After graduating MB ChB from Otago, I trained for my Fellowship in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in Wellington, Melbourne, and Oxford, England. Since returning to Wellington in 1988, I have been a surgeon at the Wellington Regional Plastic Surgery Unit (Hutt Hospital), and in private practice at Bowen Hospital. In June 2005 I left the public hospital service to work full time in private practice.
My public hospital work has included all areas of the specialty e.g. hand and microsurgery, burns, repair of injuries, breast surgery, and the management of skin cancer. Together with a Neurosurgeon, I developed the Craniofacial Surgery service, to correct deformities of the skull and face resulting from birth anomalies, trauma, and tumour surgery. Corrective surgery for facial paralysis was another long term part of my portfolio.
The word "plastic" is derived from the Greek word meaning "to shape or to mould".
Plastic surgery is a specialty dedicated to the improvement of function, and the treatment of disfigurement, resulting from birth defects, injury and disease such as cancer. Breast reconstruction after mastectomy is a good example.
Plastic surgery covers a wide range of surgical procedures that repair, reconstruct or replace structures in many different parts of the body e.g. the skin, face and head, hands, breast and abdomen. Plastic surgery does not involve the use of plastic materials.
What is Cosmetic Surgery?
Cosmetic (aesthetic) surgery reshapes features of the body or face to improve appearance, body image and self esteem. There are 3 broad groups :
- the correction of a feature that has always been present, but is disliked e.g. nose or ear correction, breast enlargement, breast reduction.
- the restoration of an area that has changed, "to make me look like I used to". Examples are breast lift after breast feeding, abdominoplasty after pregnancies or weight gain and loss.
- rejuvenation of the effects of aging.