As part of our get to know your surgeon series, Brisbane Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Dr Justin Perron sat down with PSF to share a bit about himself and his life as a Plastic Surgeon.
Why did you become a plastic surgeon?
Plastic Surgery has been with me my whole life. My father is a plastic surgeon in Canada, where I grew up. Being around the operating rooms, emergency rooms, and patients gave me an early sense of what it was like. I enjoyed the exposure, and the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) mentoring that was a part of my upbringing.
When I moved into medicine, other facets of plastic surgery became more apparent. These aspects were ones that couldn’t be taught, such as the creative or artistic viewpoints of the specialty. With time and maturity, these areas could be developed.
I became a plastic surgeon because I enjoy the breadth, and depth of the specialty. It can involve repairing hand injuries, reconstructing breasts, fixing a congenital birth defect in a child, treating a burn, and the aesthetic aspects of each. Its an incredibly creative and innovative specialty which continues to expand. Every day is different, challenging, and rewarding.
What are your primary plastic surgery interests and why?
Of all the aspects of plastic surgery, there are a few areas that I do enjoy to work on. Various aspects of breast surgery are challenging and rewarding. From reconstruction, reduction, augments, and mastopexy, they each have their own challenges and limitations. Patients are always grateful for obtaining a natural breast shape.
Body contouring surgery is a very rewarding area for patients. This includes abdominoplasty, brachioplasty, liposuction and thigh lifts. Contouring the body after massive weight loss can have profoundly positive effects on the patients who are treated. Some of the happiest patients I’ve treated are body contour patients
Hand surgery is another functional aspect of plastic surgery that is enjoyable. Repairing a hand injury, or addressing a functional problem that has occurred with time, can greatly affect day-to-day functioning.
Skin cancer surgery has many intricate challenges. It can be a complicated and delicate area of work. Removing difficult lesions with minimal scar or functional problem is always a challenge!
Ear surgery, such as otoplasty, is another area of interest. I enjoy the artistic aspect, and the challenges of creating a more normal appearing ear.
What do you love most about your job as a plastic surgeon?
By far, it’s the relationships I develop with my patients. Being able to impact a patients life in a positive way is very rewarding.
What is the hardest part about being a plastic surgeon?
The time pressures, and sometimes needing to be in several places at one time, which can get stressful!
How would your friends describe you?
Easy-going, approachable, and honest.
What do you do for fun?
Certainly, spending time with my partner is what I like to do with my spare time. We both like to travel, go to restaurants, catch up with friends, and exercise.
What advice do you have when deciding on a surgeon?
Picking a surgeon is a personal thing. The most important aspect to remember is that you will be forming a relationship with the surgeon that you chose. And like most relationships, you should be comfortable to discuss anything with them, asking questions, things you’re concerned about, and what your goals are. If you feel uncomfortable with that person, talk to someone who you feel more comfortable with! Never feel pressured.
What advice do you have for someone thinking about having plastic surgery?
Research what you want, and have clear goals in your mind. You should be able to ‘own’ your operation; you know what you want, you have the surgeon you are happy with, and know everything about the recovery, including risks and complications. It shouldn’t be a frightening or unknown process, but one you do together with your surgeon.
Have you ever had to turn patients away due to unrealistic expectations?
Absolutely! Sometimes people aren’t ready for an operation, aren’t appropriate for an operation, or just haven’t done any research. I’m happy to sit down and discuss the ins and outs of any procedure. But if a patient approaches me with an expectation that is out of step from what is possible, or reasonable, then we have the discussion about what is possible and what is reasonable.
What procedures are becoming more popular and what are decreasing?
Of all the procedures, certainly breast reconstructions are increasing. This is likely due to the ‘Angelina Jolie’ effect. After having bilateral mastectomies and reconstruction, more women have sought a reconstructive procedure.
Labiaplasties are also becoming more popular. In the past, it was a procedure that was not talked about often. With time, people have understood that it’s a procedure that can alleviate some very uncomfortable symptoms!
Breast augmentations certainly have had a bit of media focus recently as well. They are very popular, and will likely continue to be a popular operation.
What is your understanding of beauty and how does this relate to your practice?
Beauty is both personal and cultural. It is a complex relationship between proportion, balance, and an individuals perception of these relationships. Beauty is more than cosmetic, and not just about being pretty, or attractive. Because of its emotive context, and the affect that it creates, it is much more than skin deep attractiveness.
Be it reconstruction, or cosmetic surgery, treating a physical aspect itself doesn’t address some of the mental changes that occur. Patient support before and after surgery is essential to ensure complete recovery and ensuring a sense of wellbeing.
PSF would like to thank the Dr. Justin Perron for his input into this blog post.