At first glance, Dr Scott Turner is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with a successful career and an accomplished medical and surgical education behind him. However, did you know he started out studying a double degree in law and mathematics at the University of NSW? After realizing his talents lay elsewhere, Dr Turner changed career paths and went on to complete a Bachelor of Medical Science majoring in Anatomy. Having now discovered his passion for medicine, Dr Turner applied for and was accepted into the competitive post-graduate Medical program at the University of Sydney where he was awarded his medical degree (MBBS – Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery) with Honours. His basic medical training now complete, Dr Turner began the long process of becoming a Specialist Plastic Surgeon. A medical internship/residency undertaken at various leading Sydney hospitals ensued before Dr Turner once again decided to embark on (yet) another degree at the University of Sydney – Masters of Surgery in Plastic Surgery. During his Masters of Surgery, Dr Turner was awarded the prestigious John Brookes Moore Scholarship for Surgery as well as the John Lowenthal Medal for Surgery.
Whilst the path from student to Surgeon has been long and challenging, Dr Turner credits the passion and respect he holds for surgery to this very process. “My first junior surgical registrar experience was as part of a Neurosurgical team. The first time I did a craniotomy I was extremely nervous as I began to realize the importance of what I was doing. Looking back at that experience now, I realize that it prepared me to deal with the stress of treating very ill patients, whilst functioning as part of a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. All the while, keeping the individual needs of the patient and their family as paramount. It is these same skills I developed as a junior doctor which I continue to integrate into my private Plastic Surgery practice today.”
For the past 7 years, Dr Turner has exclusively been practicing in the specialty of Plastic Surgery thereby refining his skills in a range of reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. “Throughout this time I have mastered the techniques essential in reconstructive surgery to restore form and function due to congenital defects as well as following trauma or cancer. Still, these same skills and techniques form the foundation of all cosmetic procedures I perform today.”
Dr Scott Turner was admitted to the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (Plastic Surgery) in 2012 and has since established his private practice in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and Newcastle. Both of which are premiere boutique Plastics Surgery practices dedicated to Cosmetic Surgery.
One of the most common cosmetic procedures Dr Turner receives enquiries about is – Labiaplasty. Labiaplasty is the reconstruction or reduction of the female labia. “I was initially surprised at the number of women that have suffered for years with the discomfort of enlarged labia. This impacts their lives by not only physically restricting activities such as exercise but also significantly impacting their self confidence.” Having said this, Dr Turner still acknowledges that Liposuction, Tummy Tucks and Breast Augmentation procedures are still very popular and will continue to form the basis of his breast and body focused Plastic Surgery practice.
However, some of Dr Turner’s most surgically challenging and rewarding cases have been in reconstructing large head and neck defects in post cancer treatment patients. Some of who have lost parts of their jaw, tongue or eye. “The ability to apply the vast array of Plastic Surgery techniques such as microsurgical free tissue transfers to reconstruct the missing section and restore the original form and function for the patient is extremely rewarding.”
Having learnt of Dr Turner’s vast knowledge and experience in the field of Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery we thought it would be pertinent to ask his opinion on some of the most common publicly discussed Plastic Surgery topics.
Why do you think Plastic Surgery is currently on the rise?
“I believe this is due to various reasons. One of the main reasons is people are now more aware of their appearance than ever before. Whether this is due to the influence of the media or internet is not for me to say. However, they are now more willing to undergo Plastic Surgery in order to seek improvements or enhance their appearance. There has also been a large shift in the public’s attitude towards Plastic Surgery. In the past people would try to conceal or deny the fact they had had surgery. Whereas now, Plastic Surgery is openly discussed and positive experiences candidly shared with family, friends and the community.”
“Another contributing factor to the uptake in Plastic Surgery is the advancement in surgical techniques and a better understanding of the underlying anatomy. Both of which work hand in hand to deliver safer more predictable surgeries. As a result, patients have been shown that naturally beautiful outcomes are now achievable.”
Do you believe an age restriction should be imposed for teenagers looking to undergo Plastic Surgery?
“While I believe it would be sensible to incorporate some form of a ‘cooling off’ period for teenagers considering undergoing Plastic Surgery, I do not support a strict ban or age restriction.”
“Many studies have been conducted that show the body perception concerns of a 16 year old may not necessarily be the same when that person is 21 years of age. And that with time, that person may come to accept their body and not consider surgery at all. However, for those individuals who have a strong desire for surgery or have obvious aesthetic concerns such as significant breast asymmetry, juvenile macromastia (large breasts), crooked or large noses, prominent ears etc, not undergoing surgery may lead to long term mental health issues due to the potential for suffering from low self esteem as a result of external pressures at school. In these cases, the risk of suffering from escalating and lifelong mental health issues does not warrant a ban from undergoing a simple surgical procedure.”
Having said that, Dr Scott Turner strongly urges anyone considering undertaking any form of Cosmetic or Plastic Surgery to do some research. His main advice is that you understand the difference between a ‘Cosmetic’ and ‘Specialist Plastic Surgeon’ in Australia. Dr Turner recommends searching the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) website to ensure your surgeon is an accredited Specialist Plastic Surgeon. “It astonishes me how many patients I see that tell me they would like me to perform a revision procedure as they are not satisfied with the results of the surgery performed by another ‘plastic surgeon’. More often than not that person is not an actual Specialist Plastic Surgeon and many of which have had no formal surgical training but are allowed to advertise themselves as a ‘cosmetic surgeon’ in Australia and offer invasive surgical procedures.”
Dr Scott Turner also highlights the importance of establishing a good relationship with your Plastic Surgeon. As part of the surgical process, most patients will need to see the Surgeon at least twice prior to surgery and multiple times after the procedure. So your Surgeon needs to be someone that is going to be available to you in the foreseeable future and someone that you feel comfortable talking to. Furthermore, it is also important that both you and your Surgeon have similar ideas about the area or issue being addresses and the results that can be achieved. “If you and your Surgeon have differing views on what can be achieved, then either both or at least one party will be disappointed with the outcome of the procedure and usually that will be the patient. Once you have found a Surgeon that ticks all these boxes it is important that you are open and honest about all aspects of your medical history such as smoking and any medications including the use of herbal supplements as this will also impact on your surgical outcomes.”
Having now done your research and chosen the right Specialist Plastic Surgeon, it is important to note that many of the procedures on offer today will require a follow up consultation or even some form of revision or ‘touch up’ surgery. “I believe it is important to inform patients that even the most experienced Surgeons in the world performing the most common Plastic Surgery procedures have surgical revision rates of 10-20% for varying reasons. And it is only through vigilant follow up consultations and post-operative support that any issues can be identified and subsequently rectified to ensure the patient’s desired outcome is achieved. It is for this reason that I am shocked to read that 15,000 Australians travel overseas each year to undergo Cosmetic procedures by doctors with questionable qualifications, in hospitals that do not adhere to the same strict guidelines applied in Australia and with virtually no post operative follow up.”
As such, the fee charged for any Plastic Surgery procedure offered by Dr Scott Turner is inclusive of all follow up consultations and any revision surgery that may be required is performed at minimal cost to the patient.