Tracie Kong ’14, Ganchi Plastic Surgery

The surgery scheduled for today was a facial rejuvenation. As opposed to Day 1, in which I learned about the physician-patient aspect of plastic surgery, today I observed the mechanics of a plastic surgery itself. I learned about the job of the surgeon’s assistant and of the anesthesiologist, Dr. Lee. Of course, I had to stand a foot back from the patient and be sure not to touch any of the sterile equipment. Nevertheless, I was able to get a clear view of what Dr. Ganchi was doing throughout by standing at strategic locations. Watching the surgery was quite an eye-opening experience. The skin was lifted, and the organic mass beneath it revealed. This, I must say, was the highlight of the day and a most memorable sight – the grotesque blood vessels, connective tissue, and lipocytes lying a mere skin layer below the facial façade that defines us. On one hand, the itinerary for the procedure seems logical and straightforward: open, fix, close. On the other hand, plastic surgery of the face requires such extreme dexterity of the hands, patience of the mind, and keenness of the eye. We are so sensitive to asymmetry between the right and left sides of the face that operations to reshape the face seem to me an extremely daunting task. The body was made to recover, said Dr. Ganchi. It seemed amazing to me, a testament to our miraculous biology, that we can heal after being cut open and sewn closed like so.
Coming to Dr. Ganchi’s office was an invaluable experience – Day 1 of seeing patients and Day 2 of observing surgery complement nicely to show different aspects of plastic surgery in a private practice setting. I learned much about the psychology, philosophy, obstacles and ethics of plastic surgery. I came in with the idea that patients, empowered by their plastic surgeons, have an “artistic license” to nip and tuck however they want. But I learned that there are fixed procedures, defined ways to make the human physique more aesthetically pleasing. A responsible surgeon, an experienced surgeon, will guide a patient to achieving a natural beauty, rather than follow his or her every desire.

Dr. Ganchi and Tracie

These two days were not only a great learning experience, but also very enjoyable. Every patient had a different story, so every minute brought something new; this reaffirmed my motivation in choosing medicine. Dr. Ganchi is not only a skilled surgeon, but also an exemplar of how a doctor should interact with patients, and a great mentor to talk to. He and his staff were very nice to accommodate a college student and very receptive to answer all my questions. Thank you to the office and to Career Services for making this possible! I enthusiastically recommend this Princeternship to those with an interest in cosmetic plastic surgery.