Dr Rohit Kumar from Sydney Cosmetic Sanctuary specialises in breast and body surgery, in particular Breast Augmentation, Abdominoplasty and Mummy Makeovers. Sydney Cosmetic Sanctuary also offer Cosmetic Dentistry (this is a great first in the industry!) and non-surgical treatments at their Medispa such as anti-wrinkle injections and fillers, medi-facials, skin needling and Coolsculpting. As well as being one of Sydney’s more experienced Plastic Surgeons, Dr Kumar is a super nice guy and we were able to catch up with him for a chat to get an insight into what makes him tick.
PSH: Your hobbies?
Dr Kumar: Spending as much time with my two kids as possible. Usually making Star Wars Lego with my son and being directed by my daughter to braid her hair into yet another “ponytail”. My wife runs triathlons and is a bit of a fitness fanatic and she has slowly yet successfully dragged me into cycling and running. I’m a bit of a nerd and enjoy almost any good sci-fi flick, something I’m hoping I’ll pass on to my kids. I also enjoy motor racing and for ten years I was the track doctor for the Gold Coast Indy 300. I sat in the medical chase car and we were the first to respond if there had been an accident. Being on a racetrack at over 200kph is quite a rush!
PSH: What is something unique about you?
Dr Kumar: I bought a Rubiks cube when I was in grade 8, I still have it and I still haven’t solved it!! Solving it is well and truly on my bucket list!
PSH: Where did you grow up?
Dr Kumar: I was born in Fiji and had the luxury of an island life upbringing. It probably explains my relaxed outlook to life in general. I then moved to Vancouver, Canada where I went to primary and high school and then finally to Australia.
PSH: Where did you study?
Dr Kumar: High School was a mix of Canada, Melbourne and the Gold Coast while I went to Medical School at the University of Queensland. I did my internship at the royal Brisbane Hospital. I originally trained as a General Surgeon before being accepted into the plastic surgical training program. All my plastic surgical training has been done in Sydney and along the way, I managed to pick up a Masters Degree in surgery as well.
PSH: What inspired you to be a surgeon?
Dr Kumar: My very first term as an intern was in the Paediatric Burns unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane. I worked with Professor Stuart Pegg who is an internationally renowned Burns surgeon and he was my inspiration to become a surgeon. I saw how he treated burns victims with incredible skill and despite the harrowing circumstances he never lost his sense of humour. He could always make his patients laugh with his dry wit and I found myself emulating him. He supported me when I told him I wanted to pursue a career in surgery and kept pushing me to excel.
PSH: When did you first start practicing as a plastic surgeon?
Dr Kumar: After my internship in 1996, I spent many years working in a variety of hospitals training in general surgery and doing as many terms in plastic surgery as I could. I started practicing as a qualified plastic surgeon in 2013 having had around 15 years of surgical experience by then. I opened my own practice, Sydney Cosmetic Sanctuary in 2015.
PSH: What’s been your most interesting experience with a plastic surgery procedure?
Dr Kumar: As a junior doctor I had the rare honour of being part of the team that was involved in the separation of conjoined twins who were joined at the skull. While I personally didn’t do the operation, there was an incredible sense of achievement in being part of a team that had achieved a world first. I saw first hand how everyone worked together to get a result in what was extremely complex surgery involving plastic surgeons, neurosurgeons, anaesthetists, paediatricians to name but a few. I enjoyed first hand the camaraderie and the efforts of a multi-disciplinary team. It cemented my desire to become a plastic surgeon.
PSH: What has been your biggest career milestone to date?
Dr Kumar: I was involved in the treating and caring for the Bali Burns victims and instigated the utilisation of ice-vests in the burns theatre at the Royal Brisbane Hospital. I knew how exhausting and dehydrating operating in the burns theatre would be particularly day in, day out so I hit upon the idea of using ice-vests like the AFL players do in summer training. I made a call to the Brisbane Lions footy team and they were willing to help and brought in their ice vests for us to use. The vest made a real difference to the surgeons and allowed us to work for longer in the heated operating theatres without getting exhausted. Since then, ice-vests have become a permanent fixture in the Burns theatre at the Royal Brisbane hospital, something I’m very proud of.
PSH: You perform many different cosmetic surgery procedures, which is your favourite and why?
Dr Kumar: I am very lucky to have worked with some of the world leaders in breast augmentation and abdominoplasty surgery and so it seemed natural that my favourite procedure to do is the colloquially termed “mummy makeover”. This usually involves an abdominoplasty and some form of rejuvenation of the breasts. Most women who come to see me for this procedure have had their children and have been fairly motivated in going back to the gym or getting themselves to their pre-pregnancy figure. Breast feeding however, can take a toll and excess skin in the abdomen may never quite go back to normal. I enjoy giving these patients their confidence back. The confidence to wear a bikini at the beach or the ball gown they thought they’d never get into. I get great satisfaction in helping my patients achieve what in essence is a return to what they used to be and occasionally a little bit more. For many mums this can be a lifestyle changing procedure.
PSH: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Dr Kumar: I enjoy seeing the transformation that my patients achieve after their surgery. Not the obvious physical one but the emotional one. To have a patient tell you that you have changed their life or that they now have the confidence to do things they didn’t think possible is a great feeling.
PSH: What advice would you give someone looking to undergo major cosmetic surgery?
Dr Kumar: Do your research! This is a message that is reiterated by most plastic surgeons. Cosmetic surgery is like any other surgery and carries risks that can be quite severe. Not all surgeons who perform cosmetic surgery are qualified plastic surgeons. Our current legislation means that anyone can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon or even “plastic surgeon” without necessarily having the proper credentials or training. Check with the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons to ensure that your surgeon is accredited. Unfortunately, some plastic surgical procedures are being treated more as commodities rather than serious operations. This has led to patients making judgements based on price and often this means that they have opted to have their surgery performed overseas or in unaccredited facilities. Ask yourself, if you needed a heart transplant would you go to the cheapest surgeon? There should be no difference in your mindset when it comes to thinking about cosmetic surgery.
PSH: What advice would you give a minor under the age of 18 and looking to undergo cosmetic surgery?
Dr Kumar: The first and most crucial question to ask is why the person is considering it in the first place. Cosmetic surgery requires a patient to have a level of emotional and physical maturity in making the decision to go under the knife. Unfortunately today, our youth are bombarded daily with what they come to believe is the norm or expectation of beauty. It becomes difficult to differentiate the reality TV Khardashian from everyday people. Social media is all pervasive and with it comes a glamourisation and occasionally trivialisation of cosmetic surgical procedures. It is important for everyone to realise that all forms of cosmetic surgery comes with risk and that the results in the majority of cases are permanent. While there can be justifiable circumstances where a young person may need cosmetic surgery, the majority do not. So my advice to anyone under 18 is to go out enjoy life and grow and mature into the person you will become as an adult. If there is something that is particularly bothersome to you that you feel surgery is the only option then speak to your family and get their advice. Don’t rush into anything and revisit the situation as you get older and have had more time to think about it and your body has had time to reach physical maturity. If the issue still concerns you then by all means see a plastic surgeon to see if they can help but these decisions are not to be made lightly and need to be done with ample research, thought and support.
PSH: Do you provide support for patients after surgery?
Dr Kumar: My standard post op reviews are at: 1 week, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year after surgery. My patients are able to contact me at anytime after their surgery and all follow up for one year is included in the surgical fees. Most of my patients at Sydney Cosmetic Sanctuary will receive a complimentary package that we call “The Sanctuary Experience” This is designed to allow our patients to have maximal benefit from the procedure they have undergone. Included in the package is a consult with our cosmetic dentist and teeth whitening. Joh Bailey, celebrity hairstylist in Double Bay gives our patients a complimentary haircut and blow-dry after surgery to help frame their new face or figure. One of the biggest issues patients face after surgery is that they need to go shopping for new clothes as their old ones just don’t fit or they now have a greater choice available to them. We provide a style and image consultant for our patients who will work with our patients to help design and chose a wardrobe that best suits their new figure. Patients also get to experience complimentary treatments at our medispa. This is a truly unique service in Australia and allows my patients to enjoy the benefits of their surgery beyond their usual recovery period.
Wow! I’m sure you’ll agree that not only are you going to be looked after before, during and after surgery, you’re also setting yourself up for the best outcome by choosing Dr Rohit Kumar and his team at Sydney Cosmetic Sanctuary in Leichhardt, Sydney NSW. I’m getting in line now!