I was called to the ER this evening to repair a complex facial laceration on an elderly woman. One of the volunteers in the ER that eagerly helped me was a young man who was interested in medicine. In fact, he just applied to medical school and was waiting for that ‘letter’. Anyway, he asked me how one ends up in plastic surgery. After all, the decision isn’t typically made in high school or college.
I told him, first, one should decide if they want to go into medicine at all anymore. There are many changes that are rendering the future of doctors in the United States unpredictable. But that’s a topic for an entirely different blog. Changes are becoming much more hostile for physicians, and many of the medical doctors I know are trying to leave medicine. For him, it was a bit to late. Applications were in the mail.
However, I have no regrets that I spent most of my adult life trying to become a physician. I love every day of my job. OK, well almost every day. It would be a lie (and totally misleading) if I were to pitch to anyone that there are no bad days being a plastic surgeon. And that too, is a topic for another blog.
Among surgeons, plastic surgeons tend to be happy. Perhaps we are happy because plastic surgery is the most broad field of medicine. We operate all over the body. Literally, from head to toe. It is also traditionally the longest training specialty. After medical school, it takes 5 to 8 years to become a plastic surgeon. Some do strictly aesthetic surgery. Others do hand surgery, craniofacial trauma, wound care, pediatric facial surgery like cleft lip and palate, breast reconstruction, and general reconstruction related to trauma, infection, or cancer resection.
I do almost all of it. No wonder why I love my job. No two days are the same. But no wonder it took so long to learn how to do it! I think the student was impressed with the diversity. Who knows. Maybe I inspired him to go into this wonderful field 🙂
Dr. Tim Neavin is a board-certified plastic surgeon located in Beverly Hills, California.