Interview with Dr Damian Marucci Sydney Plastic Surgeon

Trish talks to Dr Damian Marucci

Trish: I’m here today with Dr Damian Marucci. Dr Marucci’s one of Sydney’s leading and most highly trained plastic surgeons. Thank you so much for taking time to talk to us today.

Dr Marucci: No, thank you very much.

Trish: Awesome. Now, you’ve got rooms in Kogarah and you consult in Miranda as well.

Dr Marucci: That’s right.

Trish: You’re also a Director of the Aesthetic Day Surgery facility where most cosmetic and reconstructive procedures are to be performed on a day only basis.

Dr Marucci: Yes.

Trish: Can you tell us why this is a good thing for patients?

Dr Marucci: The Aesthetic Day Surgery is a fully accredited private hospital so what that means is that it has attained standards which are regulated by the government. It means that in terms of the patient safety there is no higher patient safety that one can have. Because it’s an accredited private hospital it also means that for surgical procedures that have an item number – and many plastic and cosmetic surgical procedures do have an item number attached for it – patients are able to get a rebate from Medicare and their health fund. At the Day Surgery we have consulting rooms, we also have rooms where we have cosmetic nurses who do injection of anti-wrinkle treatments and fillers. And we also have a laser. So having everything all in the one place just makes things far more easy for me and for the patients. It’s very discreet. It’s not like as if you’re going into a very large hospital with people walking around and they can see who’s who. There’s only one operating theatre, you only operate on one person at a time so it gives patients a degree of privacy but also most importantly it gives them that quality assurance.

Trish: And the safety; it’s all about the patient’s safety.

Dr Marucci: It’s all about patient safety. Everything we do is either under a full general anaesthetic; sometimes we do things under sedation. Some cases obviously we can do under local anaesthetic. So we’re not limited in terms of what we can do. When I first started out I was a bit sort of uneasy with certain cases doing them under… as a day only case. So there is a private hospital around the corner where if patients need to stay in overnight, they can stay in overnight. But what I found is that actually, as long as the pain relief is well controlled, both before and during the procedure, and obviously giving the patient adequate pain control afterwards, the patients have the option of going home and sleeping in their own beds. I give all patients my mobile number. You’ve got any problems any time of the day or night they can give me a call. And I can go in and see them and make sure they’re (ok).

Trish: That’s really reassuring because we’re always getting calls up saying “and this has just happened and I can’t a get hold of my surgeon…”

Dr Marucci: Exactly.

Trish: And people go into meltdown.

Dr Marucci: Exactly. No, having a contact is very important. We actually have a nurse who at the end of the day what she does, she calls everyone. Sort of in the evening of the surgery to make sure they’re ok, to make sure there are no problems. Cause sometimes patients might have a problem but they think, oh I don’t want to call, I don’t want to call Damian about this but then the nurse will say oh look, is everything ok? Oh, actually I’ve a bit of dribbling, or oozing or something and then I’ll give them a call and make sure everything’s ok nothing to worry about.

Trish: Perfect. And I have another question that I wanted to ask you if you don’t mind.

Dr Marucci: No, no it’s fine.

Trish: Just a quick run-down of the surgical, well, we know the surgical procedures, the non-surgical… So, when you say laser, is that for skin tightening or what sort of laser do you have in your rooms?

Dr Marucci: We are very lucky; we have a Cutera laser. We’re also very lucky we have two of the best cosmetic injecting nurses in Sydney; Marilyn Cassetta and Ginelle Kelly). They work out of a number of different plastic surgeons’ rooms. We’re very lucky to have them to work in our rooms.

Trish: I have actually heard that Marilyn is one the best injectors around ever.

Dr Marucci: Yeah. Well, she actually trains and she actually trained for the first plastic surgeons injecting in Sydney. So when it comes to fillers, and the use of the laser – Janelle and Kelly use that laser – basically I refer with great confidence.

Trish: Yeah.

Dr Marucci: So they do the full gamut of anti wrinkle injections and fillers. We work together: for example for the area around the eyes where I might be looking to do eyelid surgery of upper and lower or both. And then I might get them to do the anti wrinkle where they’ve developed frown lines with fillers and then the crows feet as well. Because of their expertise in injecting, to tell you the truth, I’m more than happy to refer patients on to them have the anti wrinkle injections and fillers.

Trish: Do what you’re good at and let someone else do what they’re good at.

Dr Marucci: Exactly. Because that’s all they do all day everyday.

Trish: I so agree with that philosophy.

Dr Marucci: Yeah.

Trish: Alright, so we love that your practice is known for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere which it’s obvious that’s because of you – and the fact that you see your patients a minimum of twice before surgery.

Dr Marucci: Yeah, I think that’s really important. First of all, the decision to undergo surgery, especially surgery which is very elective: so if someone has prominent ears, it’s bugged them for a long time… but it’s a lot to take in. And in many ways it’s a big decision to make. People always say, oh but it’s not a major surgery, but as one of my patients said to me, “any surgery on me is major surgery”. And that is true. And so I think for that reason alone, it gives patients a chance to digest what I’ve said and then for them to ask questions. People think that being a surgeon is all about operating, but it’s not. I mean part of it is about operating and hopefully having good surgical skills. But a big part about it is communication. And the communication is very much both ways. I need to know what the patient wants, what the patient is concerned about. And then the patient needs to know what I can do and what is realistic, and what is involved with the process. And often, you can’t get all of that across in one consultation. It takes 2 consultations. And, I just think that’s fine. I’m more than happy to do 3 consultations or 4 consultations. I’d rather have a patient who’s well-informed and who feels like all their questions have been answered and understand what I’m gonna do and why I’m gonna do it. The other thing about all surgery, particularly with plastic surgery, is that you’ll see fantastic results, but everyone does a surgery slightly differently but it doesn’t that mean that other people are doing it wrong and other are doing it right but you find that for you me doing this operation using this technique is what I do. And so it can be very confusing for patients. Obviously, many patients have seen a couple of surgeons. They come along and see you and say now what are you gonna do? And I say I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that. And then they think “I’m confused, because I saw Dr X and Dr X said not to do this, and not to do that.” And so, it’s important also that I explain and have the patient on board with what’s going on and so they understand not only what I’m going to do and how I’m gonna do it but they also understand the post operative course, when I’m going see them again; the whole thing about being contactable about when the stitches come out, the dressings come off; when they can go back to work or school; when the swellings going to go down. I always say, oh you know make sure you don’t have your nephew’s wedding coming up 2 weeks after the surgery, all that kind of stuff.

Trish: Ok. So it’s about keeping them informed, and we always suggest to them to go and see, you know two to three, so they can go oh yeah this feels right for me, or this doesn’t.

Dr Marucci: Without a doubt, without a doubt. And because like the plastic surgery community, it’s pretty small, we all know each other, and we are colleagues. On the one side of the coin you could say we’re competitive. But not so much that you that you would ever denigrate anyone else and say don’t get a second opinion. And I think that patients who have a second opinion who come along and see me it makes my job a lot easier because they already have a run down of what’s going on and often I will see patients who will say, “look, I’ve seen Dr X around the corner”. And I’ll just say to them look, he’s a great surgeon. What he’s told you is exactly right and he’ll give you a great result. And that’s it. And a lot of it is reassurance.

Trish: Ok. And just one last thing. I know you’re a regular blogger and I love that you are active in Q&A with patients and people inquiring about plastic surgery procedures and what they should do and what not. Can you tell us why you think it’s important in your role as a plastic surgeon to do that?

Dr Marucci: So much information is out there on the internet. And unfortunately a lot of it is wrong. When I think about my life, if I’m looking for some information I’ll go on google and find. And so, patients are doing exactly the same thing when it comes to plastic and cosmetic surgery. So, part of my role as a doctor is to be a communicator and is to hopefully be an educator. There are patients who may be too self-conscious about their concerns to ever actually go to see a doctor, and they may only feel comfortable by asking a question in the privacy of their own home in one of those question and answer sessions. So this is a way for me to communicate with patients, educate patients. And I think that the individual person that you help there’ll be another 15 or 50 who also read the blog and also get the same benefit. And hopefully, what I’m putting out there, obviously it’s my opinion, but hopefully it’s backed by science and hopefully it’s more correct than the information that they may have read elsewhere.

Trish: Absolutely.

Dr Marucci: And I’m always astounded by the number of patients who’ve read on a number of different sites something which is just wrong. The most common thing if you see patients who think that their breast implants need to be changed every ten years. I don’t know where that comes from? I don’t know where it’s come from but it’s ah… your implants don’t need to be changed unless there is a problem.

Trish: Ok. So they last forever?

Dr Marucci: They don’t last forever but they stay there… if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. It’s fine. If you are happy with your implants and they’ve been there… I used to know a lady who had her implants in for 35 years no issues and no problems they do not need to be changed.

Trish: Yup. My girlfriend too… 30 years and she’s like “no, I’m not going to touch them.”

Dr Marucci: Exactly.

Trish: Awesome!

Dr Marucci: No worries.

Trish: Well, thank you so much for taking the time. We’re here in beautiful Darling Harbour for the Rhinoplasty Symposium so there’s a whole heaps of plastic surgeons here and we’re learning from each other so, thank you so much.

Dr Marucci: No worries, thank you very much.

Trish: My pleasure.

Read more about Dr. Damian Marucci here.