Plastic Surgery Forum’s founder and manager, Emily Scott, is an Australian mum of 6. She has proudly watched the community grow to over 10,000 active members who share the same common goal of helping and advising each other in a fun, social online environment. Emily shares her story and the PSF journey since she launched it in 2010.
Tell us how Plastic Surgery Forum came to be.
In 2008, I had 4 kids under 4 years old, and my abdominal muscles were separated by 6 centimetres! I worked out and started to lose the baby weight but the skin that had been stretched out by full term twins was never going to go back to normal. The more weight I lost, the more saggy and wrinkly my tummy skin became. At the time, I went online to find out all that I could about abdominoplasty (a tummy tuck) but all the forums seemed to be in the U.S. and I realised that we needed a local forum that helped Australians find info and real experiences with local surgeons.
What has been your own experience with plastic or cosmetic surgery?
I went on to have surgery in August 2010, and the community at the time was a great support to me! I was able to share photos and ask questions, and complain about the ups and downs of the recovery.
What is the best part of running your own website?
Initially when I started the forum I did a lot of research and found myself immersed in a whole new world of information. I loved it! I loved being able to help answer questions or just offer support to other people going through surgery and I spent all my spare time building the tiny little community on PSF.
Who is involved in managing and moderating the forum?
When it started to grow and really take off over the next couple of years, I knew that I couldn’t keep running it by myself. I was lucky to find a couple of great people that helped to keep things running behind the scenes. They started off as members and gave so much back to the community so I was thrilled to bring them on as moderators, to help things run smoothly. Our tech team also do a wonderful job keeping everything going and making it look good!
How has the forum developed and changed over the years?
The whole plastic surgery industry went through a dramatic shift over the last several years. When I first started, overseas medical tourism (particularly in Thailand) was slowly starting to gain momentum. People were going, but had no idea what to expect when they got there. They had no way of knowing if they were selecting a good surgeon or not. The forum really gave those people a platform to share information and experiences that could empower others to make informed decisions about hospitals, surgeons and facilitators. The flood of Australians and New Zealanders flocking to Thailand for surgery made up a large portion of the Plastic Surgery Forum community in those initial years. These members needed support and information and they were finding it on the forum.
How do you think medical tourism has affected the plastic and cosmetic surgery industry?
The increase in overseas surgeries has changed the industry in Australia. Surgeons have slowly come to realise their patients now have alternative options, and often at a lower cost. It has opened up the doors for more healthy competition in the local market and forced surgeons in Australia to be more proactive in building an online presence. The forum has created an opportunity for patients to talk openly about their experiences, and what was once a “behind closed doors” discussion has become a public one. It has forced clinicians to see themselves through the eyes of the community, which I believe has helped surgeons to improve their Doctor/patient relationships.
What has been the most rewarding part of running PSF?
My favorite moments over the years have been when I see a member who has researched their surgeon and surgery extensively on the forum, and then carefully selected a surgeon that they think fits their need and it has the best possible outcome for them. Feeling that the forum and its community have helped individuals make informed decisions is why I started the forum in the first place. I love to read your stories, and love to see the support that you all give. As a stay-at-home mum, this has been a dream job for me and I’m excited to see the new changes that will be coming to PSF this year.