#ThisIsAPlasticSurgeon - Ruth Lester
Back in 2019 we asked some of our members various questions about their careers in plastic surgery, their thoughts on innovation and what advice they may have for others, both professional and public. The resulting profiles demonstrate the diversity of the specialty and those within it.
If you are a BAPRAS member and would like to be included in this series please contact email@example.com.
Who or what inspired you to become a plastic surgeon?
Following four years of general surgical training, I couldn't decide which area of the body to be interested in! I soon realised that plastic surgery offered techniques of tissue management for all areas of the body in a broad range of conditions and decided on this for my career.
What has been your career highlight?
Developing services by working with other specialties in order to manage difficult and complex cases, as well as to help deal with relatively common conditions in the most efficient way.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in their plastic surgery career?
Firstly, be a good communicator - Reconstruction requires real discussions and understanding of patient goals. There are no 'off the shelf' answers to the problems presented. Secondly, try and sit on as many clinics with a senior as you can - it all happens there! And finally, follow patients through every visit after any operation you have been involved with.
What do you think will be the next major developments in plastic surgery?
Tissue engineering (restoring damaged tissue and organs through stem cells or artificial means etc.), Cancer management by drugs and In utero surgery (operating on fetus during pregnancy).
How can you ensure patients receive safe plastic surgery from a qualified plastic surgeon?
Both cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery require the same techniques, discussions and honesty with patients about aims, outcomes and drawbacks. All consultants in the NHS have had to demonstrate that they have received adequate training and can therefore be considered competent in both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.
It is crucial for patient safety that an environment within a team is created whereby discussions around cases can always take place without affecting the creative and innovative talent of surgeons.
Read further profiles below
- Shehan Hettiaratchy
- Rowan Prtichard Jones
- Abhilash Jain
- Rebecca Dunlop
- Nora Nugent
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