Dr Moore is well-known and respected by his patients and peers alike. He does some amazing work both here in Australia; and in East Timor and Indonesia for a charity with which he and a group of like-minded surgeons from various parts of Australia are involved.
Just recently I had the pleasure of meeting up with Dr Mark Moore at the Calvary Hospital in Adelaide for an interview. From the moment I entered his office I felt this was not like the usual plastic surgeon’s office that I have attended.
Dr Moore calls himself privileged in that the work he gets to do here in Australia allows him to do what he does overseas. He speaks about wanting to find that balance where he is able to assist those living in the poorest regions of countries that are our closest neighbours. Dr Moore travels to Indonesia and East Timor for at least 3 or 4 weeks a year and has being doing it for long enough that he is able to see patients 10 to 15 years down the track; where once they may have had faces so badly wounded, but after surgery were able to live a normal life and were now married with children. Dr Moore obviously sees these patients as an extended family and I could see he really cares about the work he does in these places.
One of the issues he and his colleagues face in these poorer countries is whether or not they can actually perform the operations they need to perform where they don’t have access to all the things they do in Australia and other more developed countries. They have to identify if what they need to do can be done where they are, or if they need to find the mechanisms to get to Australia or elsewhere. It is the sort of work not everyone is cut out for, but Dr Moore obviously sees it as an essential part of finding that balance in his life.
Over the years Dr Moore has been travelling to these countries he has been able to choose various colleagues to go with him, and says he is lucky in that he has always has the right person with him. He says a lot of the anesthetists he travels with often want to go back to do it again and again, as the work over there is certainly varied as opposed to the often mundane world of an anesthetist here in Australia; and they enjoy the challenge.
I ask Dr Moore if the guidelines in these countries are a little different, and does this mean you can “spread your wings” and be a little more adventurous? Dr Moore agrees and says, “…we live in another world over here where there are so many safety nets, whereas we talk about that over there, there are no safety nets. In Australia we have the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and access to so many back-ups, such as ventilators if the patient stops breathing; over there if there are issues you have to do what you can do to keep the patient alive. I am lucky in that I have only seen one death, but I have heard of others where you could clearly see the reasons why it occurred. It’s harder to predict.”
The name of the charity Dr Moore is involved in is Overseas Specialist Surgical Association of Australia Inc. (OSSAA). This charity has performed over 4,000 free operations and given over 10,000 consultations to improve people’s lives. They focus on those with burns, cleft palates, congenital defects, leprosy, disease and trauma. They survive on extremely small operating costs and yet provide the most amazing service to local people in the poorest regions of their country that would never have access to such opportunities otherwise. We here at the Plastic Surgery Hub encourage any of you that are in a position to do so to donate or contribute where possible to this heartfelt cause. It is the side of plastic surgery that we too often forget about.
Dr Moore is one of the busiest surgeons in Australia, with wait times for up to 3 months for a consultation, then another few months wait for surgery, and he doesn’t even have a website. In today’s age of internet based searching and advertising, most of Dr Moore’s advertising is done via word of mouth and social media by previous patients. I asked Dr Moore what he thought his point of difference is.
Dr Moore says that at 57 years old he comes from the old world where he believes the best referrals are those that come from your mother or aunt, sister or cousin. He laughs that the best advertisement or PR is to do a hairdresser because while it may not be so much nowadays, it used to be that ladies sit and tell their hairdresser all about it, or their hairdresser chats to you about what they’ve had done while they are doing your hair! “So it’s the idea that the slightly old fashioned referral works the best. I fear the internet referrals to be honest because you can’t control that in the same way, even though I guess it’s a bit similar to what happens in the hairdressing salon – it’s great if it’s going well…”
Dr Moore and I discussed how social media is often a source of misinformation or place where many people, especially the younger generations, feel the need to take “selfies” straight after surgery, naming the surgeon and hospital, etc. so it is there for everyone to see, without any context, background or history on the poster or the circumstances surrounding the photo they’ve posted. We discussed how some people want their 15 minutes of fame but it can have other lifelong effects. Dr Moore says, “How surgeons modulate that is an interesting challenge for the profession. I haven’t actually addressed it at this point”.
When I ask Dr Moore how he achieves his fantastic results – it is said he leaves less noticeable scarring and marks after surgery than other surgeons, which is another reason why he so popular – he is typically modest and says it is simply because he surrounds himself with an amazing team. Dr Moore insists that it is because of having terrific staff that he is able to achieve quality results. On top of this, he watches and learns from other quality surgeons and having done what he does for many years, over the course of a long period of time has obviously honed down his skills!
Dr Moore also suggests that he prefers to use sutures instead of staples when stitching up any cuts made as part of the procedure. He suggests that in the majority of cases, except with full face lifts, using sutures gives a much softer scarring that what might result from staples.
I certainly walked out of the office of Dr Mark Moore feeling as though I had met one of the loveliest, most generous people in the world of plastic surgery who was not just in it for the money. It is something he loves doing, and does it because he enjoys helping people to feel good about themselves. This in itself is another reason why he doesn’t have to be any good at marketing – just doing what he does is more than enough.