Mr. Lefteris Dimitradiou is from Roditis, a doctor in the Department of Plastic Surgery and Burns Unit at the KAT General Hospital. In the interview he gave to the “democratic”, he talks about all aspects of his specialty, cosmetic surgery but also the “dark side of the moon”, as he calls it, which has to do with reconstructive surgery and burns. Both of these sides of the same coin are directly related to the psychology of the patient and, of course, to the improvement of the image of everyone who decides to go through the door of the plastic surgeon, in the year 2017…
The interview in detail:
• Mr. Dimitradiou, tell us about your specialty. What is the image that Greek men and women have today about plastic surgery?
Plastic surgery is a specialty with a very broad base having many fields. It has various fields that are famous and fields that are not. A famous field e.g. is the field of beauty and cosmetic surgery, while a not so well-known field is the parts of reconstructive plastic surgery, where it deals with either oncological cases such as melanoma, or skin cancers, which require surgeries, which must be done skin transfers or make special flaps to restore the area. Plastic surgery is a very large specialty, one of the most artistic, which requires a talented surgeon and is multifaceted. In other words, it is not a specialty that stays in one field. Either in the field of beauty, which is important, very visible and loved by the world, or it has to do with oncological cases, where plastic surgeons undertake excision of melanomas or lymph node cleansing in the affected areas. And of course, we must not forget the burn, which is a serious condition par excellence, which is usually the product of an accident. Only plastic surgery deals with burns. The plastic surgeon who deals with all of these has a very important task to perform. Because for non-beauty we are not dealing with a disease – we simply take care of the image and mood that any intervention can create – while for reconstructive surgery, we save lives.
• However, it is a fact that in recent years it is easier for people to go through the door of the plastic surgeon either for operations or for improvements in the aesthetic part.
This is a reality. The specialty that has to do with the field of beauty, used to be a privilege of the “elite” of the societies. Now it has passed to the wider social masses. This is a progress of society. Because we are dealing with a society that seeks a beautiful image, seeks a dignified appearance. This is a sign of self-respect and a dignified attitude towards life. A man wants to take care of himself and this is not just a matter of vanity. It is not a question of a perpetual effort against aging. In the field of beauty, I would like people to approach it with the attitude of looking decent. As e.g. we want to have a well-groomed image, wear nice clothes, etc. so it is also very nice for someone to take care of his image – always within reason.
• Let’s dwell on this for a moment. When you say “within reason”, are they also asking you for unreasonable things? Exaggerations?
Look, exaggerations and things that deviate from the normal image are clearly things that are not acceptable and are not the results of a sound medical practice in plastic surgery. I want to point this out because it is something very important. The excesses are within the scope of the job in terms of patient requirements. Sometimes, yes, they ask for too much. From then on, it is only up to the doctor to guide the treatment where the medical protocol and, by extension, the medical possibilities dictate. If together doctor and patient decide with this in mind, they will always have a good result. Exaggerations are a bad thing in the field of plastic surgery.
• However, abroad, plastic surgery made a splash many years ago. Are we too late to change our attitude towards this specialty?
Understanding these issues is a matter of education and progress. A society that breaks its ‘taboos’ and the way it dealt with them, is a product of the maturation of the social fabric. Consequently, society has made strides forward.
• Mr. Dimitradiou, tell us about the other parts of your specialty. They are also very important.
Plastic surgery also performs a… ‘ministry’. An important part of the social web. It is what I call the “dark side of the moon”. They are the installed units.
Well, it’s melanoma – a very serious disease that people need to be made aware of so they can be aware of what it really means and who to turn to. Also, when we talk about the “dark side of the moon” it is the many skin neoplastic diseases, where plastic surgeons play an important role in practical medicine. Beyond that, regarding the burn, the plastic surgeon I would say is far from the model of doctor we all have in mind…. There is a doctor who accepts all these ‘hardships’ of this very serious disease. Of course, it also has to do with the patient’s psychology, because in the case of burns, hospitalizations are often long-term.
• However, I think that psychology also plays an important role in cosmetic surgery when someone has decided to do anything from a small operation to a surgery for a change.
Usually the relationships between doctors and patients in this specialty are stable. When there is a climate of trust, the relationship is long-lasting. In the field of beauty, the plastic surgeon must create a nice environment because the goal is to give joy and satisfaction. This, of course, also applies to the part of reconstructive surgery.
• What do they ask you when patients come to improve their image?
They usually start on the face. Don’t forget that the face is constantly exposed to it and it all starts from there. From wrinkles, relaxation, skin treatments, etc. On the face are the procedures that are done faster. Beyond that, there is the surgical part that concerns operations on the body (liposuction, brachioplasty, abdominoplasty, breast, etc.) It should also be noted that in plastic surgery we also deal with patients who have lost weight due to diet or some operation and need rehabilitation of the skin on the body or other interventions.