Dr Stefano Pompei, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Medstar Day Surgery Centre, talks about why cosmetic surgery is an art and how he can help you transform today
I compare my work with that of an artist who has to unveil beauty hidden within.
How did you choose the specialised areas of medicine you’ve been practicing?
Plastic surgery is one the most creative fields in medicine. Each person is unique and so is his/her need. The creative process in the field of plastic surgery is very similar to art and requires constant innovations. I compare my work with that of an artist who has to unveil beauty hidden within. During the course of my international career, which includes 13 years in a national institution in Rome, I have seen many patients losing their confidence due to the devastating changes in their body. This urged me to focus my energies on plastic surgery as my profession, so that, I could alleviate their discomfort and attend to their needs by applying the art of medicine to change the quality of their lives.
Please describe the types of surgical procedures you perform?
I perform almost all surgical procedures, but my areas of focus are facial reconstruction, body contouring, breast lift and reconstruction.
For facial rejuvenation, depending on the case, I often combine face lifts, blepharoplasty, neck lift, fat grafting and rhinoplasties.
For breast surgeries, I perform corrective procedures for developmental defects (tubular breasts, asymmetries, etc) or aesthetic procedures such as breast reductions and breast lifts with or without implants. In case of cancer patients, I also collaborate with the mastologists and the oncological breast surgeons for immediate or delayed breast reconstructions.
Surgical body recontouring procedures often related to previously operated weight loss procedures, which significantly leads to loose skin after massive weight loss are also high in demand.
Is there anything to bear in mind when considering breast reconstruction?
Each reconstruction surgery is unique. I therefore personalise and propose the reconstruction approach depending on the merits of the case. Basically, we have two options: the implant-based approach (immediate or delayed) or the autologous tissue breast reconstruction technique.
Every proposed procedure in terms of breast reconstruction should be explained on the basis of the variables we have to deal with like previous or post mastectomy cases, type of the mastectomy or conservative treatment, local tissues and scar conditions, etc.
For cancer patients these days the trend is to do this immediately at the time of breast cancer surgery so that the patient is not exposed to another surgery later on.
For others, the best time for breast reconstruction is post pregnancy. Post lactation changes result in the drooping down of the normal breast, disfiguring and excessive growth of breast tissue, which may keep causing neck pain. It may alter other physiological parameters which disturb a person’s normal activities. In such cases breast reconstruction including reduction and lift with or without implants becomes a necessity.
When doing a nose job, how do you decide what the changed nose should look like?
An attractive face is all about balance and proportion. The nose, at the centre, provides the foundation for the sense of aesthetic balance. With the help of a skilled, qualified cosmetic surgeon, the nose can be reshaped and refined to enhance a patient’s natural beauty. Depending on the patient’s concern or on the defect to be corrected, I discuss with the patient, the possibilities and the techniques. There is a basic rule that should be explained to the patient: big defect=big result, small defect=small result.
Some plastic surgeons have mixed feelings about butt augmentation, what is your take on it?
I strongly believe that these types of procedures with high volume implants or massive liposuctions, intramuscular fat grafting, etc., are at high risk of complications. We have important medical literature/papers supporting this issue so I am quite conservative in terms of indications for these kinds of surgeries.
Moderate but effective recontouring is possible with limited, subcutaneous fat grafting lowering the potential complication rate. In my opinion unreliable and unrealistic patient expectations should be clarified and re-modulated by the plastic surgeons before the procedure.
How do you see the cosmetic surgery being done in day surgical centres?
In-patient surgical centers/day surgical centers are on the rise globally as most of the procedures can be done in day surgery set-ups. These centers work on an efficient mechanism and are tuned to operate, expedite recovery and help patients go home the same day. It also helps in keeping costs lower for all stakeholders.
I believe in this concept and I am very comfortable in doing majority of the procedures in a day surgical set-up. This is further corroborated with the fact that I am now based full-time at Medstar (having moved from a hospital job).
Patient selection is key in a day surgical center and we do that actively with the help of our team, which is quite strong and well-experienced in this matter. In almost all cases, it is very comfortable for the patient to get operated upon in the morning, recover during the day and leave for home in the evening. Needless to say we help our patients to transform today.
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