20 Years and Still Going Strong

Ever Thought About Cosmetic Surgery?

Dr Patrick BriggsNot long ago cosmetic surgery used to be only heard of in the world of movies stars and the rich and famous, but today cosmetic surgery is increasingly available to everyone. Services range from minor rejuvenation procedures through to complex life changing surgeries.

Dr Patrick Brigg (pictured) is a fully trained Plastic Surgeon but five years ago he decided to give up reconstructive trauma surgery and focus specifically on cosmetic work.

“I’m a great believer that if you want to do something really well, you’ve got to do lots and lots of it,” said Dr Briggs.

For many of Dr Briggs patients, undergoing cosmetic surgery is a life changing procedure, not just externally but emotionally as well.

“It’s about self esteem. It’s about how people are feeling inside. It’s about when an individual looks in the mirror and they like what they see. Nobody knows how you feel inside except yourself. This is why I chose cosmetic surgery because it really affects the way people feel about themselves and that’s very powerful for the individual.”

One area that Dr Briggs has focused his work on is helping men remove ‘man boobs’, the Doctor soon found that some of his skills in this area were also very applicable to transgender female to male people who were also looking for their breasts to removed.

“I found I started to do lots and lots of male, man boobs. That branched into some of the transgender work. I started applying some of the techniques I had in gynecomastial corrections of man boobs to some suitable cases in gender reassignment.”

Dr Briggs acknowledges there has been a significant increase in the number of people looking to undergo gender reassignment cosmetic surgery.

“I think it’s because of education, people know what’s able to be done, people knowing that there are surgeons available to do it, that there are surgeons who have an interest in it, and that there are surgeons who are empathetic.”

While Dr Briggs has wide experience in breast surgery, he does not do penile constructions. However the number of transgender people requesting penile constructions is very low. Dr Briggs explains some of the reasons this surgery is less popular.

“No, it’s a very interesting statistic in fact, when I looked at the statistics of female to male, only twenty percent of female to male people will go on to have a penile reconstruction, which is quite a low number when you think about it.

“Almost all female to male people want to have their breasts removed, because they want to be able to take their shirt off, go to the beach, and they want to wear clothing that is appropriate. I would say ninety eight percent of female to male people want to have breast surgery of some extent.

“Female to male penile reconstruction, it’s not great, it doesn’t become an erect organ – but theatrically you can put in a latex prosthesis, but penile surgery for female to male has a huge risk of complications.

One area of transgender related surgery that is not currently been seen in Australia at the moment is facial reconstruction procedures to make male to female transgender clients look more feminine.

“These are things like, if somebody’s got a prominent forehead, or a prominent Adam’s apple – they can be reduced. I think we’re going to see more about this in the future,” said Dr Briggs.

Choosing a cosmetic surgeon is quite a complex task and Dr Briggs recommends that people carefully consider who they engage.

“You have to check qualifications, experience and expertise. They should have been through a fully recognised plastic surgery training program in one of the major countries around the world, Britain, Ireland, USA, New Zealand or Australia. They should have a fellowship with a professional association. You need to go to someone who is fully trained.

“Then you need to check that individual surgeon has a track record and an interest in the area you’re looking at. It’s a bit like a tennis player who spends four hours on the court and three hours in the gym every day. You want to find someone who is doing lots of the procedures all the time, because experience is experience.”

Outside of the realm of gender reassignment Dr Briggs said that people are considering cosmetic surgery more often and there are changing trends in the type of procedures people are looking at.

“Breast surgery is very common for both women and men. It’s a bit like the old adage that if you have short hair, you’d like long hair, and if you have curly hair you want straight hair.

“Certainly with men, we have men who want man boob reductions but we also have men who want pectoral implants for the body builder look. So we have both sides of the coin.

“With women they are some who are too big and want to be smaller and others who are small and want to be larger. It goes in every direction.

For Dr Briggs one of the biggest growth areas has been in the area of men wanting to create a gym body look.

“There are more requests now for unusual types of implants, body building implants. I’ve been doing calf implants for fifteen years; I’ve been doing buttock implants for about fifteen years. Now we’re getting requests for bicep implants, triceps implants, and abdominal implants, mainly for men.”

Cosmetic surgery is a significant undertaking, taking time to research the procedure you’re considering and meeting with multiple surgeons is something Dr Briggs strongly recommends to all clients.

“It’s very wise for any individuals who are considering surgery to get two or three opinions; they need to be comfortable with their surgeon and known that their surgeon is going to look after them, even if there is a hiccup. They need to know that that person has the prerequisite knowledge and experience. So you need to do your home work.”

Find out more about Dr Briggs here.

Graeme Watson

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August 15, 2013

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