Facial Plastic Surgery
Trust your Face to a Facial Plastic Surgeon?
Everyone knows that Otolaryngology consists of Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery. Many people are not used to the idea that Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery is a sub-specialty of Otolaryngology although the Ministry of Health now officially recognises this as a sub-specialty of ENT Surgery.
Controversy of "Facial Plastic Surgery"
After graduating from medical school, the trainee surgeon enters the Residency programme for ENT. Upon completion, the new Otolaryngologst is certified by the Ministry of Health as an “Otolaryngologist” or “ENT Surgeon”. The regulations require us to use these terms.
By common usage, an ENT surgeon who sub-specialises in ear diseases is an “Otologist”, while a “Rhinologist” is for the nose.
In the Singapore Medical Council register, there is no such entity as “Otologist” or “Rhinologist”. There is no sub-specialty designation. We are all “ENT surgeons”. There is only one exception.
What is the correct name?
In Singapore, we are required by MOH to use the term “ENT Surgeon trained in Facial Plastic Surgery”, although the term “Facial Plastic Surgeon” is used almost everywhere else in the world. This term came into existence after the release of this document in 2016. Dr Sim has been practising Facial Plastic Surgery since the mid-1990’s but was only allowed to describe himself as “ENT Surgeon trained in Facial Plastic Surgery” from 2016. Prior to that he was only an “ENT Surgeon”. This is why the clinic name only says “Facial Surgery”. Every profession has it’s internal politics.
ENT surgeons routinely do surgery on the Head and Neck area. We are familiar with the anatomy and function of this area. It makes sense for an ENT surgeon to specialise in cosmetic surgery of this part of the anatomy since correcting the appearance of a part of the face, can affect the function and vice versa. An example of this: a crooked nose can result in a blocked nose, correcting this not only improves the appearance, it also improves the function. A commonly requested procedure is to narrow a broad nasal tip. This procedures sometimes results in a blocked nose. It is important to preserve the airflow when narrowing nasal tips. Conversely, we also fix tips that have been narrowed too much.
Not everything about Facial Plastic Surgery is cosmetic. The discipline also involves treatment injuries, facial fractures and reconstruction after skin cancer surgery.