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Sorta Random Sunday: What Does A Plastic Surgeon Actually Do?

Here at The Prudent Plastic Surgeon, most of my posts are about the financial side of being a physician. But, being a physician, we get to do a lot of cool stuff to help people as well.

So, this Sorta Random Sunday post is going to be about what I and plastic surgeons actually do on and day in and day out basis!

plastic surgeon
Operating with my neighbor from growing up a few months ago!

What does a plastic surgeon actually do?

I get asked this a lot.

Or at least I get asked this a lot after I tell people that cosmetic surgery is really only about ~10% of my practice currently. (This is me here)

Most people assume plastic surgery = cosmetic/aesthetic surgery. But really that is only one facet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a facet I enjoy and get great fulfillment from.

But plastic surgery encompasses reconstructive surgery as well. As plastic surgeons we operate on every part of the body in fact. We operate on skin, muscle, bone, fascia, nerve, blood vessels, even lymph vessels less than 2 millimeters in size.

In broad terms, plastic surgery includes:

  • Aesthetic surgery
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Microsurgery
  • Hand surgery
  • Craniofacial surgery

Each of these has a ton of subspecialties as well. For instance, I am a microsurgeon. Within microsurgery, I perform breast, head & neck, trunk, extremity and lymphedema reconstruction.

So, we do a lot of cool stuff as plastic surgeons. That’s why I went into the field!

Here is a list of the last 7 surgeries that I have performed:

  • DIEP flap for breast reconstruction
  • Breast lift and fat grafting after DIEP flap for breast reconstruction
  • Skin grafting a large back wound
  • Lymphovenous bypass to treat lymphedema
  • A free flap for scalp reconstruction
  • Gender affirming top surgery
  • Gender affirming vaginoplasty

And how about the next 7 surgeries that I have scheduled?

  • ALT flap for head & neck reconstruction
  • Open reduction and internal fixation for a mandible fracture
  • Fat grafting to the breast
  • 4 more DIEP flaps for breast reconstruction (I do a lot of these!)

What is my favorite part about what we do as plastic surgeons?

Pretty much everything.

Here are some of the best parts:

  • We get to work all over the body
  • Plastic surgeons get to be creative. Often times we are fixing unique problems using our toolbox, not a set recipe or instruction manual
  • We get to see the impact of what we do immediately as we reconstruct or repair something taken by time, trauma, cancer, or congenitally
  • We help people feel “normal” after big cancer surgery
  • Plastic surgeons are some of the most passionate, smart, and fun people I have ever met

I am very lucky to love what I do! As I’ve mentioned before, my goal in chasing financial freedom is not to retire immediately. But I do want to reach financial independence so I can work because I want to, not because I have to!

Related Post:
9 Powerful Ways Financially Free Doctors Can Improve Healthcare

What do you love about what you do? Is there a misconception in the general public or even medicine about what you do? Let me know in the comments below!

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    Jordan Frey MD, a plastic surgeon in Buffalo, NY, is one of the fastest-growing physician finance bloggers in the world. See how he went from financially clueless to increasing his net worth by $1M in 1 year and how you can do the same! Feel free to send Jordan a message at [email protected].

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