Well, it was thirty five years in the making and over twenty years in the writing, re-writing, and endless editing. What started as one book became two. The first takes you on a two year roller coaster ride of emotions and new experiences as I learn the scope and breadth of my chosen profession and struggle to assimilate the mass of information and acquire the skills necessary to practice independently and, more important, competently and safely. It was the hardest two years of my life, coming after a full five years of training to become a general surgeon. There were times when I thought I would never make it.
Most people do not really know what a plastic surgeon is, what it takes to become a fully-trained, board-certified plastic surgeon. I understand because even after I decided to dedicate my professional life to this, I really had no clue myself. Plastic surgeons are not merely "nip and tuck" surgeons performing cosmetic surgery on an endless procession of vain, well-to-do patients. They manage trauma, some of it horrendous, like the little boy run over by a boat propeller. They treat jaw fractures and other facial fractures. They repair congenital deformities like cleft lips and palates. They reconstruct breasts lost to cancer. They treat the horrific deformities from severe burns. They do hand surgery, including replantation of amputated limbs. They reconstruct faces after accidents and removal of sometimes huge skin cancers. They are the only surgeons who truly work from the top of the head to the toes, assisting other surgeons with their unique skills.
If you have had even a little curiosity regarding this, arguably the most fascinating specialty in medicine, have considered plastic surgery or had it, or might have an interest in this as a career, or are simply looking for a good summer read, I invite you to check out The Making of a Plastic Surgeon- Two Years in the Crucible Learning the Art and Science.
R. T. Bosshardt, MD, FACS