On the 6th of November, I had the incredible opportunity to head down to the MACS (Medical Arts for Cosmetic Surgery) Clinic in Watford to see Mr Shailesh Vadodaria and the visiting Consultant, Mr Muhammad Riaz, who are esteemed Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic surgeons. To see one of these consultants on any given day is a privilege but to see both in the same place…needless to say, it was an honour beyond explanation. From the beginning of the clinic to its closing moments, the day was filled with masterclass after masterclass of surgical skill, patient care and everything in between.
MACS Clinic is a stone throw away from Watford Junction railway station and is situated even closer to the bustling high street where admittedly, I found myself enjoying the pleasant and idyllic atmosphere when I ventured down the long street. I arrived at 9am to find everyone already ready for the day and raring to go. Feeling a little sheepish at first, I was then warmly welcomed into the main office. All the theatre staff were present in the room to start the day in prayer which was something that I had not experienced before yet found to be very helpful with regards to the mental and spiritual preparation for the day to come. I am not sure what the others were praying about but all I could pray about at the time was for the safety of the patients and the staff!
The theatre list started at 9.45am, beginning with a facelift. A facelift or rhytidectomy is a cosmetic procedure that aims to lift up and pull back the skin to allow the face to be tighter and smoother. It is used to reduce any extra sagging skin around the lower half of the face (mainly the jowls) and the neck to allow a more rejuvenated and youthful look to the face. Watching the two surgeons working in tandem was like watching Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci finally working together to create a true masterpiece (minus the bitter rivalry). Every decision, every cut and every stitch was expertly executed with confidence, and I felt that the patient was constantly at ease as the surgeons, with the help from the theatre staff, explained the procedure and checked on the patient as they were going along. The absolute control and slick nature in the way the operation was performed and the way the theatre was run amazed me, which was a testament to the tremendous experience shared between the two giants of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
The next operation was a correction of an unilateral gynaecomastia and following this, a patient who required a chin augmentation. I had the opportunity to observe the consent process for both patients where they were given plenty of time to ask questions. Both surgeons also took time to answer my questions on certain aspects of the operation and there were several teaching moments where I learnt a lot about gynaecomastia, anatomy and techniques! The next operation was a bilateral otoplasty which is a procedure to change the shape, size or position of the ears. I was excited for this operation because I had not seen many before and was curious to know what kind of technique I was going to see. Sure enough, the procedure was performed with ease and simplicity, demonstrating the perfection in the craft (I will not bore you with the details). The final operation of the day was performed by Mr Riaz who demonstrated his new technique of temporal lift under local anaesthesia. Apart from the fact that I was in complete awe of having the opportunity to observe a new technique, this awe was multiplied by the operation being performed with immense precision and deftness despite being incredibly late (We finished at 10.25pm). It highlighted how patient centred both the surgeons were, so much so that patient care was prioritised over sitting down to eat a much-deserved meal.
All in all, it was an incredible experience pumped with action and learning. This was supplemented by the warmth of the entire team at MACS Clinic who were very welcoming and made you feel at home. I am certain that the patients felt the same with the around the clock care provided for them at every stage of the MACS Clinic journey. The day ended just as it had started, with everyone together full of laughter and joy as we shared a lovely meal to commemorate the hard work achieved by the team. I look forward to visiting the clinic again, hungry to learn more.
Dr Yangmyung Ma is a FY1 doctor and the Founder of HYMS Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery Society. He is also the current HYMS representative for British Foundation for International Reconstructive Surgery and Training (BFIRST) charity and aspires to be a Plastic surgeon. In his spare time, he enjoys playing music or sports.