I’m Michelle. I work at Plastic Surgeons Group, Cosmetic Surgery For Women. It’s passion. I love it. I love my job. I go every day thinking, “Who can I help today?” Because I was a patient before I worked there, before I came into this job. This was important to me. It’s changed my life and I really want to be able to help somebody else change their life.
Probably what I think makes it the most different is with seven plastic surgeons, we have ample experience. We have surgeons who have procedures named after them, we have surgeons who are fresh and new. We’ve got that full gambit. You get patient liaison who comes with you, so when you ring and I answer the call, you get all the information in an equal exchange. There’s no pressure. There’s no “You have to book today.” There’s no “When are you coming?”, “Pay your deposit.” It’s an exchange of information, so a lot of people ring up, they don’t have any idea about what they’re looking for even. “I need some help with my face. I don’t know what I need, but I need help.”
Then we talk to them about, “Well, what’s worrying you? What’s the areas of concern?” All of that, and because we’ve got time, we’re not receptionists, we’re not nurses, we’re not anything, just phone people – we can spend sometimes six minutes, 15 minutes, sometimes 25. I’ve spent as much as 45 minutes on the phone with a patient so that they’ve come and said, “Wow, you have given me more information in the time I’ve been on the phone with you than the surgeon that I saw last week.”
Like a support service, it’s like a pre-consult. People talk about one thing. They bring up about their nose, but they say, “Oh, but I also would like breast implants, or I’m not quite sure about my tummy. What should I do first?” We talk to them about the whole journey, the whole procedure, what’s going to happen, when are they going to come in, “Yes, you are going to have to take your clothes off. You’re going to have pictures taken.” A lot of people are surprised that those things are going to happen. They think they’ll see the surgeon and have the surgery, but you have to do all the other stuff that goes along with it.
I’m a friend. I’m a girl on the phone who’s had surgery herself. I’m a mum of three kids. I was a patient before I worked there, so I’ve really been on that journey that the patients have been on. I talk to people and say, “I’ve had an abdominoplasty.” “Have you really? Oh, tell me all about it, because I don’t know anyone who’s had one. What happened? How did you go with the kids…? What happened?” I tell them how I handled my journey. I’m not a nurse. I can’t give any medical advice. I’m not a doctor, but all I can share with them is what I’ve had happen and how I got through the tricky times when you can’t do the driving and you can’t do the picking up, that you’re going to need support. I think that’s probably what makes us really unique.
I think our surgeons are very personable. They’re all very friendly. They have great bedside manner. There’s no one rude. I get a lot of feedback from people, “I rang this doctor and he was just rude.” We treat you like we would treat one of our family. Craig (Rubinstein) says that all the time. We treat our patients how we would like our family treated and how we would like to be treated. We really do genuinely believe that.
It’s hard. We do this every day. We see it every day. We know this will heal. You will get better. But when this is your first foray into that, you have no idea. I have hundreds of people who call me every week, but for you, it’s your first call. You’re the first person. A lot of people try and say, “Now, I’m just getting information. I don’t want to make a booking. I just want information.” That’s fine. That’s my job. My job is to give you information. Then usually by the end of the conversation, they’ll say, “Oh wow, you’ve been so helpful. I really actually would like to make a booking,” because they’re worried that they’re going to get half “Nelsoned” into something that they weren’t interested in, so we try and welcome you. We have events once a month, so people can come if they’re not sure, get a feel for the practise, get a feel for who we are, for what we do, because having surgery changed my life… really, really changed my life. I firmly believe that and I think everybody’s entitled to that, if that’s what they want. If it’s not what they want, that’s okay too, but if it’s what you want, I don’t think anyone should deny you that.
We have Mr Craig Rubinstein. He specialises in breast and tummies for women; so breast lift, breast reduction, breast augmentation and abdominoplasty. We have Dr Douglas McManamny. He does everything and tends to probably specialise in face – rhinoplasty, face lift, neck lift, but he’s our specialist for tuberous breast, for people who have a little bit more asymmetry, a little more challenging. Dr Geoffrey Barnett, he does the transaxillary approach, so he’s our only surgeon does the implant through the armpit. That makes him special in that way. He does rhinoplasty. He does face lift, he does all body, but that one feature is really good.
Mr Richard Maxwell, he does massive weight loss, so he does breasts, he does tummies, but he also does … “I’ve lost 70 kilos, 100 kilos”… that tummy tuck is very different from the person who’s lost 15 kilos. Sometimes it’s a belt lipectomy. Sometimes it’s the whole thing that you need. We have Mr Tom Robbins, he’s at our Berwick rooms. He does breast lift. He does tummy tuck, a very nice rhinoplasty and a lovely face lift. He also has the Robbins technique for breast reduction named after him, so he invented that. That’s a great asset. We have Dr Rebecca Wyten. She’s just joined us. She does breast augmentation, abdominoplasty, breast reduction, breast lift, but she specialises in fat transfer – so fat transfer to breast, fat transfer to face… so that’s her little niche. Then we have Dr Benjamin Burt, and he’s oculoplastics, so he just does eyes and brow. Really great work, terrific.
We have a surgeons meeting. If there’s someone who comes in say to see Dr Rubinstein and he thinks, “I don’t know about this.” Often it’s not our work. It’s someone who’s wanting revisionary surgery and as you would know, revisionary surgery is A, very challenging and B, can be very expensive, so some things can’t be fixed either. All the surgeons would get together and we would invite that patient to come in and basically you’re having a round table with over 100 years of experience of what should be done. Sometimes, there is nothing that can be done – sometimes that’s the best course of action is to do nothing But very often, they’ll discuss it and say, “Look, we think this.” Then the surgeon who thinks they’ve got the solution, then they might go down that path with that patient. That’s a real feature.
Mostly, you come in post-surgery and nearly every clinic does that, day one, day seven, depending on what procedure. Then you would see the nurse. You’d get your postop bag that’s got a few gifts in it from the practise, a voucher for a procedure or a healite treatment, something nice to make you feel better after you’ve had surgery. Then they usually come back at eight weeks. We see them at six months and then again at 12 months and then we like to see everybody annually after that. Generally, people’s lives get busy and you’re right, if you don’t hear from them, it’s usually because they’re happy. But we do send reminders and to make sure that people are coming in, particularly for breast augmentation, because you have a device that requires looking after, and it’s important that you keep that up to date.
Yeah, Coco Ruby’s fantastic. It works in well with what the surgeons do, so if you are considering a facelift, you will want to make sure that your skin on your face was in its best possible condition before you have the face lift. We have Tara and Julia who are in our Coco Ruby. They do all of the skin treatments. They have dermapen, they have Cutera, they have Fraxel, Co2 ablative, and other skin treatments. We do Sandra and Kay as injectors, nurse injectors, so they can do filler and Botox. Then we have Dr Kumar, who does also filler and Botox, but he does liposuction and he’s a doctor, as opposed to the nurses.
Really, it’s all complementary. We do scar treatments after surgery, if that’s required, but it just depends. Every patient’s individual and people ring all the time, “I want a nose job, how much?” It’s like asking me how long is a piece of string. Everybody’s different. Everybody requires something different. While I can give average prices, it’s the same with the postop and, “How much will it hurt?” Well, that depends on you and your … “How will I heal?” Well, that depends on you, but we have a whole range of things that we can do after your surgery to make sure that you get the best possible outcome. We do our bit. You do your bit and together, we’ll get you to the outcome that you’re looking for.
Until you put your bottom in the chair opposite the surgeon, it’s just a pipe dream. It’s not real. You can think about it. You want to do it. You’ve thought about this for years. Some people have thought about it for 30 years. But until I actually sit down and have a consultation, you don’t even know what’s possible. For some people, it’s not anything that they’ll ever going to pursue, but now they know that. Instead of thinking, “I wish I had’ve,” they can decide, “Yes, this is for me. This is what I want. I am going to go down this path,” or “No, it’s not really what I thought.”
If you want to come and see us, we’d love to see you, we’d love to help you get to the destination that you’re after, click on the link below or go through Plastic Surgery Hub or our website plasticsurgeons.com.au and we’ll see if we can help.