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Beauty is eternal – An Interview with Dr. Greg Pataki the leader of Premium Plastic Surgery

Interview 24 May 2012

Interview with Greg Pataki M.D. on the occasion of the opening of Premium Plastic Surgery.

The service program of the Kútvölgyi Premium Health Center and Hospital at the Semmelweis Medical University has been broadened with a new five-star service. I talked about the special relationship between the physician and patient, the role of plastic surgery in public health and the quality philosophy of this world-class Premium Plastic Surgery, which also satisfies the highest health tourism needs, with the leader of the institution, Dr. Greg Pataki, plastic surgeon. Kútvölgyi Premium Health Center and Hospital is located in the Teaching Hospital of the world renown Semmelweis Medical University, Budapest, Hungary.

László Léder: I think many people would like to know how one could become a plastic surgeon. Is there any special earmark for a plastic surgeon?

Greg:  Definitely. Some say that it is necessary to have an exceptional motivation to become a surgeon… The living body cannot be cut without confident professional background. Plastic surgeons form a specialized community even between surgeons. It is known that plastic surgeons have the affinity to art and some artistic skills.

According to this, can plastic surgery be categorized as a kind of art within medicine?

Absolutely. Professional plastic surgery can be apprehensible as a serious artistic performance. The responsibility is enormous because of the human participants in this artistic “act”, but not surprisingly a huge amount of joy follows a successful surgery. Plastic surgeons often experience the joy and gratitude of patients, who regained their beauty, self-esteem and physical ability. These are magnificent, but sometimes dangerous experiences.

How do you mean dangerous?

Dangerous, because if we cannot handle it properly, it might lead to false self-image. In this case quality comes at the expense. Plastic surgeons have to possess not only the highest levels of medical professional knowledge, but also a mature self-awareness. We have to know that we are not heroes, the essence of the profession is to change one’s look, which brings an enormous positive change on several levels in the patient’s life.

You have visited numerous places in the world. Among others, you’ve studied in Brazil, the world center of plastic surgery, and worked Germany for several years for many well-known institutions. What quality requirements characterize today’s plastic surgery?

We can count solely with the highest requirements. The number of modern methods is increasing year by year, and accordingly the patients’ expectations also continue to grow. The peculiarity of plastic surgery is that the result of an intervention carried out today will be seen many years from now. The main purpose is to reach a natural and harmonic outcome. Nowadays the most modern methods and materials are available not only abroad, but at home as well. With our practices we ensure the highest levels of personalized care for our patients in the field of rejuvenation surgery and aesthetic treatments. We get the best results using the gentlest techniques. This can be achieved only with the best technique and materials, and professional physician-patient communication. The harmony of the body and soul can be reached with these medical interventions and through all these, an improved quality of life is gained.

In an earlier article you’ve mentioned the importance of the physician-patient relationship…

This is the alpha and omega of healing in my opinion… the most important quality factor. Those entering our practice will always be surrounded with special care. Plastic surgery is associated with a serious psychological healing as well.

Do you mean that plastic surgeons are not only artists, but also psychologists?

Yes, in many respects. Imagine that you are looking for a better appearance for decades, or you are living with some physical alterations, you are full with complexes, your self-esteem is decreased and you are retractable. These problems are waiting to be explored by a plastic surgeon. Sometimes patients don’t mention why they really turn to us in the first instance. This is normal, but it is our responsibility to build a relationship of trust with the patient, which reveals all their problems honestly.

Where can this be learned well?

Those plastic surgeons, who would like to pick up this kind of approach, can learn from both foreign and Hungarian mentors. Certainly, personal talents and appropriate interpersonal skills are required in this field. If the profession and the right attitude were acquired abroad, it is of course should be taken home so that we can benefit from the knowledge.

With the right attitude you create trust between physician and patient. How important is this in your profession compared with others?

Trust is the base of healing in every profession. But when it comes to plastic surgery, it is absolutely essential. I wouldn’t leave my car under the care of someone I don’t trust, not to mention my body, my face or my breasts! And there is also an anxiety, a fear felt by many because of the presence of a doctor. Ideally the presence of a physician creates a sense of security and not anxiety, especially in a hospital. Calm environment and a secure background is the basis of a good cooperation. This is why we place great emphasis on our operation.

You practice in all the fields of aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery. Why do you feel that plastic surgery is a wonderful profession?

I feel this for several reasons. We have to build a serious psychological relationship with our patients. Plastic surgery is an art on one hand, because at first we draw sketches, like a sketch of a painting or statue, but while a painter or a sculptor creates their work from materials, a plastic surgeon does this with human tissues. On the other hand, plastic surgery is a science as well, it requires the accurate knowledge of the anatomy of the human body. The ageing process also has to be known. This profession is also an integrating academic field; it is part of the training process in several subfields of surgery. Plastic surgeryis one of the fastest growing fields of ​​medicine; it gives previously unimaginable opportunities to mankind. It creates the harmony of beauty and function. It restores and rejuvenates; and growing expectations encourage us to work better and better.

At the beginning of our conversation you used the “five-star” adjective. What does this mean in practice here, at Kútvölgyi Premium Health Center and Hospital?

As you can see, we place a great emphasis on the appearance of our surgery; the waiting room and the equipment park. Our aim with this surgery was for it not to differ from a Western European or U.S. one. We only use the most advanced technology and the best materials. We conduct our activities in two locations; the so-called “major surgeries” are taking place in the Kútvölgyi Clinical Block, while minor interventions can be done in the surgery of Premium Plastic Surgery on Gellért Hill. Our patients are surrounded by five-star attention from the entry to the final assessment.

I might be wrong, but public perception connects five-star plastic surgery with beauty contests, celebrities and it is affiliated with the super-rich. What is your target group?

Celebrities, beauty contest participants and people working in such fields are among our patients. However, the public should know that we perform not only aesthetic or in other words beauty interventions, but also the so-called corrective surgeries for those recovering from cancer or injuries, which can affect anyone. We follow the basic philosophy of Premium services, and we provide the highest quality of care to anyone who visits us, with competitive health care prices.

You have said that plastic surgery serves public health purposes as well. Isn’t this a bit of an exaggeration?

Not at all, in my opinion. Plastic surgery heals thousands of people who have serious psychological problems due to their physical ones. Such people often have a narrowed network system, relationship problems, they get stuck in their professional career and they become disadvantaged in the work force market. What is this, if not a public health problem? The real purpose of plastic surgery is to restore the harmony of the body and soul in all cases. We treat all our patients with this approach.

Thank you for the interview!

Interview by: László Léder (www.sote.huwww.kutvolgyi.hu)


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