CO U R S E S & C A REERS Do I have what it takes? Certain skills or traits are imperative for success as a plastic surgeon. First, you must have a technical mind and problem-solving skills. You will need to be patient; the duration of a surgical procedure can sometimes take more than 10 hours, depending on the severity and complexity, during which time you will have to remain focused, alert and – literally – on your feet. Having a steady hand is critical as a surgeon as you’re dealing with delicate tissues. Equally important would be your ability to stay calm, think quick and lead a team of assistants effectively. If you have an eye for aesthetics to critically and subjectively advise patients on how to improve their looks, it’s deﬁnitely a big bonus. Last but not least, critical communication skills combined with empathy is useful as you’ll need to interact well with patients and their family members, if necessary. For some patients, it may be the ﬁrst time receiving such surgery which can be scary; therefore, being the voice of clarity and calm to these patients will be a necessary trait to succeed in this career. Still think you have what it takes? Trauma surgery This would include working with patients who have been injured or disﬁgured as a result of traumatic incidents such as car accidents, ﬁres and wars. When treating burns, the surgery may be immediate and ongoing. Microsurgery Consists of moving and replacing tissue in the body; for example, with cancer patients who require breast, facial or neck reconstruction. So what’s the difference between plastic and cosmetic surgery? Plastic surgery is deﬁned, in the Oxford Dictionary as “the process of reconstructing or repairing parts of the body by the transfer of tissue, either in the treatment of injury or for cosmetic reasons”. Cosmetic surgery is just one of the many subspecialties of surgery that a plastic surgeon will be trained in. If you pursue this career, here are some of the areas you may choose to specialise in: Cosmetic surgery Patients have chosen to enhance their appearance simply to improve aesthetics or for selfimage and conﬁdence. You may have to work with a variety of patients, many in perfect health but also some with psychological issues such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). 10 easyuni Guide 2015 Issue 6 Craniofacial surgery This involves helping those with hereditary disorders and repairing congenital defects, most commonly cleft palates. As you would be working with both children and adults, extra training is required due to the different facial construction needs.