There are very few places in the world that I would rather live than in the city of Bristol. Because of the nature of medical training being so long and requiring you to move about on a regular basis I have had the chance to live in quite a few cities in the UK, but nowhere I have been to could lure me away from the fantastic mix of amenities, culture, interesting architecture, great location and sense of friendliness (all wrapped up in a city that actually feels more like a town) that is Bristol. I have however just come back from somewhere that could rival Bristol in terms of being interesting, historic, having a great location and providing you with a sense of overall well-being. In its role as Sweden’s capital, Stockholm has all of these attributes, and I have recently returned from a trip to visit the Akademikliniken, the institute started by the celebrated plastic surgeon Per Hedèn.
I was lucky enough to spend three full days there, two with Per himself, and one with Paolo Montemurro and Ulf Samuelson. The set up of the clinic was truly remarkable with everything being (as you would expect from the Swedish) of fantastic design which was not only professionally reassuring but also comfortable and welcoming. Interestingly, all of the staff, instead of being dressed in some sort of uniform, were expected to wear an Akademikliniken t-shirt (in various colours) and white or blue combat trousers! Although the combination sounds a little strange the effect was one of uniformity and professionalism but also at the same time being informal and welcoming. The clinic was set up over three levels in a building that had been part of the Stockholm exhibition in 1955. Per said that when he acquired the site in the early 2000’s although they were not allowed to touch the exterior of the building (it being the equivalent of a Grade II listed building) they had to redo the interior on all three levels, each being the equivalent size of a football pitch! The ground floor is a walk in skin care centre providing injectable skin treatments such as Botox and fillers, and dermatology consultant rooms. The first floor is dedicated to the outpatient department and consulting rooms together with the business offices and administrative staff that make the Akademikliniken (and its satellite operating facilities elsewhere in Sweden and walk in clinics it has throughout Sweden and Norway) run so smoothly. The top floor of the building houses a ward for approximately thirty patients, staff canteen (which has excellent food!), and operating theatres. There are a staggering ten theatres in the Akademikliniken which to put into context is the same number as in the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital where I work in the NHS!
My purpose for visiting Per Hedèn was to see how the man who was instrumental in helping to develop Allergan’s anatomic implant range used the implants both for breast augmentation and breast uplift and augmentation (augmentation mastopexy). I was lucky enough to be able to see Per perform several of these procedures whilst I was there, and took away many new concepts some of which Per and Paulo are hoping to publish in the very near future. In addition to work relating to breast augmentation, I also saw a wide variety of plastic surgery procedures and also took away some new ideas relating to fat grafting. The trip itself was a fantastic experience and I was made to feel welcome and part of the team throughout. I will be putting Per and Paulo’s words of wisdom in the educational section of the website in due course. So please feel free to check this out!
Finally I would just like to extend a huge thank you to Per, Paolo, Ulf and all the staff at the Akademikliniken for making the visit so worthwhile and enjoyable.