Navigating Plastic Surgery's Art & Trends with Dr. Priya Bansal (Part 2)

The truth is, we cannot create identical clones. I often convey to my patients that my role is not to transform them into someone else but to refine and enhance their natural beauty - Dr. Priya Bansal
Dr. Priya Bansal, MBBS, M.S., DNB in Plastic Surgery
Dr. Priya Bansal, MBBS, M.S., DNB in Plastic Surgery

Welcome to the second part of our interview with Dr. Priya Bansal, where we will delve into her DNB training and her valuable experiences during internships and work in various hospitals.

Priya Bairagi: Ma'am, you earned your DNB from Maulana Azad Medical College, a renowned institution that many aspire to attend. Could you please share whether your training experience at Maulana Azad was similar in terms of the breadth of training or if it differed from what you mentioned earlier?

Dr. Priya Bansal: Yes, indeed, Maulana Azad Medical College held great significance for me. Coming from a small town and having completed both my MBBS and MS in similar settings, Maulana Azad was a prestigious institution with a significant name. However, regarding exposure to aesthetic surgeries, it was somewhat limited during my time there. While I did have the opportunity to observe various procedures, such as rhinoplasties, breast surgeries, and liposuction, I must express my gratitude for the essential aspects it provided. The experience imparted an invaluable sense of confidence and surgical expertise that is crucial for a surgeon. These skills and knowledge, I believe, were significant takeaways from my mentors at Maulana Azad.

An essential sense of confidence and surgical proficiency that is necessary for a surgeon was gained from the experience. I think these abilities and knowledge were important lessons learned.(Representational Image:Unsplash)
An essential sense of confidence and surgical proficiency that is necessary for a surgeon was gained from the experience. I think these abilities and knowledge were important lessons learned.(Representational Image:Unsplash)

Furthermore, being in a bustling metropolis, I had the privilege of interacting with a diverse group of people. This exposure was pivotal, particularly in the context of aesthetic surgery practice. Patients in this field often come from different backgrounds, each with unique expectations and behaviors. The social circle I encountered in a vibrant city like Delhi greatly influenced my understanding of these nuances. So, despite some limitations in the exposure to aesthetic surgeries, my time at Maulana Azad contributed significantly to my surgical confidence and understanding of the diverse patient dynamics in this field.

Arpita Meher: Ma'am, we understand that some individuals can be quite cautious when considering medical procedures for their body or face. If you could share insights with our readers about the safety of these processes, how would you approach this discussion?

Dr. Priya Bansal: When I engage in discussions with my patients, my primary objective is to ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of the associated risks and, more importantly, how these risks can be mitigated. In the realm of surgery, a fundamental aspect is the qualifications and experience of the surgeon. I emphasize to my patients that while it's entirely their choice, it's imperative to select a qualified and certified professional. The prevalence of unqualified practitioners, often referred to as quacks, is a concerning issue. Patients who might not be well-versed in medical matters are vulnerable to such individuals. This is the first point I stress.

The second point I emphasize is the importance of evaluating the surgical facility where the procedure will take place. In today's landscape, we encounter numerous small nursing homes and clinics. Just recently, I had a patient who is a radiologist by profession. The procedure in question was relatively minor, involving the excision of a small cyst. She inquired why I didn't perform it in a clinical setting, as many doctors do. I explained to her that while it may seem like a small procedure, it necessitates the use of local anesthesia. If not administered carefully, local anesthesia can lead to severe complications, including anaphylactic shock and, in extreme cases, even death.

As a medical student, Arpita, you're well aware of the potential risks associated with local anesthesia. This is precisely why I prefer to conduct such procedures in an operating room setting, equipped to handle any emergencies that may arise. I firmly believe that patient safety is paramount. Thus, I stress the significance of assessing the qualifications and the facility where the surgery will occur. When these two crucial components align, patients can make an informed decision about their chosen surgeon.

Restoring confidence and transforming lives: the profound impact of gynecomastia surgery.(Representational Image: Unsplash)
Restoring confidence and transforming lives: the profound impact of gynecomastia surgery.(Representational Image: Unsplash)

Arpita Meher: Ma'am, as you've previously discussed ethical concerns and taboos associated with breast reduction and rhinoplasty, have you encountered similar challenges in other cases, and how did you address them? For instance, you mentioned the pain and discomfort experienced by patients with heavy breasts and those seeking rhinoplasty. How have you navigated these situations to provide effective solutions?

Dr. Priya Bansal: Another prevalent concern is gynecomastia, often colloquially referred to as "man boobs." Similar to what I mentioned regarding breast reduction and rhinoplasty, this condition can cause significant distress. The cases of gynecomastia have been on the rise, particularly among young boys due to factors such as the use of supplements, gym workouts, and steroids. We perform a considerable number of gynecomastia surgeries, typically around eight to nine cases per week.

The emotional impact of gynecomastia is quite profound. To illustrate this, I can share an instance where I operated on a 13-year-old boy. This young boy was facing immense embarrassment and mental trauma due to his condition. The extent of his discomfort was such that he had discontinued attending regular school and opted for in-home tutoring. The reason behind this drastic change was the teasing and ridicule he endured at school. The profound mental anguish and isolation experienced by patients with conditions like gynecomastia and breast reduction underscore the transformative impact these surgeries have on their lives. It's essential to recognize that aesthetic surgery extends beyond mere aesthetics; it can be truly life-changing.

Arpita Meher: Ma'am, I'm aware that the younger generation places a significant emphasis on appearance, whether it's about achieving a slim figure or being bothered by a single acne or pimple, despite reassurance from their friends. These concerns can have a substantial psychological impact. What message would you like to convey to them in light of these challenges?

Across generations, including patients as old as 75, prioritization of appearance is commonplace, with procedures like facelifts and breast surgeries becoming increasingly acceptable.(Representational Image: Unsplash)
Across generations, including patients as old as 75, prioritization of appearance is commonplace, with procedures like facelifts and breast surgeries becoming increasingly acceptable.(Representational Image: Unsplash)

Certainly, for our younger generation, and even among the older generation – including patients as senior as 65 and 70 years old who come for procedures like facelifts and breast surgeries, with the oldest breast surgery patient being 75 – it's entirely acceptable to place importance on one's appearance.

In today's world, we are observing an increasing number of younger patients seeking aesthetic enhancements. For these individuals, it's crucial to understand that these choices are about boosting their self-confidence and overall happiness.

Given their age, they can be more susceptible to influence and therefore it's paramount to approach a board-certified surgeon who can provide trustworthy guidance. Additionally, as I've emphasized before, they need to maintain realistic expectations. Often, young patients bring pictures of celebrities, aspiring to resemble them. They may admire individuals like Kim Kardashian and desire certain features, like larger buttocks.

In such cases, it's necessary to counsel them that their priority should not be to emulate someone else but rather to become a better version of themselves. Striking a healthy balance between self-improvement, self-acceptance, and nurturing their qualities and self-esteem is the key.

Arpita Meher: Ma'am, if you were to outline the three most essential skills that a medical student should possess to excel in this field, what would they be?

Dr. Priya Bansal: First and foremost, as I mentioned earlier, excelling in academics is paramount. The journey in the medical field is a lengthy one that requires continuous learning, research, and self-education. This unwavering commitment to studying is a fundamental skill. The second critical skill is dexterity and precision in surgical procedures. It's essential to possess the surgical skills needed to perform procedures with accuracy, a gift that I've learned and embraced over time. Finally, most vital skill, not limited to surgeons but applicable to all doctors, is effective communication and empathy toward patients. Building a connection with patients, understanding their expectations, and ensuring they feel heard and cared for is crucial. Some doctors may be more reserved in their communication, while others, like myself, prefer to engage with patients extensively. In my view, providing ample time and attention to patients is key to ensuring their satisfaction and peace of mind, regardless of whether they choose a particular treatment or not. These skills are integral to being a successful medical professional.

Arpita Meher: We understand that during our time in medical school and our postgraduate studies, we accumulated various experiences that we would like to share or pass on to our juniors. Do you have any such experiences, whether they are humorous, significant, or impart valuable lessons, that you would like to share with us?

Dr. Priya Bansal: It's challenging to distil all my experiences into one, as there have been memorable moments at every stage of my medical journey. While academic excellence is crucial, I often find that I remember the fun and engaging aspects more than the intense study sessions. Striking a balance between work and play is essential.

During my time in medical school, I developed a passion for badminton, and if I were to recall a significant experience from that period, it would undoubtedly involve badminton. Although not directly related to academics, it's a memory that stands out. In terms of my medical training, when I was posted in general surgery, I had the privilege of working under a professor who was known for influencing students to pursue plastic surgery. It's remarkable how I found myself in the field of plastic surgery today.

 Navigating Challenges in Medical School with Support and Resilience.(Representational Image:Unsplash)
Navigating Challenges in Medical School with Support and Resilience.(Representational Image:Unsplash)

There are numerous experiences to share, but one that comes to mind is both challenging and formative. When I entered medical school, I moved from West Bengal to Odisha, which brought the challenge of adapting to a new state and language. Throughout my academic life, I have been a top-performing student. However, in medical school, I was among a group of exceptional students, and I wasn't a top performer anymore. Language differences further compounded the challenge, as some classes were conducted in Odia, a language I struggled to understand. At one point, I felt deeply demoralized and contemplated giving up and returning home.

It was during this trying period that I leaned on my father as my anchor. His unwavering support helped me navigate those difficult times, and I'm grateful to have overcome those challenges to become the person I am today. This experience taught me the importance of having a support system during challenging times, and it's something I think is worth sharing.

Await Part 3, when Dr. Priya Bansal discusses a challenging case and how she stays updated with the recent advancements in technology.

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