2_4_DiscoverBenelux_Issue16_April2015_ALL_Q9_Scan Magazine 1 20/03/2015 20:40 Page 82
Discover Benelux | Mini Theme | Beauty & Wellbeing
Looking good, feeling good As a female plastic surgeon Catherine Bergeret Galley enjoys rare empathy with her women patients, though she’s as passionate about what her field can do for men as for women – and not just their bodies. TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: DR BERGERET GALLEY
Catherine Bergeret Galley describes herself as a crusader for plastic surgery, as much for its psychological impact on patients as the physical benefits: “It’s important to the psyche as much as to the body. Many people, totally wrongly, think it’s an unnecessary luxury. But setting aside reconstructive surgery, whose value nobody questions, for those with normal bodies we can increase their quality of life – if you want to keep moving forwards in what you do you need to like yourself. We make a huge difference that way. We help people remove a handicap – physical and mental – in their life.” The surgery can be prompted by the patient’s wishes or deeper health reasons: “We do lot of plastic reconstructive surgery, like post-amputation work, and surgery on
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accident victims, or those whose bodies have been radically affected by operations on major tumours.”
Major commitment It’s a hugely demanding role. Her route to it was equally exacting, with commitments that make it rare for women to become plastic surgeons: “It’s a male-dominated sector – women are naturally as competent as men, but tend not to be involved in surgery as much because you need total dedication to your training over many years, not to get married and have children while you’re doing it. Even afterwards your life is still tough – my holidays for 10 years were all spent working in hospitals!” Although she always had plastic surgery as a goal, she first became a general sur-
geon, developing a speciality in maxillofacial operations. Her work in reconstructive surgery took in some extreme cases, dealing with wounded Iranian and Iraqi soldiers at one point. To broaden her knowledge Dr Bergeret Galley spent eight months in the USA, at UCLA: “It was good experience, but the way they work didn’t appeal to me. We’ve less financial pressure in Europe and are more creative; they work in an extremely structured way.”
Surgical and non-surgical Her work covers a broad range of procedures including the non-surgical: “I’m keen on non-surgical rejuvenation. I’ve published on this – using fillers, peelings, and botox for example – botox can produce fantastic results. Many patients aren’t ready to commit to surgery.
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