Credo: Barbara Jemec, plastic surgeon, 42
Sunday 18 January 2009
I wanted to become a plastic surgeon from an early age, because my father was a plastic surgeon. He was always helping people, making them whole again, making them function.
It's becoming easier for women to train as plastic surgeons. At least half of my juniors are women, which is fantastic. Having said that, only 10 per cent of plastic surgeons in Britain are women.
Nobody can make an 80-year-old look like a 20-year-old. You want to make them look like a good 80-year-old.
Women feel more comfortable with a female surgeon. It takes a person who wears a bra to recognise another person's problems in that area.
The highlight of my job is when I know I've made a difference to someone. It could be a woman who's had a breast reconstruction or a little old man who's had a bent finger straightened.
All surgery leaves scars. There are people who don't consider aesthetic surgery to be real surgery, so are surprised when they have scars.
The drive to change something about yourself can be incredibly strong. People talk about not feeling whole. It's not going to change their life, but it might make them happier with themselves.
There is much less of a stiff upper lip about plastic surgery in Britain now. Years ago, it was for people who were better off, now it's accessible to everyone. I don't think this is a bad thing.
Advertising for a surgical procedure has to be in the right context – people have to take it seriously. It's inappropriate to advertise breast augmentation and lip gloss on the same page of a magazine or the same side of a bus. If you cheapen or oversimplify it, you're headed for trouble.
I wouldn't rule out having plastic surgery. I intend to grow old gracefully with all the help I can get from my colleagues.
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