Student Surgical Association of Hong Kong

Aesthetic vs Reconstructive Surgeries - Seminar given by Dr. Chan Yu Wai

The second seminar of SSAHK - “Aesthetic vs Reconstructive surgeries: A look into their similarities and differences”, by our honourable guest speaker - Dr. Chan Yu Wai, was held fruitfully on 22nd January at the Queen Mary Hospital, Professorial Block, Lecture Theatre.

Dr. Chan is currently the Division Chief and Associated professor of both the Head and Neck surgery department, and the Plastic and Reconstructive surgery department of the University of Hong Kong. Dr. Chan is very rich in experience and expertise to in the field of Aesthetic and Reconstructive surgeries. He is the Executive Management Committee of the Area of Excellence Scheme, as well as the President of the Hong Kong Head & Neck Society.

The seminar started with a brief introduction of the origin, history and development of Plastic surgery. Practise of Plastic surgery could be traced back to 600 B.C. when a surgeon performed the first ever rhinoplasty - nose reconstruction using tissue from the cheek. Although the boom of Plastic surgery only occurred recently after the advent of anesthesia, antiseptics as well as modern entertainment technology, Plastic surgery has been developing in Hong Kong for nearly half a century and will continue developing mightily as forecasted by Dr. Chan.

Concerning the common mix-up between Aesthetic and Reconstructive surgeries, Dr. Chan demonstrated to us the differences in principle of the two with aid of some basic surgeries. In Aesthetic surgery, the aim is to create an aesthetically pleasing result to patients following several standards of beauty. For instance, in double eye lid surgery, orientals are recommended to have a double eye lid of 5mm thickness in female and 6-8mm in male. However, Dr. Chan reminded us that Plastic surgeons should listen to patients’ need in order to personalise every Plastic surgery procedure. In contrast to the emphasis on aesthetic outcome, Reconstructive surgery focus on restoration of function. Nonetheless, Reconstructive surgeries are closely associated with Aesthetic surgeries in many cases. Very often patients undergone post-trauma surgeries suffer from both functional and aesthetic problems. Therefore, apart from Reconstructive surgeries, Aesthetic surgeries are done together to restore both physical and psychological well-being of patients.

Dr. Chan also introduced different sub-specialties of Plastic surgery in Hong Kong namely Burn surgery, Paediatric Plastic surgery and Microsurgery. In Burn surgery, patients are staged according to the severity of the burn and given appropriate treatment such as debridement and skin grafting. In Paediatric Plastic surgery, Surgeons mainly deal with congenital facial deformity such as Cleft lip, Cleft palate and Microtia (Deformity of external ear). In Microsurgery, procedures are usually required after major post-trauma surgeries. Patients usually have a region of tissue resected due to cancerous growth where the reconstruction sites require an autologous skin graft to restore the normal shape and appearance of that region.

At the end of seminar, Dr. Chan spared some time answering questions from the audience which is concerned about the major surgical failure in the past. Dr. Chan truthfully share two unforgettable stories to us. Being the pioneer in this field, Dr. Chan learned from those mistakes and hope to warn the others from recommitting the same error.

We hope you enjoyed Dr. Chan’s seminar. We will see you in our upcoming events!

Last updated: January 22, 2016