Inside the Personality of a Plastic Surgeon

By Breast Implant Center of Hawaii

Inside the Personality of a Plastic Surgeon

My mom used to facilitate these in-depth personality tests. She’d go into an organization and analyze personality types in order to better understand individual differences between leaders and employees. The premise is that when we know more about personality styles, we can foster better communication, motivational strategies, conflict resolution, and overall, a more productive work environment. The matrix takes into consideration things like whether someone is introverted or extroverted, how they view the world, and how they make decisions.

It can be very enlightening once you have an understanding as to why Mary makes you want to rip out all your hair every day, or why Jonathan can never get things done on time.

This got me thinking…

Have you ever worked with a surgeon? Like a cut-people-open surgeon?

If yes, you’ll relate. For those of you who haven’t, I will enlighten you. Surgeons are a rare breed, indeed.

To illustrate, I’ll tell you a story.

Dr. Larry is laser-focused as a plastic surgeon….but as a real-world human, it’s a different story 😉

Larry and I used to fly to the Big Island once a week to see patients. We’d meet at the airport in the morning, drive his BMW to the office in Kona, and return to Oahu later that evening. Larry was always late getting to the airport. Like, always. In his defense, though, he started his day about 3 hours earlier than I did because he always had patients to see before driving to the airport.

One day, he was running late, per usual. He called me as I was parking. He said he hadn’t begun seeing patients yet, but not to change our flight. How the F he’d planned on seeing 3 patients, then driving to the airport, parking, and getting through TSA all in time for the flight was beyond my comprehension. So, of course, I said, “sure, sounds great.” Eyeroll.

The flight is now boarding. The gate agents are looking at me in pity. “There’s that sad girl again. Always waiting on her boss.” I could see it in their eyes.

Larry calls me again and says he’s just parked.

In my head, I’m thinking of all the things I should do next. Call the office and have them reschedule patients because we’ll have to take a later flight. Call the airline and push our return flight back because we’ll be backlogged all day. Take a Xanax.

But again, Larry tells me not to do anything, that he’ll somehow miraculously make it here on time. THEN, he says to me (totally nonchalant), “so why don’t you just stand by the gate and see if you can’t make them wait awhile?”


Like what the actual F? What am I supposed to do?? Stand on the runway and wave my arms in despair? Take off my clothes and seduce the gate agents into holding the plane? Should I just ask Hawaiian Airlines nicely to make 120 or so paying passengers wait for my super important boss to get here? Ugh. Seriously.

To tell you the truth, I can’t even remember if we made the flight that day. I was so dumbfounded by his request that everything else is a blur. What I can say is that every week when we boarded that plane (me, mortified at always being last), the gate agents just laughed. They joked with him about his chronic tardiness, he’d joke back, I’d roll my eyes.

The point I want to make here is that cut-people-open surgeons don’t live in the real world. They are laser-focused on their craft and aren’t concerned with much else. They have a limited knowledge base of how things work, what things cost, or the minute details that go on behind the scenes in order to make things function (like rescheduling patients and calling the airline).

But, in order to be a cut-people-open plastic surgeon, there’s one other personality trait that’s essential. And that is: actually having a personality.

Plastic surgery is unlike any other specialty. It is so personal, emotional and intimate. No patient is going to trust you if you can’t make jokes, commiserate and empathize. It won’t matter to patients how good a surgeon you are if you take yourself too seriously. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and you can take that one to the bank.

People care that you care.

Besides; if you don’t care, what’s the point in doing it? Or anything?

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