Plastic or cosmetic surgery can be a massively daunting experience. It can be extremely overwhelming and downright scary. For some patients, finding a plastic surgeon they can not only trust to do a good job and get them awesome results but is also caring, considerate and empathetic of their situation is a little harder to find. While it’s an extremely personal decision, making sure you are able to fully communicate and express your concerns is essential in ensuring you get the best results. This can be why some women patients feel more comfortable with a female surgeon. We spoke to Dr Amira Sanki, Sydney Plastic Surgeon, about how she manages patient expectations and how important it is for patients to trust their surgeon.
If you google Dr Amira Sanki you’ll find no shortage of raving fans. Perhaps 90% of her patients use the word “amazing” to describe her and all of them describe how she surpassed their expectations. Quite a few call her their friend, and many suggest she changed their life. I’ve chatted with Dr Sanki myself and it’s evident that each and every patient is special to her, and she is without a doubt one of the most empathetic surgeons you will find. We asked Dr Sanki how important it is for a surgeon to understand exactly what it is a patient wants and how she manages to do that so well. She said, “The most important part of my job is listening to my patients so that I can do my best to deliver what they’ve asked. I hear a lot of patients saying to me that another surgeon had made them feel rushed and had recommended something they hadn’t asked. Most of our patients come with a genuine problem and realistic expectations, and all they need is a surgeon who can honestly and empathetically understand their point of view. I am there to help and support my patients in every step of the journey.”
Not all plastic surgeons go the extra mile when it comes to being there emotionally for their patients and some patients actually prefer that, or are more comfortable with it, thinking that it makes that surgeon more efficient somehow. However, for those patients for whom the surgery is an extremely emotional one, it can make their journey so much easier to have a surgeon they can talk to without fear and this may mean choosing a female plastic surgeon. Some of the reasons why can include:
- Getting naked – being naked in front of a surgeon can be a little (or a lot) scary! While you’ve got to remember that our fabulous male surgeons see women naked all the time and it’s really just another body to them, some patients for one reason or another just feel more comfortable showing their bodies to another woman.
- Labiaplasty or other genital surgery – just like many of us prefer a female to do our pap smears, some patients don’t want to get down to their bare essentials with a male surgeon. (Of course, many of us don’t care either way, but some do, and that’s totally fine.) This can also be applied to breast surgery.
- Empathy – many women feel as though women surgeons are more able to understand their motivations and desired outcomes, from breast size to length of stay in the hospital and everything in between. Some women patients need to be more nurtured through their journey and while we know plenty of empathetic and warm male plastic surgeons, women just understand what women need. After all, they’re going through the same ageing process!
- Your partner or religion – Dr Sanki says a lot of women describe that their husband feels uncomfortable knowing they are having plastic surgery with a male surgeon. “It seems silly, but it is important that your partner is comfortable and likes your surgeon too. Some cultures are particular about women showing their body to a male.” Dr Sanki has an all female surgical team in theatre to help in these situations as well.
Research shows that many women specifically prefer a female surgeon for various reasons. Whatever these reasons are, you still need to make sure that the female plastic surgeon you choose is fully qualified and experienced to perform your procedure. Dr Sanki stresses it’s extremely important. “Your surgeon should be appropriately qualified with at least a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS), which means that they have specialist surgical training. FRACS is the standard qualification required in Australia to perform surgery in private and public hospitals. Members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons have a FRACS qualification and specialised training in plastic and reconstructive surgery.”
A good place to start when researching your plastic surgeon, whether male or female, are reviews. Hearing what others say about a surgeon can be telling in not only what results that surgeon is producing, but what bedside manner they have, what levels of connection they have with their patient. It’s also important to arrange a consultation to see how you feel with the surgeon and whether you think they are going to provide you with the service you need. Just as a note, when we checked out online reviews of Dr Sanki, our already validated research that she is a patient favourite was only reinforced. Check it out for yourself!
What it comes down to is that plastic or cosmetic surgery is often a life changing choice or necessity and choosing a surgeon who’s kind, caring, understanding and empathetic to your needs can only make the journey a whole lot easier!