Kazakhstan Lecture – Breast Reconstruction Surgery
My job in the NHS is very busy and affords me many different opportunities. One aspect I am particularly fond of is teaching. I always have a team of junior surgeons who work with me and I am also sometimes invited to lecture at both National and International meetings.
I recently received a request from Manchester University to speak to a group of doctors and surgeons who have travelled all the way from Kazakhstan to learn from us at The Christie. Kazakhstan lies near Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan on the World Map. The doctors were at a late phase of their training and were on the cusp of becoming what we call a Consultant in the UK ie being in full independent practice.
The audience was a mix of medical disciplines and all were keen to learn more about plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as gaining some valuable information about my cosmetic surgery work. I put together a lecture covering first some of my background as I find it always helps to know the expertise of whoever is speaking to me so I gave them a brief rundown of how I had trained in Plastic surgery and breast reconstruction around Manchester and then moved on to International placements in Australia and New Zealand as well as the very specialised microsurgery centre in Taiwan.
I always like to first speak to my audience and see what their level of experience is. They were covering the full range of medicine from anaesthetic doctors to Oncologists and Radiologist.
I then spoke to them about the variety of work that I do in my private and NHS practice explaining that a large part of my time is spent on specialist Breast surgery and in particular Breast Reconstructions. I told them that we had the very first Risk Reducing Breast service here in Manchester and how we work as a team of experts to provide the most up to date care for all the patients who come through the breast cancer service.
Breast Surgery Techniques
I spoke to them about the different techniques that are used in Breast Reconstructions explaining how I use a combination of techniques sometimes using Breast implants and sometimes using free tissue transfer to reconstruct one or both breasts. I explained how the initial reconstruction is often just the very first step in the journey for a woman recovering from breast cancer and they will often have to return for symmetrising surgery (to make both breasts look even). This is the last step after reconstruction to try and match the two breasts and will encompass all the techniques of breast surgery including Breast Augmentation, Breast Uplift (Mastopexy) and nipple reconstruction.
There were many questions from them about the different aspects of the timing of treatment and techniques and I learned how the system is different in Kazakhstan in terms of how healthcare is only partially publicly funded and that the services that are on offer differ greatly in different regions of the same country.
Wellbeing and Balance
I closed the talk with some tips on how to remain balanced and happy in the job as a Plastic Surgeon, and in particular how to deal with times when things are not going well, as all doctors have good and bad days just like everyone else.
The young doctors are coming to observe some operations next week and I am pleased that they will be able to see an all-day operation in which we will be performing a double mastectomy and reconstruction on the same day which I give as an option to my patients.
Mr Gerard Lambe MD, FRCS (Plast)
Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Breast Surgeon
Clinical Lead for Plastic Surgery