“Plastic surgery is a rapidly developing specialty,” says the plastic surgeon, fellow citizen Mr. Lefteris Dimitradiou, in an interview with “Democratika”. As he explains, it is not a one-dimensional specialty as it has to do with many parts such as the aesthetic which is more widespread but also the ‘remedial’ which concerns restorations, with surgery of tumors and cancers – neoplasms of the skin and of course, the burn disease.
Mr. Dimitradiou also reveals that in Rhodes all the taboos regarding visiting the plastic surgeon have fallen as he is visited by people of all ages and not only women, but also men!
The interview in detail:
• Mr. Dimitradiou, we all have an image of plastic surgery that has to do mainly with the part of aesthetics. So I would like to start with this – which is booming in our country.
The object of plastic surgery that has to do with the aesthetics and the image of the person – that is, it has nothing to do with a condition, is the medical operations performed by the plastic surgeon with the aim of improving it as they see fit or as they can become, of the image of a man. Based on his wishes and based on the image he wants to create. This, of course, has limits and measures. All these must observe a measure as a guide.
• You give me the opportunity to ask you if some people come and ask you for excessive things! How do you deal with them?
The doctor’s position in this case is the “measure”. Which will lead to a result, which will be aesthetically and socially acceptable and exude a healthy image and a healthy appearance. Of course there is a deterrent when someone asks the plastic surgeon to ‘exaggerate’. Exaggerations are something that does not benefit anyone, neither the patient nor the doctor.
• So far, have things changed from the way people treat plastic surgery? For example, younger women come to you and ask you to intervene in their image in relation to older women, and what about men? Have they overcome the ‘taboo’ of visiting the plastic surgeon?
The pattern has changed a lot. The coming world has also changed. They are people of all ages, from all walks of life and of course, yes, a lot of men come. Men are a dynamic market, constantly entering this world – although treatments for men are not the same as for women. I would liken this story to the women who once, because they started wearing pants, invaded the world of men! Correspondingly, men today are making an inroad into the world of women, dealing with their image and how to improve things about them. More generally, plastic surgery, in terms of its aesthetic aspect, has no age. At the same time, there is another very large part, that of prevention and antiaging, which is good to start from younger ages.
• Let’s stay a little longer on this part. This science is definitely evolving. What are the things that people ask you for most when they come to improve their image?
However, it is not developing at the pace that people think! Usually people deal with things that concern them in terms of what they see in their everyday life. Things that bother them when they look at themselves in the mirror and want to improve. I don’t use the word ‘change’ because it is not the right word. Plastic surgery ‘improves’ things, it doesn’t change them and it’s not right to change them. It improves what bothers you. Mainly the face has the largest share of treatments – mainly those done in the doctor’s office – concern the face. Beyond that there are the treatments that are done for the body and clearly the surgeries that have to do with the breast, with wrinkles, with lipodystrophy, etc. which we are trying to improve.
• Let’s move on to the other part of plastic surgery. What is done for rehabilitation and health reasons. It is also very serious and I would like you to talk to me about it.
It is not so well known in the world that plastic surgery is a heavy specialty when it comes to restorations, tumor and cancer surgery – skin neoplasms – and of course, burn disease. Plastic surgeons are the only ones specialized in dealing with the burn, which is the most serious form of trauma. It’s not that attractive… it can’t be written about in lifestyle magazines (!) so it’s a procedure that stays within the less glamorous medical fields. The plastic surgeon is a specialty that should be addressed by anyone facing problems with skin neoplasms o. Melanomas, skin cancers, etc. Do not forget that we live in a country where people are exposed to the sun and the rates of skin neoplasms are quite high. The doctor that people should turn to for these conditions is the plastic surgeon as he is the only specialized doctor for both diagnosis and surgical treatment and of course for recovery if excisions with skin transfer etc. are needed.
• How would you describe yourself as a plastic surgeon? On the one hand you have the aesthetic part and on the other the restorative part. How do you operate on these two?
I think that the ‘field’ is different and the mentality of the people you have to deal with is different. On the one hand we are dealing with a condition and on the other we are dealing with an ambition, that we want to like and be more aesthetically beautiful. As a plastic surgeon you have to balance these two situations and be able to be realistic, honest and aim for the possible. In the aesthetic part, to be able to understand and sympathize with your patient’s ambition, and in the medical part where you have to perform the excision of a skin cancer, to be able to be next to your patient’s fear and next to the unknown that may has the word cancer.
• In any case your work has to do with the psychology of the patient.
In all cases, the plastic surgeon must be able to communicate and guide his patient correctly. It is fundamental to have the same direction in the mind of the doctor and in the mind of the patient.
•Let’s change the subject. We are still living in a time of crisis. Has plastic surgery faced a crisis?
Plastic surgery is a rapidly growing specialty because it has so many pieces that it deals with. It is not a one-dimensional specialty. So there is scope for a surgeon to work on pieces from which he will gain market share. It has clearly been affected in terms of costing – as everything in the country has been affected. What I would like to emphasize is that in Greece, the level of plastic surgery is very high. The surgeons are very well trained and could certainly command much higher fees if they were in other countries. Nevertheless, the world should know that many patients come to our country to do what they would like, at very good prices and at a very high level.
• How about people who turn to plastic surgeons? Should they be looking and not prefer the very cheap options?
Plastic surgery in terms of materials has some data. It is good for people to look for recognized products, which are approved and meet certain specifications. Safety when dealing with an image enhancement is the A and Z. And safety is not ensured by very cheap materials. Careful selection is required.
• In Rhodes, how would you describe the situation? Are there still taboos?
I don’t think there are any more taboos in Rhodes. We are talking about Rhodes, which is an international destination and that is how we must treat it as members of society and realize that the Health professionals provide high quality services, at an international level. We have a very good market and the plastic surgeons on the island are of a very high standard. This is very encouraging since it is good for Rhodian society to be able to have access to very good doctors.