I recognised with increasing maturity that my first love in surgery remained plastic and reconstructive surgery. The patient, careful thought, clever solutions and technical expertise required, fascinated and appealed to me. I therefore relinquished my cardiothoracic training scheme position in which I had learned so much and took a leap of faith to compete once again for a specialist training position this time in plastic and reconstructive surgery. I was advised that I was ranked first equal of all applicants across London and as such was offered the opportunity to train at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead. One of the founding units of modern plastic surgery, the proud heritage of this dedicated hospital followed Sir Archibald McIndoe’s practice, leadership and humanitarian approach as one of ‘The Great Four’ Plastic Surgeons. He treated burned airmen during the second world war and his work led to the formation of the world famous ‘Guinea Pig Club’. During my training, I had on occasion the privilege to meet some of the ‘few’, the last brave remaining members of the club.
I went on to complete my training in some of the world’s other most historic premier centres of plastic and reconstructive surgical excellence in England. I became a Specialist Plastic Surgical Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and was entered onto the Specialist Register. I was fortunate to gain post-fellowship experience with the fourth, Mr Adam Searle, at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London. Mr Searle, as a past President of both the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons and Plastic Surgery Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, not only taught me an enormous amount regarding plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery but also a gentle, kind perspective on life.
Having developed a passion for both aesthetic plastic surgery and difficult reconstructive microsurgery, I moved to Melbourne in 2011 to develop my experience further. Initially, I was warmly welcomed by Australian plastic surgical colleagues and enjoyed a wonderful year in the city. I was invited to stay, but the depth of my training, experience and background rapidly appeared to make some Plastic Surgical Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) feel very threatened. The necessity for me to bring a libel action in the Supreme Court of Victoria against 15 Plastic Surgeons of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, all Fellows of RACS, was unprecedented. Whilst the action was settled on terms satisfactory to me, many other aspects remain yet to be revealed. Preliminary events can be read at http://northeastplasticsurgery.com.au/articles/mr-patrick-tansley-supreme-court-libel-action-melbourne/ and http://www.smh.com.au/national/australian-surgeons-accused-of-cartel-behaviour-to-control-fees-20160922-grm5rh.html
My strong personal interest in anatomy, aesthetic and academic surgery and in context of having been made an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Surgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne, I became actively involved in training medical undergraduates. I also became an Honorary Associate Specialist Surgeon in the Department of General Surgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital. Developing further my passion for training others in aesthetic surgery, in 2014 I became a Fellow of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery (ACCS), then a Councillor and now serve on the Executive as Censor in Chief. In this role I oversee the training and qualification of trainees in aesthetic surgery. The ACCS is the only surgical College in Australia to offer a dedicated training program in aesthetic surgery.
In 2015 I co-founded NorthEast Plastic Surgery in Melbourne with my Associate Dr Sugitha Seneviratne FRACS (Plast). NorthEast Plastic Surgery has since expanded to Brisbane and operates across Victoria and Queensland. I consider it a further example of providence to have found such a colleague with whom I share such a similar background, both of us having lived, studied and worked internationally. This breadth of professional and personal experience and perspective has provided us with our guiding principles in regard to ethical surgical practice, cost profiles of the surgical procedures we perform, commitment to teaching and training future surgeons and a strong sense of due process and fairness.
My advice to anyone considering cosmetic surgery is in the first instance to establish clear objectives of the desired outcome. Several consultations should be undertaken not only to establish a comfortable relationship with your surgeon but also to satisfy yourself of their background, training, experience and technical ability in cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgical training may not necessarily include cosmetic surgical training and you should always ask your plastic surgeon about their credentials and experience. It is also important to establish how your surgeon operates – will you be just ‘a number’ on an operating list of multiple patients or does your surgeon proactively limit the operations on any one operating list to ensure you receive the best possible surgery from a fresh mind and body? Finally, ask about the degree of aftercare offered and guarantee that you will be looked after should any revisional surgery be necessary.
My special interest and focus is the clinical practice of aesthetic facial and breast surgery. In 2013 I was awarded a Master of Science in Aesthetic Surgery degree with Distinction from the University of London. This is a rare international qualification, to my knowledge not held by any other surgeon in Australia. My thesis in facelift surgery was undertaken with Dr Bryan Mendelson in Melbourne, world renowned facial aesthetic surgeon.
The breast surgery I undertake comprises augmentations (implants), reductions and mastopexies (lifts) as these operations have such an intimate affect on a woman’s self-esteem and confidence. I use P-oly-URE-thane (P-URE) breast implants which have the best safety profile of all implants in relation to capsular contracture, the commonest complication of breast augmentation. Increasingly, I address complex surgical problems of patients who have developed problems after having undergone breast surgery both within Australia and overseas. I derive great professional satisfaction from the entire treatment process, the most rewarding part of which is having the privilege of addressing an issue that concerns a woman to her satisfaction.
Whilst ‘spare time’ tends to be at a premium for me, I enjoy spending the little I have training the NorthEast Plastic Surgery poodles, Samson and Delilah, who are a great source of fun and relaxation! They are intelligent free-thinkers, quick to learn and full of character. I also enjoy travelling as much as I can, spend time with family and follow Formula 1 racing for its speed, historic circuits and above all, technical precision.
The NorthEast Plastic Surgery philosophy is that our patients are cared for with utmost professionalism from the first time they make contact with our Reception Staff to their final consultation with the Surgeon at the end of their treatment journey. To effect this, we have dedicated Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Nurses who, together with the Surgeons, provide post-operative surgical care. NorthEast Plastic Surgery also have dedicated Cosmetic Surgery Co-Ordinators who provide administrative support for patients before and after surgery.
Our practice is unique in that we offer the expertise and experience of both British and Australian qualified male and female Surgeons who work collaboratively to benefit our patients. All assessments and surgical planning are bespoke and undertaken by the Surgeons themselves, rather than by ‘nurse consultations’. We also offer consultation sessions on Saturdays to cater for patients who find it more convenient to attend outside business hours. Discreet private entrances are available upon request.
If you’d like to arrange a consult with Dr Tansley or find out more about NorthEast Plastic Surgery give them a call on 03 9088 5000 (Melbourne) or 07 3180 3400 (Brisbane).