Gallery image: Before and after liposuction to lower body
As part of our get to know your surgeon series, we did a Q&A with Brighton Plastic Surgeon, Dr Alan Breidahl.
Why did you become a plastic surgeon?
I like surgery as it gives me a sense of satisfaction to help people who come to me with a problem that I can solve with surgery, enabling them to continue being productive and positive with their lives.
I like plastic surgery in particular, because it is the most artistically creative of all the surgical subspecialties and the surgeon is encouraged to take the time to get it right at the first operation.
What are your primary plastic surgery interests and why?
My sub-specialty is Craniofacial Surgery. I worked at the Royal Children’s Hospital in this field for ten years, was President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Craniomaxillofacial Surgeons and continue this work at the Royal Melbourne Hospital Cleft and Craniofacial Transition clinic and with Operation Smile Australia and Interplast in Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
This work has given me a thorough understanding of the anatomy and surgical techniques in the Craniofacial region, significantly aiding my proficiency in aesthetic rhinoplasty, prominent ear correction, facelift and blepharoplasty.
I also really enjoy liposcultpure and breast surgery as these are very creative fields where I am rewarded with high patient satisfaction levels.
What do you love most about your job as a plastic surgeon?
Both the personal reward of a patient delighted with their results and the actual technical process of performing the operations, where time stands still for me.
I also enjoy developing a good doctor patient relationship, which is why I do all the pre-operative assessments myself, rather than having a nurse performing pre-op assessments.
What is the hardest part about being a plastic surgeon?
Long hours, and finding time to spend with my loved ones.
How would your friends describe you?
At work: particular, demanding, obsessive and dedicated.
At play: cheeky sense of humor, adventurous and playful.
What do you do for fun?
Yacht racing, skiing, travel and dinner with my beloved.
What is your style?
Precise at work, enthusiastic at play
What advice do you have when deciding on a surgeon?
Try and chose a surgeon who has good results, assessing their training (making sure they are FRACS trained and members of ASPS), utilizing advice from your local doctor, friends who’s results you like and the surgeon’s before and after photos.
Also chose one that communicates well with you, informs you of potential problems or complications and that you feel comfortable with.
What are some of your career highlights?
“Achievement” highlights include being asked to be on call for the Queen, Board Member for Operation Smile Australia, international aid work, founding member and President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Craniomaxillofacial Surgeons, certificates of outstanding service to the Royal Australian College of Sugeons, Paul Harris Fellowship (Rotary) and Churchill fellowship.
“Surgical” highlights include performing the first cross leg replant in the western world (taking the right leg of a patient who had cut off both legs with lots of crush injury and replanting it on his left leg); an all day operating list at the Royal Children’s Hospital where I spent the morning remodelling the skull of a 6 month old baby to allow for better brain growth and the afternoon replanting the index finger of a 6 year old child accidentally “pruned” by his mother along with the roses; performing complex craniofacial procedures in Vietnam and Sri Lanka whilst teaching the local surgeons how to do these surgeries on their own.
What advice do you have for someone thinking about having plastic surgery?
Spend the time to make sure your surgeon is properly trained (FRACS and member of ASPS), has good results, communicates well with you and that you feel comfortable with them.
Make sure you understand what can go wrong with the procedure, and how you would cope if that happened to you.
Ensure you allocate the appropriate time for recovery, understand the postoperative instructions and follow them precisely. Be aware that whilst all good surgeons aim for perfection with every patient, perfection is an ideal which is rarely attained.
Have you ever had to turn patients away due to unrealistic expectations?
What procedures are becoming more popular and what are decreasing?
In my practice, rhinoplasty, facelift, otoplasty and liposuction are increasing. Breast augmentation is decreasing as patients chase cheaper options in Thailand and with GP “cosmetic” surgeons.
However I believe this will change as awareness grows regarding levels of training, quality of implants used and availability of ongoing postoperative care.
What is your understanding of beauty and how does this relate to your practice?
Beauty to me is intricately related to personality. The one thing I believe nearly every one can do to improve their beauty is to smile genuinely.
This is of course assisted by having good self-confidence and self-esteem; if my surgery improves a patient’s self-confidence and self-esteem, then I have done a good job!
View Dr. Breidahl Profile
PSF would like to thank Dr. Alan Breidahl, specialist Plastic Surgeon, for his input into this blog post.