A day in the life of a plastic surgeon, Angelica Kavouni
2005, SheView PDF
Plastic surgeon Angelica Kavouni explains how she deftly combines administering a nip and tuck with being a mum.
Plastic surgery is a happy profession. Although I admire the strength of physicians who deal with seriously ill people. I knew that wasn't for me. Unlike taking out a gall bladder or fixing a fracture, plastic surgery is creative. And it can make a positive change to a patient's quality of life.
Between 1991 and 2001 I worked for the NHS at The Royal London Hospital. I carried out reconstructive surgery on burns victims or damaged hands - all sorts. It's very practical and you have to make instant decisions.
Working there was challenging, but it's difficult to combine surgery with a family so I joined a private practice. I now work part-time from a surgery on Harley Street. Three of us (including my husband, who's also a plastic surgeon) share secretaries and so on.
Working for myself means I have more flexibility. I only took six weeks' maternity leave after I had Sebastian, then I went back to work for one day a week before increasing to three.
I work my timetable to match my children. so I go to bed ridiculously early - I am usually asleep by 9.30pm. My husband works hard and is rarely home before 9pm. Sebastian usually wakes up at 5am. If he goes back to sleep, I sometimes have a snooze for an hour before Julian wakes or I get up to do some admin and check my e-mails. We have three computers with a wireless internet connection, so I can work anywhere - in the kitchen or even in the loo!
My hours vary, so I have a nanny who works 9am to 6pm, then two others I can call on at short notice. Depending on my daily schedule, after the nanny arrives. I go to the hospital to carry out operations or to the clinic to see patients. Usually I carry out surgery one day and see patients the other two. I try to be home by 6pm to bath and feed the kids, but if surgery runs late, I might be stuck at work until 8 or 9pm.
My job involves breast augmentation and lifts, tummy tucks, eyelid surgery, facial rejuvenation and face-lifts. It is common for me to see patients going through a divorce who want surgery. They think it might change the outcome of events, but it won't. I tell them to rethink it when they are feeling more emotionally stable.
Seeing the results of surgery can be very satisfying. One woman wouldn't look in a mirror before we straightened her nose and chin, but surgery gave her new confidence. I know there's a lot of prejudice about plastic surgery, but if it's done for the right reasons, it can change a person's life.