In response to questions forwarded by The Times Kuwait, eminent plastic surgeon, Dr. Neil Bulstrode, spoke about his passion for plastic surgery and reveals details on microtia, the specialized micro-surgery of the ear.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
After earning my MBBS from the Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School in London, and an FRCS degree in 1997, I set out to train in Plastic, Reconstructive & Cosmetic Surgery at a number of premier plastic surgery units both in the UK and in Australia.
Following two years of extensive research at the RAFT Institute of Plastic Surgery at the Mount Vernon Hospital in the UK, I received my Doctorate of Medicine (MD) in 2002. Once I had gained added experience through training with some of the top Cosmetic Surgeons in the UK, I passed the Plastic Surgery Specialist Fellowship - FRCS (Plast) - of the Royal College of Surgeons in 2005, entered into the GMC Specialist Register for Plastic Surgery in 2006.
Today, I am a Full Member of the European Association of Plastic Surgeons (EURAPS), the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).
I have published over twenty-five peer-reviewed papers on an extensive range of plastic reconstructive and cosmetic surgery topics including face lifts, rhinoplasty and Botox. I have also presented work internationally in Europe, the USA and Australia.
Did you always want to be a doctor; what made you decide on plastic surgery?
"Plastic surgery is my passion. It is important to appreciate and use the powerful techniques used in reconstructive surgery to improve the results of cosmetic procedures, and to use my cosmetic surgical skills to enhance the results of plastic and reconstructive surgery."
What was your best experience with a patient; your biggest triumph as a doctor?
I have my dream job being Clinical lead for the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital and I have recently been awarded the prestigious Patient and Family award which is voted and nominated on by patients and their families for the best member of staff. I have helped separate, Siamese Twins, performed facial reconstruction in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, removed large birthmarks in Bogota, Colombia and have a large practice here in the UK.
Do you sometimes get patients coming for trivial reasons for a plastic surgery?
Very few patients come with trivial problems but if there are things that I cannot help with, then I try to send them to people who can help which may include a psychologist.
How advanced and practical is a microtia surgery?
We have refined the technique for ear reconstruction which is very specialist surgery due to the rare occurrence. I also work with my brilliant colleagues at the Institute of Child Health performing stem cell research to help improve further the options for surgery.
Your recent operation on Kieran for double microtia, was it challenging?
Bilateral ear reconstruction is always challenging, but Kieran was such a great patient that he went through the process very well.
Tell us more about your affiliation with GOSH?
I am a Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for eight years and the Lead Clinician for the Department for seven years. I was lucky enough to have trained here as a Senior House Officer and a Registrar.
Do you think people are judgmental about plastic surgery?
People often only think of cosmetic surgery when you say Plastic Surgery but it is so much more than that, including all the reconstructive surgery for congenital problems, trauma and cancer.
Do you sometimes refer your patients to other alternatives?
We always discuss all the options and work out what is best for the patient. Surgery is not always the best option.
How should a patient safeguard against quacks; who would you say are reliable sources?
It is very important to see established surgeons who have a large experience in ear reconstruction as this a very rare condition.
A patient support group called microtia mingle on face book. A new international society has been founded dedicated to ear reconstruction called ISAR, International Society for Auricular Reconstruction. There is also information on our hospital web site of Great Ormond Street Hospital (www.gosh.com.kw).
Do you think patients and readers can rely on consumer magazines for their information?
It is most unlikely that any consumer magazine will have the correct information.
You have been listed in Tatler's Beauty & Cosmetic Surgery Guide, The Xpert Factor. How do you feel about it?
I was very flattered by this as I also have a cosmetic surgery practice.