6.30am - I live near Killarney so I leave the house in plenty of time to get to Tralee for 7.45am.
On theatre days, my first task is to review patients on the pre-operative ward. My areas of special interest include microvascular surgery, breast reconstruction, skin cancer and cosmetic surgery. I have focused on the latter two areas since taking up this post last August.
I gown-up for my first surgery, a skin graft for a patient with melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer. Ireland is suffering an epidemic of skin cancer, with more men affected than women. Causes include fair skin, outdoor occupation with sun exposure (a known risk factor) and poor awareness of the risks. The majority of the patients I see with skin cancer are over the age of 60 and are of a generation when sunscreen was unheard of and when sunburn was a feature of childhood.
My second surgery of the day is a woman undergoing a bi-lateral breast reduction. In this particular case, it’s for medical reasons. Her breasts were so large they were causing neck and back problems. Other women have breast reductions for cosmetic reasons.
I have a quick bite to eat on campus.
If it’s a clinic day, I see patients after lunch for all manner of cosmetic and reconstructive issues. Repairing prominent ears is one of the more common forms of reconstructive surgery in children, particularly where parents are concerned that their prominence could be a factor in the child being bullied.
I see some adult cosmetics patients in clinic: neck and face lifts are popular, as well as eyelid lifts. Eyelid lifts are done to repair sagging or drooping upper or lower eyelids. The surgery is called blepharoplasty.
Towards the end of clinic, I have paperwork to complete and some administrative work to do, such as dictation of letters and reviewing referrals.
I try to get home in time to read a bedtime story for my two little girls, aged two and four. Downtime is limited since I started in my new job, although I do try to fit in a run at weekends. I aspire to play golf and go to the gym, but I’m afraid they are just aspirations at the moment.
- John Curran, consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Bon Secours Hospital, Tralee.
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