Trying to figure out what kind of doctor you should become? Wondering what specialty you should choose? Then SheMD's Why Specialty Series is perfect for you! We're bringing you female physicians sharing WHY they chose their specialty. Today's post is on why Dr. Caplin chose the field of Cosmetic Surgery and why Cosmetic Surgery is a great field.
I am often asked by patients, how I ended up at Cosmetic Surgery Affiliates in Oklahoma City. When I was 17, I shadowed a craniofacial surgeon and decided that I wanted to become a craniofacial surgeon when I grew up, focusing on repair of cleft lip and palates. After extensive research, I learned that the best route was to become a dual degree (DMD and MD) oral and maxillofacial surgeon and then complete a fellowship in craniofacial surgery after general surgery.
I embarked on this journey. Along this very long path, I went on several mission trips to treat underprivileged people in third world countries, mostly children with cleft lip and palates. Along the way, I always enjoyed cosmetic surgery, but it was not until the end of my training during my general surgery residency where I truly had a change of heart, choosing cosmetic surgery over craniofacial surgery. I was getting ready to start applying for fellowship programs, and my mentors guided me toward cosmetic surgery instead. Cleft lips and palates occur in approximately one in 650 people here in the US. There are too many craniofacial surgeons for the number of patients in the US, and if I became a craniofacial surgeon I would be tied to an academic institution potentially without enough work to keep me busy. My mentors said, “Courtney, you love Cosmetics, you are good at it and well suited for it. Why not apply for a fellowship in Cosmetic Surgery, and be able to make a living, and then in your free time you can afford to go on mission trips to third world countries where there is great need and you can have the best of both worlds?” So that is what I did!
One of the reasons I have been so happy with my choice of a career in Cosmetic Surgery is that my patients are happy too! In many fields of medicine, patients are sick, injured, hurting or even dying. This is not the case with cosmetic surgery, as the vast majority of my patients are healthy and happy. Performing cosmetic surgery not only improves the external appearance, but also restores confidence to the individual. Surgery day is one of the happiest days of their lives and follow up appointments after surgery bring tears of joy from extremely grateful and deserving patients. It is an extremely rewarding feeling to be able to help a patient achieve a result which is typically in one of two categories: back to how they used to be or how they felt they should have been.
As with most types of surgery, you get to work with your hands, and get immediately gratification in performing surgery. You get to interact with many people in a procedure and task oriented field. The surgeries are elective and out-patient which overall means pretty good hours. Although I am “on-call” 24/7 for my patients, I can count on one hand the number of times I have had to see a patient after hours over the past 5 years as there are few if any true emergencies.