CURRENT, PAST AND FUTURE FELLOWS
I had the opportunity to assist a very high number of procedures, mainly rhinoplasty but also complex nose reconstruction and aesthetic facial surgery. With no doubt the Stuttgart fellowship has been a milestone in my professional growth and I Thank Dr. Haack, Prof. Gubisch and Dr. Fischer for all the invaluable teaching.
On the other side you have to be aware that all cases and meetings are discussed in German language; this is not a hands on fellowship and do not expect explanations unless you ask for it.
For these reasons you should already have a good knowledge of nose surgery or combine intensive study at the same time to take the most out of you time in Stuttgart.
I’ve been offered to rent one of the hospital’s room. They are small single bed rooms but definitely convenient (around 200€/month) if compared to normal rent prices in Stuttgart. Unfortunately their availability depends on the moment. Logistically the hospital is located 20/25 minutes walking distance from the city center, public transports are well organized.
Have a foreign experience in the specialisation I chose, was always a desire for me. And it was really nice! The program content in Vienna mainly addressed face surgeries and rhinoplasty, but I had the opportunity to see a large number of procedures, more and less complex, always assisted by an experienced surgeon. As I see in Brazil, it is not easy to manage people in their training period in a sophisticated aesthetic atmosphere. Sometimes the patients don’t accept to be observed or to have their expectations shared with a foreign person, completely different from the doctor they choose. And every time, since the beginning, I found myself incorporated into routine care, surgery and follow-up of patients. Besides that, I was really impressed with the number of surgeries we did in this period. Here in Brazil we have the statistics that we are the second place in the world in numbers of aesthetic surgeries (back only the USA). But In Vienna, Radetzky Villa and the other hospitals I went, I saw volume, technique and diversity. The fellow’s experience exceeded my expectations. I would do it again and recommend it to all colleagues who wish to improve their technique and know a surgical universe of excellence.
The apartment I rented was really nice. The location of the Radetzky villa is great, in a leisurely neighbourhood with supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants and public transport close-by. It’s a nice place to live, close to the hospitals.
The DAFPRS Fellowship is a very prestigious opportunity any young plastic surgeon needs to consider. It comes at the right time in one’s career just after finishing training. The transition from a trainee to a consultant is a very critical period in any one’s career and one needs guidance from mentors with years of clinical experience and world-renowned experts in the field. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of the 2018 recipient and thus received world class training.
The first part of my fellowship was spent at the Royal Free London Hospital with Mr. A Grobbelaar as my assigned supervisor. His microsurgical skills were amazing and his solutions to facial nerve palsy par excellent. I also benefited from his words of wisdom and being fellow countrymen, we also had interesting talks about our beloved country. On our non-clinic and non-theater days I joined other theatres and I was amazed by the number of DIEP flaps being done. Almost all consultant offered this service and I am grateful to Mr. Ghali, Mr. Marsh, Mr. Kang, Mr. Woollard, Mr. Sojitra and Mr. Hamilton for allowing me to join their theatre, Miss Jemec for inviting me to attend BFIRST activities, Mr. Chana for inviting me to his private list and Mr. Sivakumar for inviting me to the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital to learn about congenital hands. On a social note, London is a very vibrant cosmopolitan city with a lot of activities on offer. I would spend my weekends at the Emirates stadium watching my favorit team play or spend time shopping at Harrods or visiting the many other attractions
The second part of my fellowship was spent at the EMC, Rotterdam. I choose to join the Dutch Craniofacial Unit at the Sophia Children’s Hospital. The unit is world renowned for craniofacial surgery with leading experts such as Prof Mathijssen and Dr Versnel. I witnessed the use of spring mediated distraction for the first time after only reading about it in our textbooks. Dr Versnel also helped me settle in well as the secretary responsible for the organisation was off sick. On weekends one can take advantage of the Schengen VISA with Euro tours of famous cities in France and Belgium just a fast train away.
Overall my experience has been very good and this fellowship has taught me a lot in such a short period and helped shortened the steep learning curve and eased my transition from trainee to consultant and helped me develop the confidence needed.
It is one of a kind with different locations to choose from with each location run by expert in the field. For this reason, I would like to thank Dr van der Meulen not only for assembling such a prestigious program but also for choosing me to be part of it.
Applying for the DAFPRS fellowship was my best decision so far. I spend my first three months of the fellowship program with Dr Richter and his team in Wesseling, Köln, Germany. Everything’s was fantastic there. From the beginning they made me feel like a member of the team with the opportunity to scrub in and assist in many operations. Dr Richter was always very available and happy to explain in detail every step of the procedures and answer all of my questions. I have to say that he is a very gifted surgeon and he can be considered as one of the masters. It is truly a pleasure observing him operate. The clinical centre is very famous for eyelid surgeries, facelifts, body contouring after massive weight loss and exophtalmos surgery.
The daily program of the clinic included two to three operating tables covering every aspect of aesthetic plastic surgery. Also, very important was the pre-operative planning and post-op management of the patients. The accommodation was great, as they arranged an apartment for me on hospital campus, at less than a minute walking.
The second part of my fellowship program was in Tehran, Iran. Upon my arrival, everything was already organised in detail by Dr Nikoumaram. The whole Iranian Society of Plastic Surgery was there to welcome me and make me feel like home. Every day I had to visit a different hospital or clinic according to the operations program. All doctors gave me the opportunity to scrub in and assist them during the operations. All of them are really talented and world renown plastic surgeons covering every aspect of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery. Rhinoplasty was the main operation, giving justice to the fame of Tehran being “capital of Rhinoplasty”. The big advantage of Tehran as a participating unit of DAFPRS, is that there are many doctors involved in the program, which means that every day there are many options for surgeries.
Dr Nikoumaram helped me with my accommodation, by offering me two options, a room to a hotel or an apartment. I choose the apartment as it was more spacious, in a very beautiful area of the town with a nearby park and museum and I don’t regret it. Tehran is a beautiful city with many places to visit and very easy to move around. Whatever you choose, taxi or public transportations are very cheap. Personally, I used the snapp (similar to Uber).
Dr Nikoumaram was there for everything that might come up and it is truly a great host! I have to thank all other Plastic Surgeons that gave me the opportunity to learn and made me feel like home. I believe that my knowledge in aesthetic facial plastic surgery and especially in rhinoplasty improved enormously. Farewell Tehran, I promise that I will be back for visiting!
The wide spectrum of the training from Dr. Patrick L. Tonnard and Dr. Alexis Verpaele has helped me to learn the best in Aesthetic Surgery. The three months from January 2018 to April 2018 were special in terms of learning from the Masters in the speciality. I got exposed to the various aspects of regenerative medicine in my fellowship period. They were kind enough to share their wisdom, experience and knowledge with me. I learned the precise manner in which the operative procedures were performed every time the patient goes to theatre and the meticulous techniques they practiced. The post mastectomy breast reconstruction aspect of the fellowship with Dr. Peter Vermeulen was a good experience.
“First of all I would love to thank to DAFPRS for giving me an opportunity to be the part of this wonderful fellowship program and helping me learn the complicated procedures from the masters of the art in the world of Aesthetic surgery. It was the best time in my educational career. The faculty was the best possible which included Dr Michel Pfulg, Dr Serge Le Huu, Dr Jean Charles Bayol and Dr Phileep Blondeel and aesthetic physicians Dr Claudie Rigoulot and Dr Romain Leger. The faculty made sure that I understand all aspects of patient management which included patient consultation, counselling, planning the procedure and execution of the procedure. There was an active discussion post consultation on what could be other options for managing the patient in which they were open to my suggestions too. Majorly the surgeries included the Facelifts, Blepharoplasty, Liposuction, Lipofilling, Rhinoplasty, Breast Augmentation, Mastopexy, Breast Reduction, Abdominoplasty and many more. Dr Michel Pfulg was very good at facial plastic surgery and Dr Serge was very good at Breast surgeries. The non surgical procedures included Threadlift, Botox, Dermal fillers, Lasers and HIFU.
Oct 2017 Köln
Diksha Dixit (Bhiwani, India)
“It was a very enriching experience for me. From day 1 everybody in the team was very supportive and helpful taking out time to explain in english. Dr Richters unit is a high volume centre for body contouring with meticulous planning, execution and follow up of the same. It was interesting to assist and see various aspects of the surgeries performed (body lifts, abdominoplasty, brachioplasty, thigh lift, breast reduction, breast augmentation, breast lift, liposuction, face lift, blepharoplasty, otoplasty, etc) and learn the finer nuances. Observing Dr Richter perform face lifts and blepharoplasties was a joy and he took special care to explain the details of the operation and how minute differences in each blepharoplasty could produce drastic results. Being an exceptional teacher he took keen interest in my academic interests and patiently listened to all the queries. The Team was always ready to solve my questions and helping with all the books related to the topics. Their pre and post operative consultation and rigorous case discussions (though in German) where very visual and therefor fruitful to attend.
The department is known for its Exophthalmos correction surgeries. This is a special addition to your knowledge, gaining experience which is hard to come by elsewhere. They kindly arranged a comfortable hostel accommodation at very subsidised rates on the hospital campus. A special thanks to Dr Michael Wagner, who went out of his way to arrange things for me and guide me through those 3 months. The hospital was walking distance from the tram station which connects to Cologne and Bonn and supermarket was at a comfortable distance.
To sum up it is a complete centre to learn the holistic approach to aesthetic surgery. This fellowship has enhanced my theoretical knowledge and surgical skills, to approach things in a new way, the benefits of which will go long way in my practise for sure.”
Jul 2017 Dublin
Francisco Flores (Mexico City, Mexico)
“First I would like to thank you Dr. van der Meulen for giving me the opportunity to participate in this fellowship as well as Dr. Murray and Dr. Theopold in Ireland who were sharing their experience and knowledge with me, not to mention other friendly colleagues and collaborators in the Irish healthcare system (registrars and nurses) and craniofacial team ! About the location what can I say it’s Dublin!!!! Practical issues around there: housing little bit difficult to get sometimes seasonal/dependent. You might want to find something around the city centre where everything happens, but maybe you’ll find something farther that suits you better depending on your interests. Excellent public transportation even at night, good beer, great pubs, friendly people and lots to see around and do. About what really matters: There is plenty of craniofacial/maxillofacial/cleft palate surgeries and yes you work with true experts who share with you and teach you. A broad range of surgeries as well as clinics so enough exposure to craniofacial pathology. Also (when craniofacial is not enough for you) you might be invited to observe/participate in general plastics lists in some other hospitals around Dublin and some private practice by Dr Murray too! Perhaps three months is a little bit short for just craniofacial surgery since there are many things to learn in this particular area. Finally for me this fellowship made me evaluate myself too and see where you are lacking and where you’re not and yes broaden my indications, practical skills, knowledge and confidence as well as decision making as no plastic surgeon will be complete without exposure to all areas of plastic surgery. You will experience it all in Dublin!”
Apr 2017 Vienna
Dimitra Kotsougiani (Ludwigshaven, Germany)
“I had the unique chance to spend three months in Vienna for the DAFPRS fellowship under the supervision of Dr. Klepetko, Dr. van der Meulen and Dr. Worseg, who are all well-renowned plastic surgeons with extensive experience in facial reconstructive and aesthetic surgery. First, I would like to thank all of them for their kindness, hospitality and patience in explaining every little detail of the multiple operations we performed together; it was an exceptional experience.
During my fellowship I was given the opportunity to work at the Radetzky villa, which is run by Dr. Klepetko and Dr. van der Meulen. It is located in the suburbs of Vienna and offers a new operation room at the first floor. In addition, I worked with both doctors performing operations in a private hospital, which is close to Radetzky villa. Although the main focus of the DAFPRS fellowship lies on facial aesthetic surgery, consisting of face-lifts, blepharoplasties, nanofat-grafting and rhinoplasties, I was also able to assist in a lot of breast reconstructive procedures. I was always welcome to join the consultations, which gave me the option to follow the patient from the first visit. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge in the wrinkle treatment of the facial area with thread-lifts, fillers and botox. In parallel, I was also given the opportunity to work with Dr. Worseg and his team in a private hospital located in Doebling, which is easily accessible by train from the Radetzky villa. Dr. Worseg offers the broad variety of plastic surgery including facelifts, otoplasties, forehead- and browlifts, aesthetic breast surgery, liposuction and abdominoplasties. In both clinics I was always invited to scrub in as first assistant in all operative procedures, which allowed me to experience different surgical approaches. I have never experienced such a friendly and helpful environment as I did in these two clinics. Throughout my fellowship I stayed in the spacious apartment next door to the Radetzky villa. With the bicycle or the public transportation it takes 25 minutes to the city center where you can visit historical sites or go to one of the legendary classic concerts.
Dr. Klepetko, Dr. van der Meulen and Dr. Worseg are great teachers, who are always eager to share their tremendous clinical experience with the fellow and offer a one-to-one teaching. All of them have expanded my view on facial and aesthetic plastic surgery.
In conclusion, the DAFPRS fellowship is a unique opportunity to expand your theoretical knowledge and practical skills in facial plastic surgery, as well as in reconstructive and aesthetic breast surgery. The DAFPRS fellowship has greatly exceeded my expectations and I want to congratulate the program director Dr. van der Meulen for the establishment of this international fellowship. I have profited tremendously and I consider the DAFPRS fellowship as an obligate addition to any residency program for everybody who is interested in facial and aesthetic plastic surgery.”
Apr 2017 Salo
Karishma Kagodu (Bangalore, India)
“My stay in Salo was one of best experiences of my life. I stayed at “AL BORGO” bed and breakfast. This is the most convenient location- 5 mins walking from the clinic and very reasonable. The family who run the bed and breakfast were extremely warm and really took care of me. His clinic is uphill, 20min walk from downtown near the lake. The other option is LAKE GARDA HOSTEL, which is may be 5euro cheaper, but good 20min walking uphill from the lakeside , but its ok if you have vehicle to travel around. Salo is wonderful town along Lake Garda and has lots of activities in summer months especially starting June. One can explore lake Garda and Dr Botti gave us lots of advice on where to eat, what to look out for.
Dr Botti’s clinic is an amazing set up, well co-ordinated staff and he does surgeries from Monday to Thursday. 2 theatres running usually side by side . his daughter Chiara is plastic surgeon too and even she operates very well and I got to learn lots from her. Dr Botti has been a fantastic teacher, and, if one shows interest, he loves to teach. His sense of humour, hospitality and generosity was overwhelming. One can get to learn everything about face lifts, browlifts, cervicofacial neck lifts. Besides face related procedures, he specialises in Breast aesthetic surgery. Thus, I learnt lots on breast surgery too, which was the added bonus. Dr Botti has library for us students, filled with books and CD’s of various procedures, so one can spend time there and learn even more. He was very open to discussion and he would clear any doubt. Friday to Saturday are consultations or he goes for conferences at times, so we were free to travel around or use his clinic to read. One may not be able to take part in his consultations, as the patients want their privacy, but you ca request him to show markings for cases, and he discusses every case with pictures pre-op.
In the end, I would just say that Dr Botti is a wonderful teacher and I have gained all the confidence and improved my skills in face and breast aesthetic surgery after staying with him. I have a special bond with the VILLA BELLA CLINIC now!”
Feb 2017 Rotterdam
Fadi Zawawi (Amman, Jordan)
“A young plastic surgeon usually has an adequate surgical skills and a good back up of knowledge. But it is mostly the ability to use the skills and knowledge in the right way at the right time, the ability to analyse each patient’s complaint and choose the best way one can achieve the best possible results, which is lacking. All those are the details needed to make young surgeons develop into a confident and successful plastic surgeon. And this can be best done by being exposed to a high load of surgeries and working with and learning from great surgeons. And luckily I did during my fellowship in Rotterdam. My focus during the fellowship was on the aesthetic facial plastic surgery and thanks to the help and generosity of Dr. Jacques van der Meulen, Dr. Heike Klepetko and Dr. Leon van Adrichem I managed to go back home with the maximum benefit I could get which will effectively change and enhance my practice in the future. My tutors were all generous in answering my questions and not once they hesitated to explain even the tiny details.
The diversity and number of surgeries done during my stay was really impressive, from the aesthetic facial plastic surgery to the post oncology and trauma reconstructive surgery and to the paediatric plastic surgery, you can find a new and interesting thing every day. It makes you wish to be able at many places at the same time so you don’t miss the chance of watching and being a part of those sophisticated surgeries and that was the daily routine. The Microsurgery skillslab with the extremely nice staff was also of the great remarks in my fellowship. I definitely recommend this fellowship for every young plastic surgeon.”
Jan 2017 Stuttgart
Karan Shetty (Bangalore, India)
“ The DAFPRS fellowship, thanks to Dr.Meulen has opened my mind to the pursuit of excellence. I spent my 3 months in Stuttgart under the leadership of Professor Gubisch, Dr.Fischer & Dr.Haack. Reviewing a centre for its work which has been a department par excellence for the past 35 years would be belittling them, except that it opens a young plastic surgeon to the possibility of near perfection with focus, hard work & innovation.
The entire department and nursing staff are helpful and kind despite the majority of speech being in German(note). The accommodation is cheap and big enough for 1 person. The Metro system is excellent, so getting around isn’t a problem. German food is excellent and try the beer in the different breweries, sublime. Little towns like Tübingen and the Black forrest are to be visited along with the mineral baths. I was here in the winter which can get a tad frustrating for someone who isn’t used to sub-zero temperatures.
Oct 2016 Salo
Francesco Mori (Arezzo, Italy)
During my last year of residency I have had the possibility to spend 3 months at Villa Bella Clinic under the supervision of Dr. Giovanni Botti who is an internationally renowned plastic surgeon with extensive experience in facial aesthetic surgery. He is an enthusiastic teacher and a brilliant man. He explained me the principles, the technical aspects and the tricks of every single surgical procedure, generously sharing his knowledge during the entire period of my fellowship. I was involved primarily in facial aesthetic surgery, specially face lift, rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, brow lift and lipofilling; but also I had the opportunity to assist breast aesthetic surgery, such as breast augmentation, mastopexy and breast reduction. It was a great learning experience that further expanded my knowledge and my professional perspective. Villa Bella is a modern and well-equipped clinic with two operating rooms. The staff is professional, dynamic and friendly, always making me feel very welcome to scrub and join the operations. I would also like to thank Dr. Chiara Botti, Giovanni Botti’s daughter, who is a great plastic surgeon too. Every day she kindly taught me the most advanced techniques and the state of the art in aesthetic plastic surgery. Attending the fellowship of the Dutch Association for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is a wonderful opportunity to grow personally and professionally. It is a one of a kind experience that definitely I would recommend to all my colleagues.
Apr 2016 Thrissur/Rotterdam
Lee Seng Khoo (Rio de Janeiro, Brasil)
I completed the 6 months fellowship under the DAFPRS program spending 3 months in Thrissur, India and an additional 3 months in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
In Thrissur, India I worked under the direction of Dr Hirji Adenwalla and Dr PV Narayanan at the Charles Pinto Center of Cleft Lip, Palate & Craniofacial Anomalies based at the Jubilee Mission Hospital in Thrissur, Kerala. The Charles Pinto Cleft Center is a Smile Train partner and Dr Adenwalla has been performing cleft surgeries exclusively for the past 15 years. The center has logged over 16,000 cleft related surgeries being performed over 50 years. Dr Hirji Adenwalla is very much a Renaissance man, performing meticulous surgery (at the age of 86 years old) -explaining the intricacies with much enthusiasm sprinkled with wisdom and surgical tales and history. Even at this age, Dr Adenwalla is not averse to criticism and is open to learn or adapt a new approach. Dr Adenwalla has quite recently adapted the technique taught to him by Dr Philip Kuo Ting Chen from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital named the Furlow-Chen pharyngoplasty for Velopharyngeal Incompetence (VPI), which he found has superseded his previous approaches. His chosen prodigy Dr PV Narayanan is equally proficient with the scalpel and also has an encyclopedic knowledge on cleft/craniofacial disorders and surgical history. Surgeries are performed 3 times a week with 3 days of outpatient clinics. Ward rounds and the outpatient clinics provided excellent teaching sessions by the team led by Dr Hirji Adenwalla. Scrubbing in to participate actively requires temporary registration with the Medical Council of India, which I fortunately managed to obtain in time for the fellowship. (Advise: Do not leave this to the eleventh hour). During my fellowship; I also attended surgeries with maxillofacial surgeon Dr Philip Matthew who performs alveolar bone grafting, transpalatal distraction and orthognathic surgery for cleft disorders. Dr M Pasupathy and Dr Vasant Radhakrishnan who were also cleft surgeons on the team were very hospitable and a pleasure to scrub in with. Dr Pasupathy introduced me to Dr Varghese Mani who is considered the Father of Orthognathic Surgery in India; whereby I managed to attend his surgeries performed at night at a private center. I remember those nights with much gusto whereby Dr Pasupathy will cruise down the roads in Thrissur in his motorcycle with me as the pillion rider; wind blowing down our faces after the end of Dr Mani’s surgeries. With the connections of Dr Adenwalla and Dr Narayanan; I also managed to attend the 2nd Amrita Craniofacial Update Course with hands-on training in management of craniosynostosis deformity / Midface & calvarial distraction osteogenesis on stereolithographic models. I found my time in India very memorable and have learnt many valuable techniques and management pearls in both cleft and craniofacial disorders.
Following my stint in India; I continued the second phase of my fellowship in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. As my major interest was Craniofacial Surgery; I was based primarily at Sophia Children’s Hospital at Erasmus MC. Scrubbing in for various cranial and forehead deformities, craniosynostosis, hypertelorism, ear and nasal reconstruction with Prof Irene Mathijssen and Dr Sarah Versnel were highlights of time spent at Erasmus MC. The craniofacial techniques developed at Erasmus MC were distilled from years of experience and some notable techniques utilized here included the use of spring mediated cranial vault remodeling and the absence of the use of plates/screws in favour of absorbable sutures after cranial bone remodeling for intracranial procedures. Every week the team meets up to discuss the following week’s operative plan and as courtesy to the fellow, these sessions are held in English. Apart from craniofacial surgery at Erasmus MC, I managed to observe/assist some microsurgical cases at the adult hospital Erasmus MC-Daniel den Hoed with Dr Marc Mureau namely DIEP and PAP flaps for breast reconstruction surgery; and facial reanimation with gracilis & cross face nerve grafting. In addition; I completed over 40 hours of lab training in microsurgery on the animal model based on the Acland’s course conducted by Ms Manja Muijtjens and Ms Esther Fijneman at the Erasmus MC SkillsLab.
On other days where no craniofacial surgeries were scheduled; I attended surgeries at the Velthuis Kliniek with Dr Jacques van der Meulen and Dr Heike Klepetko where the entire spectrum of aesthetic plastic surgery was performed. Dr van der Meulen brings his expertise from a background as a craniofacial surgeon performing facial aesthetic surgery at an extremely high level (in particular rhinoplasties). Coming from Brazil with a strong aesthetic component in my residency training and having performed many rhinoplasties myself and assisting many other masters; I still learnt many invaluable tips and tricks in aesthetic and functional rhinoplasty from Dr van der Meulen which I will implement directly after this fellowship. (Interesting note- Dr van der Meulen was once a cleft fellow of Dr Hirji Adenwalla several decades ago of which Dr Adenwalla says fondly, “He came as a student but returned as a teacher.” Dr van der Meulen returned to India and shared his skills in cleft rhinoplasty with his former mentor after completing his training in craniofacial surgery). Dr Heike Klepetko with her longstanding experience as a reconstructive breast microsurgeon, performs excellent breast and body contouring surgery with her meticulous surgical skill. They were both a class act and eager to teach the fellows patiently and conscientiously.
To top it all, I also had a great opportunity to work with Dr Jeroen HP Stevens from the Bergman Clinics in The Hague. Dr Stevens performs all his surgery with an element of sprezzatura . Dr Stevens is a gung ho mentor who will challenge you to rethink what you thought you knew about plastic surgery. I assisted Dr Stevens on various cases and accumulated a wealth of knowledge on “organic surgery”, 1.2.3.D concept for the face, lipofilling, body contouring and rejuvenation with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), Stromal Vascular Fractionate(SVF) and stem cell modalities. Apart from surgery; Dr Stevens also teaches fellows on business aspects of running a private practice and the importance of publishing academic work to remain relevant in the industry.
In conclusion; I can highly recommend this fellowship to any plastic surgeons with a particular interest in facial surgery of the face; be it aesthetic or reconstructive. The flexibility of this program allows the fellow to focus on his or her particular areas of interest.
Apr 2016 Salo
Naveem Kumar (Ponticherri, India)
It has been memorable experience and I thank you for giving me this opportunity to be in Villa Bella clinic. Also, express my gratitude to Dr Botti, Dr Chiara and Dr Antonio for guiding me during fellowship. With respect to clinic, it has well equipped with advanced instruments to give comprehensive care for patients who come for cosmetic surgery. There is steady input of patients during my 3 month postings. Grossly, they do facial plastic and breast surgery in addition to abdominoplasty, liposuction and opd procedures (botox, fillers and lasers).
The access to library is an added advantage where I found books authored by Dr Botti. By going through textbooks and observing surgery helped me to understand the nuances of aesthetic surgery more clearly. Also, I had an opportunity to scrub with Dr Botti, Dr Chiara and Dr Antonio. They make sure to explain all key steps and kind and patient to answer all my queries. I witnessed some of finest skills of Dr Botti while doing facial surgery.
I again, thank Dr Botti for giving me an opportunity to participate in Breast workshop which was held for three days during my stay. The workshop was attended by many eminent plastic surgeons who shared their experience. Overall, I felt it as one of the best Aesthetic centers to be as a fellow, to understand the basic concepts of aesthetic surgery. I would definitely suggest for a beginner who wants to grow his career in cosmetic surgery to be in Villa Bella as a fellow.
Apr 2016 Rotterdam/Stuttgart
Christos Agiannidis (Pireus, Greece)
This fellowship is highly recommended for everyone interested in facial plastic surgery, its on of the greatest professional experiences I had. The amount of experience you get during the fellowship is vast. Moreover you get it from some of the best plastic surgeons in the field.
Moving around in Rotterdam was easy, you get all sorts of transportation means, buses, trains, metro, tram, bike. The same goes for Stuttgart, lots of different transportation, the airport in Stuttgart is really close to the city. Both cities were amazing, vivid, safe and friendly. The weather in Rotterdam was rather rainy during my time, in Stuttgart on the other hand was really sunny and nice. Language is not an issue, everybody speaks English even for everyday interactions. Accommodation in Rotterdam was excellent, all the apartments are located at walking distance from Erasmus. The same for Stuttgart, good, clean, organised accommodation, you don’t have to worry about anything. The cost of living depends on what you want to do. You can’t say that Rotterdam is a cheap city, but you can manage well if you have realistic expectations and manage your budget. I found Stuttgart a bit cheaper on average goods, but again it’s all about management. An advice to future fellows: don’t bring your car in Rotterdam, it’s a very green city so the monthly cost for parking is equivalent to an apartment rental! On the other hand having a car in Stuttgart is not a problem, you can move in the center and around more freely. A plus for Rotterdam is it’s location. Being in the center of Europe it’s easy to travel during weekends to all sorts of different places.
The training is designed to be one on one and more important it stays like that and the trainers are very keen on teaching without hesitation. It’s a hands-on experience, you scrub and participate actively, no training through a looking glass, the fellow can do a lot, depending on the status of the operation. To be honest, you have so many different choices for surgery each day so that even if you miss something one day you will definitely have the chance to attend another day. It’s all about cherry picking! My advice to future fellows: all the different surgeries are really tempting, decide on which you prefer to focus, time unfortunately is finite. The supervisors are very up to date and good at what they do, I had the chance to see live follow ups of their cases and moreover they use all the modern techniques and modalities to achieve the best result. I felt very welcome and all the people in the hospital and clinics were very supportive. Especially the colleagues in Stuttgart embraced me very warmly (many thanks to my Schwäbisch friends!).
To conclude, I think it was a great opportunity and I feel very honoured being chosen amongst many to participate in this fellowship. I feel I grew surgically a great deal due to the exposure I had and moreover I had a really great time in both places during the program.
Apr 2016 Genth
Viswanat Polineni (Hyderabad, India)
The team of Dr Patrick Tonnard and Dr Alex Verpaele at Coupure Centrum, Ghent are pioneers in the field and yet are so down to earth and approachable that you feel totally at home. The wide range of cosmetic surgeries ranging from Facelift (MACS), Rhinoplasty, Abdominoplasty, fat grafting, Blepharoplasty along with office procedures of Botox and Fillers gives an excellent first hand exposure (I scrubbed up for almost every case as first assistant). They are ably supported by Nursing staff (Kristel in particular) and also the secretarial staff (Elien and co.) who makes your stay in the beautiful city of Ghent memorable.
Abdolreza Khorshidifar (Teheran, Iran)
“It was an interesting experience and opened new horizons to me. Villa Bella is a very well equipped clinic with kind staff, which is directed by Dr Botti, a very polite teacher who taught me enthusiastically and answered my questions patiently. I learned a lot in Villa Bella clinic with exposure to a wide range of procedures especially breast and facial plastic surgery.
Furthermore, some other advantages were a good library with many books and DVDs in the clinic and visiting surgeons from around the world that I could make new friends and be in contact with them for future collaboration. I would like to thank Dr Botti and his colleagues for everything!”
Jan 2016 Rotterdam
Sanjay Naran (Pittsburg, USA)
“The Dutch Association for Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship provides a unique opportunity to expand your exposure to a wide range of congenital, reconstructive and aesthetic cases, in both state hospitals and private practices. The Fellowship allows you to customize your schedule, and the volume and diversity of cases at the participating units provides the opportunity to “cherry pick” those of particular interest.
Sophia Children’s Hospital, and the team at The Dutch Craniofacial Unit provided the opportunity to follow multiple craniofacial surgeons (Drs. Mathijssen, van Adrichem, and Versnel), each of whom are enthusiastic and eager to teach. Of particular interest was their application algorithm of the full range of craniofacial correction techniques (distraction, springs, open calvarial remodeling, etc.). Oncologic head and neck reconstruction and other general plastic surgery cases were also available to participate in at the adult hospital at Erasmus MC, and very educational. There is also the opportunity to take advantage of a state-of-the-art and fully equipped microsurgical skills lab, which is staffed by experienced instructors that provide one-on-one guidance and training.
Dr. Stevens, at The Bergman Clinic, is very eager and excited to teach his approach to facial cosmetics. He has a high volume practice, and provides detailed instruction and commentary for his procedures. He also provided the opportunity to participate in research projects that were ongoing at the time.
Drs. Klepetko and van der Meulen, at the Velthuis Clinic, have a diverse practice that includes facial cosmetic surgery as well as breast augmentation, reduction, reconstruction revision, and abdominoplasty. Dr. van der Meulen’s interest in rhinoplasty is particularly rewarding. Drs. Klepetko and van der Meulen are awesome teachers, enthusiastic and inviting, and provide one-on-one instruction with detailed insight and training.
In all, the Fellowship was an incredibly rewarding experience and proved to be an integral part of my personal plastic surgery training.”
Jan 2016 Rotterdam
Alberto Còrdova (Lima, Peru)
“By the end of March 2016, I had finally completed my facial plastic surgery fellowship in Rotterdam (The Netherlands). In retrospect, it was an incredible three-month and my goals were absolutely met. During my time there, I worked closely with Dr. van der Meulen and Dr. Klepetko at Velthuis Kliniek. They provide not only a high caseload in facial procedures, but also in body contouring surgery. On the other hand, Dr. Stevens at Bergman Kliniek has a special interest in facelift and he frequently uses liposuction and lipofilling in facial rejuvenation. In addition, at the Sophia’s Hospital Dr. Versnel provides a detailed insight in craniofacial surgery which is certainly one of the most powerful surgeries of the face. Learning how to safely approach facelifts using various techniques was a critical aspect of my training over this time period. Many tricks that bring outstanding results are usually discussed intra-operative by these doctors. However, one of the most unique aspects of the program is the wide range and depth of opportunities. I want to particular extend my gratitude to Dr. van der Meulen for giving me the opportunity to rotate with Dr. Eric Arnaud at Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris to solidify my experience in approaches to the craniofacial skeleton, as well as, to Miss van Woerkom, secretary of the Craniofacial Unit who is a key piece for the fellows.”
Oct 2015 London
Mustafa El Helw (Cairo, Egypt)
“DAFPRS is a great respectable fellowship, it gave me a good chance to strengthen my weak points in Facial plastic surgery and to be introduced to great plastic surgery consultants. The Royal Free Hospital is one of the best hospital in London. It’s plastic surgery department has a lot of good consultants with a wide range of experience. Every day I was learning something new from them and at the end of the fellowship period I got a lot of experience and self confidence in facial plastic surgery, mainly reconstructive, as they were showing kind interest for teaching.”
Oct 2015 Rotterdam
Jocelin Lledo (Manila, the Philipines)
“Words cannot aptly describe how much I appreciate the opportunities this fellowship has opened up for me. Being one of the fellows to rotate in Rotterdam during a three-month period from October to December 2015 was an exhilarating and unforgettable experience for which I am truly grateful. First off, I would like to thank Dr. Jacques van der Meulen for choosing me as one of the recipients of the fellowship posts. Attending this fellowship was an excellent opportunity for me to acquire international experience and develop my knowledge and proficiency in craniofacial, cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. The wide-ranging and diverse scope covered in the fellowship has expanded my professional as well as personal perspective. Special thanks are in order to Mrs. Perlita van Woerkom, who facilitated practical arrangements for me and was very generous and hospitable especially during my first few weeks of adjusting to my new environment.
This invaluable experience has given me the privilege of assisting and observing Dr. van der Meulen, Dr. Heike Klepetko and Dr. Jeroen Stevens in their cosmetic procedures at their private clinics. They were all very enthusiastic teachers and generous with their time and knowledge, and the “trade secrets” they have imparted to me and my co-fellow Dr. Radek Lhotsky from Czech Republic have added immensely to the treasure trove of new techniques and skills we brought home for our own private practices. At the Sophia Children’s Hospital, I am grateful and honored to have assisted and observed Dr. Irene Mathijssen and Dr. Sarah Versnel in various procedures in the fields of craniofacial and congenital surgery. For a young craniofacial surgeon such as myself, having hands-on experience in cranial vault remodeling, otoplasty and cleft surgery was fascinating and exciting every single time. At the Adult Hospital of the Erasmus Medical Center, Dr. Marc Mureau and Dr. Mathijssen provided me opportunities to witness varied reconstructive procedures indicated for oncologic, trauma or congenital deformities. All our mentors were inspiring, sincere and generous and I feel very fortunate to have worked and trained under such extraordinary plastic surgeons. I also had the chance to learn and practice some skills at the Microsurgery Skills Lab of the Erasmus Medical Center. The staff members were commendable for their patience and generosity in teaching basic microsurgical principles, most especially Mrs. Esther Fijneman. The residents of the Department of Plastic Surgery were friendly and very helpful. Discussions during weekly conferences and in the operating room were conducted in English. Operating room lists from six institutions were sent one to two weeks ahead of their schedule, allowing me to plan ahead so that I could maximize the training I could gain in a period of three months. The flexibility of the schedule and the wide range of procedures one can choose from were amazing and contributed to making me learn as much as I could during the fellowship.
The fellowship has broadened my experience in all aspects of facial plastic surgery and has given me more confidence and new skills as I begin my practice in my home country. Aside from the increased surgical knowledge and skills, it has fostered friendships and mutual connections among plastic surgeons from different countries and it may have unlocked possible future collaborations between Dutch and international plastic surgeons. I would definitely recommend to all young plastic surgeons interested in facial plastic surgery to pursue this fellowship training!”
Jun 2015 Köln
Sabur-Sarah (Rabat, Morocco)
“Last week I finished my fellowship programme in Dr Richter plastic surgery department in Wesseling , I learned a lot of techniques not only in facial plastic surgery but also in breast and bodycontouring surgery ,and I had the chance to learn the basis of eyelid surgery. The language wasn’t an obstacle for me because all the team translated precisely every step in the surgery for me to english and also I tried to learn the instruments name in German so I could help them in surgery. In the theoretical part, all the team offered me different books and journals of plastic surgery in English which helped me to better understand the techniques they used. I thank you again for this huge opportunity that you offered for me and for all my colleagues in Morocco for whom I will do my best to pass on everything I have learned in this fellowship.”
Jun 2015 Gent/Stuttgart
Haldun Kamburoğlu (Ankara, Turkey)
I did first half of my fellowship in Gent with Dr. Tonnard and Dr. Verpaele between June and September 2015. It was a great experience to work with them. All staff were like a family and they were very polite. I especially would like to thank chief nurse Christel and manager of the clinic Elien for their kind helps. During the fellowship in Gent, the philosophy that you will learn is, how to manage aesthetic problems with less complication and in a most effective way. The city was a beautiful medieval city and in the middle of the summer there was a great festival. Also Dr.Tonnard and Dr.Verpaele organise very good parties as well. I would like to thank Dr. Tonnard and Verpaele once again for this great opportunity.
Second half of my fellowship was in Stuttgart Marien Hospital between October and December 2015. I have worked with Prof.Dr.Dr.Gubisch, Dr.Fischer and Dr.Haack. All team, including residents and nurses (especially thanks for Valentine) were very helpful. You can learn a lot of things about rhinoplasty in this wonderful clinic. You will definitely find the answer of how to get a primary rhinoplasty result in a secondary rhinoplasty surgery. The place that I stayed was five minutes walk away from the hospital. Social activites that were organised by residents and staff were great. On behalf of all clinic, I would like to thank Prof.Dr.Dr.Gubisch for his hospitality and mentorship.
Jun 2015 Rotterdam
Supasid Jirawatnota (Bangkok, Thailand)
“The DAFPRS program is really an enormous variety of operative procedures involving, of course, facial reconstruction and aesthetic, craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery, and also other reconstructive and aesthetic surgeries of the body (I made up my mind to explore only in the field of interest and what I supposed to do in real life back home to avoid being an extra year of rotating resident). The aesthetic part obviously makes this fellowship different. I managed to see and assist in various procedures, for example; rhinoplasty with Dr. Jacques van der Meulen, Lipofilling and facial rejuvenation with Dr. Jeroen Stevens, Breasts and body contouring with Dr. Heike Klepetko, these are just to name a few. These operations need time to learn and allow no learning-curve mistake, so make sure you look and memorise attentively.
For those who are doing head and neck tumor reconstruction, I highly recommend Daniel den Hoed Cancer Center as there is every type of defect you can imagine and you can learn the concept and artistry of aesthetic facial reconstruction from the master, Dr. Marc Mureau. All other attending plastic surgeons in Erasmus MC are extremely experienced and efficient. I was able to learn from true experts not only surgical techniques but also planning, problem solving, and the most important for me as a young surgeon, decision making. The given operative lists are in Dutch but you can understand them with only little helps just for the first couple days and then, fellows, just choose what you want to see or ask and you will be welcomed to scrub in.
So far away from home, Rotterdam was a pleasant, organized, and friendly city. I felt safe and settled in easily. Thanks to all generous and hospitable surgeons and staffs everywhere I got in. For young plastic surgeons, especially those with some practice background, who interest in facial aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, this fellowship will boost your experience and provide exposure to real challenging patients through the intensive 3 months.”
Apr 2015 Vienna
Aline Wickert (São Paolo, Brasil)
“I had an unique experience participating in a three months hands-on-fellowship in Vienna. The fellowship was well organised in every small detail, making me feel at home at the same time I was learning from great professionals. I cannot thank Dr Klepekto, Dr van der Meulen and the whole Radetzky Villa team enough for such kind and friendly hospitality. I had the opportunity to work with Dr Klepetko and Dr van der Meulen, both great professionals and fantastic professors, making all possible efforts to share their knowledge with me, showing different approaches/techniques depending on each specific case. And the opportunity to join pre and pos-op consultations, was a very important part of the fellowship, which surely helped preparing myself for my own future practice. I also had the opportunity to work with all Plastic Surgeons from Worseg Clinics. Both Clinics, Radetzky and Worseg, have a great team from whom you can (should) learn so much, not only acquiring and improving your skills, but also becoming a better professional, with all kindness, friendship, professionalism, and respect they treat their patients, hospital team, colleagues and myself. This fellowship program, combining experience in two Clinics, plus surgeries in three other Hospitals in the city, was a very interesting proposal to enrich all possible knowledge and experience we can benefit from. I was exposed to a variety of surgeries such as facelift, blefaroplasty, rhinoplasty ( closed and open), endoscopic forehead lift, neck lift, otoplasty, brown lift, neck liposuction, breast augmentation, breast reduction, liposuction, abdominoplasty, fat graft, mammoplasty, botox and fillers procedures, etc. I also participated in the Dr Tulp Course, organized by Dr Jacques van der Meulen in Utrecht, the Netherlands. This year the course focus was on Facial Plastic Surgery. I do not have enough words to explain how great this fresh cadaver Course was, with great international professors lectures. I can surely say it was the best Course I have ever attended. I will always be thankful to everyone that made this experience so incredible.
I would strongly recommend the DAFPRS facial fellowship to any junior plastic surgeon! If you aim to improve your surgical skills, to upgrade your knowledge, to learn different techniques and approaches, reaching a new level, this is the experience you NEED!”
Apr 2015 Rotterdam
Lax Bhandari (Bangalore, India)
“I had a wonderful time during my fellowship in Rotterdam. The participating units namely, Erasmus MC (with three hospitals: Sophia children’s hospital, Adult hospital, DDH Cancer Hospital), Velthuis aesthetic clinic (Rotterdam); Bergman aesthetic Clinic (Rijswijk) and Utrecht Medical Center (Utrecht) emailed us their weekly operation schedule. We, the fellows are free to select the surgeries of our choice and visit the respective centres. In the operation room, fellows get to scrub in as first assistant. The consultants explain the procedures and share their vast experience, which are invaluable for the young surgeons. There are no ‘duties’ or ‘on calls’ assigned to the fellows. In addition to the clinical learning, we can also have fine tune our microsurgical skills in the skills lab or learn about literature research through the Pub Med course in the library. There are ample opportunities to write a paper or visit a neighbouring hospital. The accommodation provided was very comfortable with all essential amenities. The rent was subsidised and I paid only the difference. This two bed room apartment is situated close to Sophia hospital and other places are easily accessible by the well organised public transport system. In addition we are provided with a bicycle to commute and explore Rotterdam. My living expenses were roughly 1000 euro per month (500 rent, 200 transport, 200 Groceries, 100 others). My deepest gratitude to Dr. van der Meulen, Dr. Klepetko and Dr. Stevens and all other consultants for their guidance and teaching.”
Apr 2015 Rotterdam
Putri Lakhsmi (Surabaya, Indonesia)
“DAFPRS fellowship program is a One-stop educational center for young plastic surgeons. It offers us the opportunity to learn at multiple plastic surgery centers from all over Europe with many world-renowned International Experts. I am currently working as a lecturer/clinical plastic surgeon and I am positioned in the Craniofacial surgery division. My 3 months fellowship in Rotterdam enabled me to pursue enhancement of knowledge, skill and experience in facial reconstructive and aesthetic surgery.
The fellowship program took place mainly at Erasmus Medical Center, which is the largest Dutch Craniofacial Unit with experts like Prof. Irene Mathijssen, Dr. Sarah Versnel, and Dr. Leon van Adrichem. I also had the opportunity to study in Utrecht Medical Center that has the largest cases for Microtia in the Netherlands and famous with its living legend Ear reconstructive surgeon, Prof. Moshe Kon. Other than Erasmus and Utrecht Medical Center, this fellowship granted me the opportunity to take part in aesthetic surgery at Velthuis Clinic with Dr. Jacques van der Meulen and Dr. Heike Klepetko, and also at Bergman Clinic with Dr. Jeroen Steven. These aesthetic surgery sessions are something I learned a lot from, as I feel this subject was slightly less covered during my residency period in Surabaya. It is really a one-on-one teaching process and one in a million fellowship program. Everyone I worked with during my fellowship was extremely helpful, friendly and relaxed. They made it very easy for me to adapt the new situation, and they are all eager and sincere to share their skills and knowledge with me.
My special thanks goes to Dr. van der Meulen who organized this fellowship. He has truly taught me how to be a good surgeon with an eagle’s eye, a lion’s heart and a lady’s hand. Also along with him, Prof. Mathijssen who made it possible for me to spend my last week of fellowship at Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris with Dr. Eric Arnaud. Dr. Sarah Versnel who gave me opportunity to learn orthognathic surgery from Oral, Maxillofacial expert Prof. Wolvius who also enable me to learn more about Orthognatic by visiting Changgung Memorial Hospital this October. And last but not least, Prof. Kon who arrange my visit to Nagata’s Clinic this September.
All in all, I really recommend this five star fellowship program for young plastic surgeons from all over the world, as it opens up a vast network of world-class international plastic surgeons.”
Jan 2015 Rotterdam/Stuttgart
Leonardo Ioppolo (Calabria, Italy)
“In Rotterdam I appreciated the organisation of the fellowship a lot. I have to thanks Mrs. Perlita for the help in the first period. The amount and the variety of surgeries is amazing. I had the possibility to attend the Children Hospital (craniofacial surgery), the Erasmus MC-Daniel den Hoed (microsurgery reconstruction) and follow the practice of Dr. Jacques van der Meulen and doctor Jerome Stevens, concentrating on aesthetic surgery. I appreciated the whole team’s willingness to teach and their friendly approach to us, especially I would like to thanks dr. van der Meulen, Dr. Stevens, Dr. Klepetko, Dr. Mathijssen and dr. Adrichem for the extraordinary attitude to teach.
In Stuttgart I had the possibility to learn the state of art of rhinoplasty. Prof. Gubisch, Fischer, Haack and all the members of the team were always there ready to answer to the questions. Every day, 5 days at week, there were at least 4 aesthetic rhinoplasty and several reconstructive procedures. I fully recommend also this place, more and more for the German-speaking fellows.
I will always thank dr. van der Meulen for this opportunity, I think was one of the best experiences in my working life.”
Jan 2015 Rotterdam/Montreux
Joao Martins (Lisboa, Portugal)
“As a personal statement I believe one can only grow as an individual and a surgeon by dedication, exchanging experiences and learning from each other. The DAFPRS Fellowship and the people responsible for it made me consider this experience as one of the most rewarding experiences I had in my professional life.
In first 3 months period in Rotterdam I had the opportunity to move between three Hospitals (each one dedicated to children, adult or cancer pathology) and two private clinics. Regarding the hospital work there is a rich and diverse surgical schedule and the fellow is free to choose in which facilities or operating rooms he wants to be. The main surgical areas I attended were craniofacial deformities (including cleft cases, craniosynostosis and facial palsy), hand surgery, and head and neck oncology. Every week there are free flap reconstructions concerning different body areas. In the operating room there is a very strong educational ambience. Although sometimes there is no chance for the fellow to scrub in, both the senior surgeons and the residents are interested in sharing their experience and teach you. I was positively surprised about the welcome feeling towards me.
In the private clinics the teaching is truly one-on-one and the energy and enthusiasm shared by Dr van der Meulen, Dr. Klepetko and Dr Stevens is as educational as the surgical knowledge itself. The one-on-on teaching and the level of surgical care performed are highly worthy.
The last period, at Laclinic was a different learning experience. The work here concerns aesthetic surgery with focus on face aesthetics and breast surgery. Other areas as body contouring are also practiced. Both Dr. Pfulg and Dr. Lê Huu are excellent teachers and the fellow will have the opportunity to attend the consultations, which was one of the most rewarding moments of my experience. I learned the importance of evaluating the indications not only for the surgical procedures but also for each technique. The fellow is invited to scrub in in every procedure and the one-on-one teaching strengthens the learning process. It was also very interesting to understand how private practice works. The entire staff of Laclinic was very helpful in making me feel welcome.
Besides the experience and knowledge I gained I am thankful for the good friends I made.”
Oct 2014 Montreux
Shilpi Badhani, (Mumbai, India)
“The DAFPRS fellowship has been a turning point in my career. I am thankful to Dr Van der Meulen for granting me this opportunity to train with Dr Michel Pfulg and Dr Serge Le Huu. It has been an enriching experience and has set a benchmark for me to be achieve in my own practice. Not only surgeries but the art of dealing with aesthetic surgery patients and a holistic approach to treatment was what I learnt there. Dr Michel Pfulg and his diligence is something to emulate while Dr Serge’s attention to detail leaves you inspired. The Clinic provides a complete training for aesthetic surgery ranging from facelift, rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, abdominoplasty, breast augmentation, breast reduction, silhouette lift, botox, fillers to name a few. I assisted every single case performed at the cIinic and also performed a lot of work independently under the guidance of Dr Pfulg & Dr Le Huu. The opportunity to see Dr Philip Blondeel’s work was an added advantage that I had at the clinic. I am thankful to the team at Laclinic who made me feel at home. It was my first international travel and gave me enough opportunity to grow as a surgeon and improve as a health care provider.”
Oct 2014 Rotterdam
Adnan Tahir, (Middlesbrough, UK)
“I would like to congratulate Dr. Van der Meulen and his team for organising this unique fellowship for Plastic surgeons interested in a career in craniofacial surgery, head & neck reconstruction, and facial aesthetics. I spent 3 months in Erasmus University and Sophia Children’s Hospital, Velthuis Clinic in Rotterdam and Bergman Clinic at The Hague. I would like to thank Dr Jerome Stevens for sharing his knowledge and philosophy in the field of Lipofilling, fat transfer and facelifts. His enthusiasm as a teacher is truly inspirational. At Erasmus, the high volume of operations and varied case mix allows the fellow to be flexible, allowing them to focus more on their area of interest. During this fellowship, I increased my knowledge and skills in paediatric craniofacial surgery and facial aesthetics under the supervision of Dr. Van der Meulen. I am grateful to him for finding the time to teach all aspects of facelift and rhinoplasty operations in his patients, increasing my confidence and skill, and taking it to a new level. I also had an opportunity to assist Dr. Nolst Trenite and learn rhinoplasty pearls from him at the Bergman Clinic.
Rotterdam is a thriving cosmopolitan city, where English is the second language so I had no problems with language barrier. The fellow is provided with subsidised accommodation including a bike to help with commuting. Public transport is very efficient, making it easy for the fellow to commute, explore, and enjoy Rotterdam. Amsterdam is only 30 minutes away by train to make most of the weekends. I would highly recommend this fellowship to senior trainees in plastic surgery and newly qualified consultants interested in craniofacial surgery, head and neck reconstruction and facial aesthetics. It was inspiring, motivating, and really an unforgettable experience for me.”
Jul 2014 Stuttgart
Amarnath Munoli (Mumbai, India)
“My stay in Stuttgart, Germany, at the Facial Plastic Surgery unit at Marienhospital with Prof. Gubisch and his unit was a great learning experience. It is an extremely well organised and busy unit where I was able to observe a large number of septorhinoplasties, nasal reconstruction surgery, excision and reconstruction for facial basal cell carcinoma as also blepharoplasties, Facial reanimation, otoplasty and Brow lifts. Prof. Gubisch is of course known worldwide for his excellent approach and technique of septorhinoplasty and I was able to learn from him at close quarters. We encounter a lot of cleft nose deformities back home and there are a lot of those being done here. I was also able to assist and learn a lot regarding the latest in nasal reconstruction from Dr. Helmut Fischer. I should make special mention of Frau, Helga Kurz, the chief secretary, who helped and guided me right from the first e mail regarding the granting of the Fellowship right up to my departure.
The living arrangements are excellent and right across the street making commute easy. There is an issue regarding the issue of a practising license though and I would advise any future fellows to communicate with Frau Kurz in advance regarding the same. All in all, a wonderful academic opportunity for a junior consultant like myself.”
Jul/Oct 2014 Rotterdam/London
Oladipupo Oladimeji (Lagos, Nigeria)
“The experience offered by the fellowship is intangible; both in exposure to and the variety of Surgeons and procedures on offer.
The Rotterdam units were well organized. Erasmus MC presents a plastic surgery department, big enough to meet the learning needs in paediatric and adult craniofacial reconstructive cases. The weekly academic meetings and other interactions are done in English language. The microsurgery skills lab is also a unique highlight of the department ensuring that fellows get a very good training in a rare skill (free of charge). Many thanks to Prof. Hovius, Ineke and Esther. Rotterdam equally offers a very decent hands-on exposure to aesthetic surgery techniques and procedures at the Velthuis clinics through Drs Jacques van der Meulen and Heike Klepetko, and Bergman Clinic through the enthusiastic Dr Jeroen Stevens. Thank you all.
The Royal Free Hospital London offers a wide range of reconstructive surgery by leading professionals in Plastic Surgery. Mr. Grobbelaar’s facial reanimation solutions were fascinating, and the results great for the patient. I am also grateful for the learning opportunities offered me by Mr. Chana, Mr. Mosahebi, Mr. Kang, Mr. Sabbagh, Mr. Ghali and Mr. Younis and their colleagues; also, by the registrars, and weekly teaching sessions. A GMC registration is required to maximize the opportunities in London. Overall, it was a worthwhile experience.”
Jul/Oct 2014 Rotterdam/Thrissur
Serafeim Bouloumpasis (Athens, Greece)
“I participated in this fellowship for 6 months, in Netherlands and India, with special interest in Aesthetics and Paediatrics.
At Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, I spent most of my time in operation theatres of Sophia Children’s Hospital. In those 3 months in the Craniofacial Unit, I gained a valuable training, by participating in more than 50 procedures for craniosynostosis, as well as clefts and other congenital cases, with Dr Jacques vd Meulen and Prof Mathijssen mainly. Also, I was involved in some cases for reconstruction in the adult’s hospital. On the other hand, in Velthuis Kliniek in Rotterdam, with Dr vd Meulen and Dr Klepetko, and in Bergman Kliniek in The Hague, with Dr Stevens, I was involved in more than 100 procedures for aesthetics; face lift, neck lift, brow lift, blepharoplasty, rhinoplasty, lipofilling etc, and some cases for breast augmentation, mastopexy and reduction. That was a very useful experience for my practice in cosmetic plastic surgery, as these surgeons are very keen to teach. In most of the cases, in both paediatrics and aesthetics, I was scrubbed, having a quite high level of teaching, but I think that there is more space for even more active participation. Additionally, I had the opportunity to practice for almost 40 hours in microsurgery, at the Skills Lab of the department. During that period, I really enjoyed living in Netherlands. I had a nice apartment shared with another fellow in a reasonable cost, as well as a nice bike, provided by the hospital for cycling in the city, and apparently I had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this country.
The second part in India was a lifetime unique experience for me. That was my first time living outside Europe and the social part was quite challenging for me. The Charles Pinto Centre for Cleft Lip and Palate is a well established cleft unit in a christian mission hospital, working in partnership with Smile Train, operating a large number of children with clefts free of charge. I had the privilege to have an intensive, one-to-one, hands-on training in clefts plastic surgery, working for 6 days weekly; I had the chance to perform my first procedures under supervision for cleft lip and palate repair, although there are more opportunities for even more active participation. Overall, in those 3 months I made a logbook of participation in more than 70 cases in primary and secondary cleft lip and palate repair, pharyngoplasty, cleft rhinoplasty, alveolar bone graft etc. I also participated in outpatient clinic weekly, having the experience of team work with speech pathologist, maxillofacial surgeons and orthodontist. Dr Adenwalla and Dr Narayanan, as well as the other colleagues, tried their best for teaching and I am so grateful of being part of that team and proud of offering my service in that community. My colleagues were very friendly and helped me on understanding and enjoying this different culture. I stayed at the nearby hotel, which was acceptable, but it would be more appropriate for the fellow to have a flat or hospital accommodation in a more reasonable cost. I recommend this unit for a Plastic Surgeon with interest in clefts.
In conclusion, that fellowship for me was a valuable Craniofacial and Cleft fellowship, with extra training in Aesthetics, and this is the basis for my future career as a Plastic Surgeon.”
Mar 2014 Stuttgart
Dana Abdilkarim Abdilmagid (Sulaimaniyah, Iraq)
“I attended the DAFPRS fellowship in Stuttgart in the Department of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. This Department, Clinic, is run by the Medical Director Prof. Dr. Med. W. Gubisch who is, to my knowledge and as far as I have concluded, the most brilliant person in the world who is performing very challenging and difficult Nose and Septal Surgeries. He is more than perfect in functional as well as aesthetic Septorhinoplasty, and because of his double qualification of ENT and Plastic Surgery, most of his surgeries on the nose has functional and cosmetic backgrounds and actually he is very good in combining these two fields of surgery. I had the chance to understand wonderful techniques of surgical treatment of enlarged turbinates and many functional procedures improving external and internal nasal valves and the challenging extracorporeal septal surgery. I had the chance to see many difficult mid face lifts, periorbital surgery, and different kinds of local and regional flaps in head and neck. I would like to thank and express my sincere gratitude to Herr. Dr. Helmut Fischer who is the Chief deputy of Prof.W. Gubisch. I attended many of Dr. Helmut Fischers operations. He is performing more than perfect difficult and challenging nasal reconstructions. Dr. S. Haack is also a wounderful specialist in Prof. Gubischs department. He and Dr.Von Gregory perform very nice lipofilling and SMAS face lifts. Also many difficult facial reanimation they do for facial palsy. I had the chance to attend two great Courses here, one is the Nasal Course for Advanced Aesthetic and Functional Rhinoplasty, which is annually conducted in Stuttgart,for nearly three decades, and the Secondary Optimising Surgery in aesthetic Surgery. I would like to appreciate a lot the great friend and the corner stone of the Department of Facial Surgery Frau. Helga Kurz who is not just a secretary to Prof. Gubisch, but a very dedicated and serious person to her work and very kind to all the members of the team including me. I would like to appreciate my thank and gratitude to all the team members and my new friends and colleagues here in Stuttgart, who never hesitated to help me whenever I needed help especially Dr. N. Jenss and Dr. D. Yourkovic and all other members of the team. The nursing staff is great here and they also never hesitate help and provides the OR plans daily to me.”
Jan 2014 Rotterdam
Carlis Verdins (Riga, Latvia)
“I had the great opportunity to spend 3 months as a fellow in Rotterdam from January to March 2014. This fellowship proved to be an excellent chance to learn from innovative surgeons. The operation timetable was well structured and flexible. There were different centers participating in the program, which gave the fellows opportunities to attend cases of their individual interests. I advanced my knowledge and experience in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery and especially ear reconstruction operations.
Dr. Van der Meulen and Dr. Klepetko provided detailed insights and training in cosmetic surgery. I joined them in the Erasmus MC and Velthuis private clinic. I gained a lot of experience from doing so.
The microsurgery skills lab was an excellent resource for improving microsurgical skills using live models. I would like to especially thank to Mrs. Ineke Hekking – Weijma and Mrs. Esther Breure – Fijneman for training.
The fellowship also helped me extending a network of professional contacts from different countries.”
Jan 2014 Rotterdam
Piyush Durani (Leicester, UK)
“Firstly, when embarking on a fellowship abroad, the fellow needs to quickly settle into the workings of the unit/system as well as the new country – in this regard, the administrative organisation of the fellowship is excellent, with prompt and helpful replies to queries and a desire to ensure the fellow is settled in– provision of cycles for ease of transport and the simplicity of commuting on Rotterdam’s cycle routes was a personal highlight for me, and something I have never done back in the UK!
The weekly theatre schedules are emailed to the fellows well in advance, and although in Dutch, it is a good opportunity to translate the cases and plan the week ahead. There is also a weekly planning meeting, which all residents and some Consultants attend, providing an interesting insight into the working dynamic of the unit and an opportunity to compare the UK teaching methods with those at Erasmus. These meetings stimulate interesting discussions about the management of upcoming cases, and I found these very educational and thought-provoking. I also felt welcome to join in the discussions and ask questions, as the meetings were held in English specifically for the benefit of any overseas fellows present.
Most importantly, we were allowed to plan our own timetable to fit in with our interests and focus on the areas in which we felt we needed greatest exposure– craniofacial/cleft, facial/H&N reconstruction or aesthetic – or a combination of the three. I had a specific need to increase my exposure to head and neck and facial reconstruction, as my training has provided limited exposure to date, and therefore the ability to plan my week ahead was invaluable to maximise exposure and opportunities in this area.
There was a wide range of procedures in which I either scrubbed in as assistant or observed. Specifically, I assisted in 37 facial aesthetic procedures including MACS lifts, facial lipofilling, blepharoplasties, brow lifts and rhinoplasties. In terms of head and neck and facial reconstructions, I was involved with 41 cases, including microvascular reconstructions using free ALT and Radial Forearm flaps, 4 total ear reconstructions, eyelid reconstructions and multiple nasal reconstructions, as well as facial reanimation cases involving static (gold weights, fascia lata slings) and dynamic (free gracilis, cross-facial nerve grafting) procedures. Some of the most fascinating cases included a total nasal reconstruction with a free radial forearm flap, as well as 8 nasal reconstructions with local forehead flaps using a 3-stage technique. This level of exposure provided significant learning which I can take back with me to my home training units in the UK.
In addition to these facial procedures, there was plenty of opportunity to also get involved in breast reconstructions and other general plastic surgery procedures. While I was there the surgeons had just started using the Profunda Arterty Perforator (PAP) free flap for breast reconstruction, which was definitely a new and interesting learning experience and which I had never seen before.
Although the Fellow has the opportunity to assist in the microvascular cases, one of the undoubted strengths of this fellowship is the microsurgery training laboratory. This was an invaluable experience and I only wish we had such amazing facilities for trainees to use in plastic surgery units back in the UK. I was booked in for whole day sessions virtually every week, accumulating nearly 40-45 hours of direct microsurgery experience.
Overall, this was 3 months very well spent – I learnt many new concepts and techniques in the area of facial reconstruction and facial aesthetics, and also consolidated on areas in which I was already familiar. There was also significant learning in observing how different healthcare systems work – particularly comparing how services are delivered and how trainees are trained. Therefore, these are also important lessons that I will take back to the UK to see how we can improve our own training system, in addition to my own personal exposure and benefit from this fellowship.”
January 2014 Rotterdam
Prasetyanugraheni Kreshanti (Jakarta, Indonesia)
“The flexibility of this fellowship program made it possible to cherry pick the field in facial reconstruction which we would like to focus on. I’m very fortunate that during the first part of the fellowship which is in Rotterdam, I could spend most of my time in Sophia Children’s Hospital, the home of the Dutch Craniofacial Unit. This experience gave me the opportunity to follow 3 craniofacial surgeons who work there. It is always interesting to see different people doing the same things differently, understand the basic principles and then later on adopt and combine the most suitable technique for us and for our own patient population. And thank you very much to Dr. Jacques van der Meulen for his flexibility, support and well-connectivity, I could spend some times in other craniofacial centers which are Sahlgrenska University Hospital Gothenburg, Sweden and Hopital Necker Enfants Malades Paris, France, to experience some specific pathology I was interested in, which just by chance did not pass by during the period I stayed in Rotterdam.”
October 2013 Rotterdam
Vasidov Shavkat (Khujand, Tajikistan)
“I want to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. van der Meulen, Dr. Klepetko, and Dr. Mureau for their hard work, patience, kindness, understanding and for the high professionalism. They tried to give me not only knowledge but most importantly practical skills. Personally for me it was an incredible opportunity to work with such professional surgeons and learn skills from all of them. Dr JJNM van der Meulen patiently answered to all my questions. Thanks to him, I’ve learned modern and state of the art approaches to surgical treatment which I’ll try to use in my practice. As for the administrative work, I was deeply impressed by Miss Perlita van Woerkom well organised work, for her hospitality and for the remarkable introduction of hospital in full. She made my stay in Rotterdam comfortable and worthwhile, for which I am very thankful. I deeply appreciate everything she did for me! Thank you again for your patience, understanding and for giving us such an amazing chance to participate in this program. I recommend all young plastic surgeons to apply and learn from this fellowship!”
October 2013 Rotterdam
Gert Jan Halbesma (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
“I has been a great privilege to do the DAFPRS fellowship during my last months as a resident. For me, this truly was a very valuable addition to my residency. My main goals were to further expand my knowledge and surgical skills in facial aesthetic surgery and head and neck reconstruction.
Overall, I agree completely with all the remarks from previous fellows in the reports below. I would especially emphasize again that the fellowship is indeed very well organized and that the fellow can perfectly tailor this fellowship to his or her own specific goals. You will have the opportunity to learn directly from the experts in the field, who without exception are willing to teach you. If your goal is expanding your view and skills in facial plastic surgery, then this is a fellowship to apply for without hesitation.”
October 2013 Gent
Amit Agarwal (Lucknow, India)
“I express my deepest gratitude to Dr. van der Meulen for awarding this fellowship to me. Spending three months in Gent is an excellent training programme for all the plastic surgeons who are interested in cosmetic surgery. The work ranged from facial rejuvenation, breast & body contouring surgeries to non surgical modalities like botox and fillers. One can easily learn tips and tricks of the various procedures from Dr. Patrick and Dr. Alex who are pioneers in this field. This is also an excellent training ground even for reconstructive surgeons who can get to see a lot of breast reconstructive surgeries by Dr. Van Landuyt. They have a very dynamic and an excellent team of staff who will try to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Perfection and discipline are the biggest assets of this place and I’m sure everyone who goes there will carry it along with them.”
July 2013 Rotterdam/Stuttgart
Ozge Senyaman (Hannover, Germany)
July 2013 Rotterdam/Montreux
Marco Romeo (Sicily, Italy)
“My first three months in Rotterdam were perfectly organised thanks to the efforts of Miss Perlita van Woerkom that quickly introduced me to the hospital life. I could move between three hospitals and two private practices with a huge variety of surgeries, getting in touch with different surgeons. The cases included mostly craniofacial cases, oncologic head and neck reconstruction and facial aesthetic. Every week the staff meeting was a good opportunity to revise all the cases and hear from experienced surgeons’ opinions, each meeting was held in English as kindness to allow the fellows to understand. The timetable was full of scheduled surgeries but the fellow has the privilege to move freely around. A special thank goes to Dr. van der Meulen, who introduced me into the paediatric craniofacial world, Dr. Klepetko, who took care of oncologic reconstructive procedures, Dr. Mureau, a keen teacher and a versatile surgeon on facial reconstruction, Prof. Kon whose experience is internationally renown and Dr. Stevens one of the most enthusiastic teacher I have ever met, always on the edge of the most advanced surgical approaches. All the staff members not directly involved into the fellowship programme actively included me, it was a great resource as well.
The second half of the Fellowship was a completely different experience. At Laclinic Dr. Pfulg and Dr. LeHuu guided me into a pure aesthetic surgery world. I had the rare opportunity of a one-to-one teaching experience, every day for three months. At Laclinic I learnt details of aesthetic surgery, I started to consider brand new approaches and how to deal with demanding patients, when every detail detail counts.
Each and every member of the staff supported me despite upon my arrival I could not speak French, and taught to me how to organise a private practice to provide a state-of-the-art service before and after surgery. Somehow it was not easy to perform procedures on cosmetic patients but the amount of experience you get is a great reward. When I started the Fellowship I was at my second year of practice as Plastic Surgeon, nevertheless it was one of the best professional choices ever made.”
July 2013 Montreux
Sathish Manivel ( Chennai, India)
“It was a great opportunity for me to undergo the DAFPRS fellowship at Laclinic, Montreux. Dr.Pfulg is an excellent surgeon and it was a pleasure to work with him and learn the Art of Aesthetic surgery, especially his techniques and modifications to achieve excellence in Facial surgeries. The one to one teaching experience during consultations and surgical procedures helped me to get an insight regarding planning and precise execution of complex procedures to get the desired results. Dr.Serge Le Huu is a great teacher, who spent time with me in explaining the principles, guiding and sharing his experience during my entire period of training. I was able to assist both the surgeons in all the wide variety of Aesthetic surgeries and was also able to perform some under their supervision and guidance. I also spent time with other specialists in the field of Aesthetic medicine, Dermatology and Aesthetic dentistry, making me understand the minimal invasive and noninvasive treatments and the concept of multidisciplinary approach to Aesthetics in general. I truly feel this Fellowship has offered me good comprehensive training in Aesthetic surgery with special emphasis to Facial Aesthetic surgeries.”
April 2013 Montreux
Felicia Smits (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
“During my lasts months as resident in the Academic Medical Center Amsterdam I had the opportunity to visit Dr M. Pfulg in Laclinic Montreux Switzerland for a period of 3 months. I went there with the specific goal of learning a broad range of facial-lifting (from temporal, forehead to silhouette and cervico-facial lifts) and refining periorbital procedures. That I am comfortable by doing some of these procedures now by myself after this period surpassed my expectations.
Dr Pfulg is a known founder of his own delicate techniques in these surgeries and really took the time to teach me in detail how to do these myself. During the three months of my stay we operated at least two facelifts, two nosejobs and multiple breastcorrection every week. In my opinion, carrying out the same procedures repeatingly in a short period of time is exactly what is needed as young plastic surgeon (or resident) to lift your skill-set to the next level. Although it was very delicate to get really ‘hands-on’ with his cosmetic clientele, Dr Pfulg ensured the patients were fully comfortable with me taking increasing ownership of their treatment.
This fellowship has served as a 100% complementary stage in my development as a plastic surgeon; not only from a technical surgical point of view, but also in experiencing the way of working in a private clinic at the exclusive high level offered in Laclinic.”
April 2013 Rotterdam/London
Rita Narikawa (Sao Paulo, Brasil)
April 2013 Rotterdam
Joseph Rizk (Sydney, Australia)
“To begin with, the Dutch Association for Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship (DAFPRS) is an excellent opportunity to learn from thoughtful and innovative surgeons. The Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons at Erasmus MC, Utrecht Medical Centre and private clinics in The Hague allowed me to spend time with them and learn from enthusiastic Surgeons. The scope of cases in facial plastic surgery is extensive in the Rotterdam and surrounding campuses.
Dr van der Meulen provides detailed insight and training in paediatric craniofacial surgery and a no nonsense approach to facial cosmetic surgery. Dr Stevens provides an enthusiastic opinion of facial cosmetics with high volume of patients for MACS lifting and lipofilling. Dr Stevens provides a step by step instruction for his procedures and is current with scientific research in facial cosmetic surgery, in particular lipofilling (fat grafting) in which he allowed me to contribute to some research. Professor Moshe Kon is an amazing resource for ear reconstruction with an international reputation. He was brilliant to scrub in with and a highlight of the fellowship. There is ample opportunity for head and neck reconstruction at Daniel Dan Hoed Hospital.
The DAFPRS timetable is well structured but flexible with the fellow able to choose what he or she will do each day.
The unit meetings at Erasmus MC are excellent discussions about difficult patients and interesting topics. These meetings are in English. All of the medical staff speak English however some Paediatric clinics are solely in Dutch as patients and their families are cared for in their native tongue. The microsurgery skills lab is an excellent resource for honing and maintaining microsurgical skills using live models. As well as seeing the public practice, there is also an opportunity to experience the private practice of some surgeons which helped with understanding how to start and maintain a private practice. Dr Jacques van der Meulen as supervisor was generous with his knowledge and time and I thank him for this excellent opportunity. I returned home with an open mind and some new approaches to technical aspects for caring for patients and building my own practice.”
January 2013 Stuttgart
Michele Antonacci (Parma, Italy)
“I had the great opportunity to spend a 3 months fellowship in the Facial Plastic Surgery Unit directed by Professor Gubish at the Marienhospital in Stuttgart. The fellowship was very well organized. During the fellowship, I had the great chance to work with one of the best surgical teams on the subjects of rhinoplasty and nasal reconstruction. I had the real opportunity to learn a lot of tricks to get the optimal and best results in this great field of Facial plastic surgery. During my period in Stuttgart, I was involved in all the activities of the department. I had the possibility to attend the operations but also the pre and post-op evaluations of the cases. Every day it was possible to scrub in 3 or 4 surgical procedures. Each member of the team is a really outstanding surgeon, always willing to explain every step of the procedures. I appreciated the meticulouness and the accuracy of the operations. I am grateful to Prof Gubisch and Doctor Fisher who always made me feel part of their team. A special thank also to Dr Hening Von Gregory, a great surgeon and a beautiful person. I want to thank also all the staff of the Unit, really kind people that made me feel at home. I’ve been also very lucky to attend as part of the team to the 21st advanced course in Rhinoplasty organized by Prof. Gubisch. I am very grateful to Dr. Van der Meulen, for organizing this Fellowship programme, which has given me the opportunity to learn from the best. I feel privileged to be given this great opportunity, the most important in my surgical career.”
January 2013 Gent
Aly Hussein Saber Abulhassan (Cairo, Egypt)
“It was a great opportunity to work with two pioneers in facial esthetic surgery as Dr.Tonnard and Dr.Verpeale. I really gained a lot of experience from them. The Coupure Centrum and the EMC in Gent are two fully equipped centres with a very great surrounding and atmosphere. The secret beyond this is the great team and the marvellous teamwork that works in harmony. The fellowship was more than perfect and the city of Gent was very nice. I was such a lucky person to have this fellowship”
January 2013 Rotterdam
Paul Pesthy (Budapest, Hungary)
“I had the opportunity to spend 3 great months in Rotterdam from January to March, 2013. The fellowship was very well organized. I can only confirm the testimonials written by previous fellows. Miss. Perlita van Woerkom was always very helpfull in the organization of our things. The scope of facial plastic surgery in Rotterdam is extensive, encompassing a wide range of congenital, reconstructive and aesthetic cases. The volume and the variety provided by the different centers participating in the program give the fellow a flexible schedule and opportunity to attend cases tailored to his/her special interest. It was very nice to have the opportunity to attend some sessions in the fully equipped skills lab, and have one to one guidance and training from experienced instructors. We also had the opportunity to get involved in writing a scientific paper from the vast material available through the program organizer. A very special thanks to Dr. Jacques van der Meulen, for organizing and making this fellowship possible, and also to everyone affiliated with the program, especially those who are highlighted in the Fellowship Course Booklet. I would most certainly recommend the fellowship to everyone interested in expanding their horizons in facial plastic surgery, and seeing a large number of interesting cases in a short period of time, performed by true experts!”
January 2013 Rotterdam/London
Andreas Kehrer (Regensburg, Germany)
“Located in an attractive area of North London, the Unit for Plastic Surgery at the Royal Free Hospital (NHS) holds one of the largest departments in the country. The fellow is able to work with internationally renowned surgeons that perform plastic surgery at the highest level of difficulty and detail. For fellows planning to find an adequate balance between reconstructive (not just bound to facial surgery) and aesthetic surgery, this part of the fellowship is highly recommended. Seventeen specialized consultants cover all of microsurgery and reconstructive facial surgery (ear, nose and periorbital reconstructions, facial reanimation, rhinoplasties etc.) except cleft and major maxillofacial procedures. In the vast majority of the cases there is always a place at the table for the fellow. Even though one will not be able to operate the patients this provides a superb chance to develop a feel for the procedure and an eye for details. Everyone made me feel very welcome to join the operations and be part of the team. Apart from their NHS-work, the consultants cover all aspects of aesthetic surgery in private hospitals. Most of them will be happy to let you join for their private lists as many of the consultants were once fellows themselves. Travelling to the private hospitals in the greater London area takes time and money but is well worth it. All English surgeons and personal demonstrated an disarming openness and hospitality towards me as a foreign fellow.”
January 2013 Rotterdam/Gent
Nicole Lindenblatt (Zurich, Switzerland)
“I was part of the combined DAFPRS program spending 3 months in Rotterdam and 3 months in Gent. The fellowship experience in Rotterdam was fantastic, since the program is very well organized and the fellows are able to follow many different operations every day, including facial reconstructive, aesthetic surgery and craniofacial surgery. The program comprises the full spectrum of facial plastic surgery, which is rare in Europe. The fellowship will be of most value when the fellow already has operated a certain number of cases on his own, since the operations are performed by true experts of the field and tips and tricks then are appreciated more. Dr. vd Meulen is a great surgeon and has done a wonderful job in organizing the program, teaching us on a hands on basis in the OR, and getting across the essentials of facial plastic surgery. I was also impressed by the good cooperation between different specialties, e.g. in the corrections of cleft noses. The uniqueness of this program lies in the diversity and also complexity of operations that can be followed, which for me as a surgeon working in a university hospital will be of great help in the future. The reconstructive cases with Prof. Kon, Dr. Mureau and Dr. Klepetko were of high standard and very valuable. Dr. Stevens also did a great job in teaching us facial aesthetics and his approach to it.
The second part I spent in Gent with Dr. Tonnard and Dr. Verpaele, who both are pioneers in the short scar Face Lift. Being part of the team of the Coupure Center/EMC was a great and very pleasant experience. Surgical perfection and accuracy guide every operation and the quest for new developments and techniques is present every day. Next to this I was able to attend the CATFAS meeting, which was an invaluable experience and a great chance to meet even more experts. The possibility to assist Prof. van Landuyt in many reconstructive cases and learning many tricks about perforator flaps from a true expert for me was a great addition to the intriguing aesthetic surgery performed in Gent.
I highly recommend this fellowship to every specialist, who is interested in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. It will teach you the important details, gives you the opportunity to learn from true experts in the field and will provide you with all the tools you need to perform facial plastic surgery on a high level.”
October 2012 London
Nicolaus Raab (Munich, Germany)
October 2012 Gent
Ana Silva Guerra (Lisbon, Portugal)
“My fellowship experience was amazing. I did a 3 month program in Gent with a fantastic team of doctors and nurses. I went to the Coupure Centrum with Dr. Tonnard and Dr. Verpeale and I’ve learned a different and innovative approach to facial surgery! At the same time I could assist and learn microsurgery with Prof. van Landuyt which was the perfect combination. I’m finishing my residency and this internship has been invaluable to my personal and professional journey.”
October 2012 Stuttgart
Antonio Iodice (Geneva, Switzerland)
“I spent my fellowship in the service of Professor Gubisch at the Marienhospital in Stuttgart. During this period I had the opportunity to learn a lot of trip and tricks about facial plastic surgery, above all about rhinoplasty and nose reconstruction. This fellowship offered me the great possibility to attend not only operations but also pre-operative preparation and post operative care of all cases; this gave me a deep insight into this very sophisticated surgery. I was surprised by the meticulousness and accuracy with which the operations were performed by each member of the team. Thanks to this experience I have changed my approach to rhinoplasty. I would like to give a special thanks to Professor Gubisch and Dr Fischer. I believe that their comments and advice will be useful in my whole life and career. Finally I would like to thank all the members of the team for this excellent fellowship.”
October 2012 Rotterdam
Babak Nikoumaram (Teheran, Iran)
“ My hands-on fellowship experience in Rotterdam was incredible; you’ll never run out of options what to see or do. The fellowship was well organized and it was stimulating to experience how all supervisors are willing to teach you in depth of what they know in the vast area of facial plastic surgery. Upon your arrival there is an exceptional lady, Perlita, that will assist you throughout your stay. She will send you a list of operations per email the week before which invariably contain many operations in all centres where you can freely choose from. I have never seen such a program to encompass both university hospital and private clinic for fulfilling every aspect of educating facial plastic surgery before.
I would like to thank: 1- Dr JJNM van der Meulen, the program director and a talented craniofacial and aesthetic plastic surgeon that with his artistic medical drawing teach you the most sophisticated operation ready to digest and also a professional chef. 2- Dr Jeroen Stevens, an enthusiastic aesthetic plastic surgeon that have its own unique way of giving youthful face to his patients using lipofilling, PRP, face lift and etc. 3,4- Dr Marc Mureau and Dr Heike Klepetko who with their excellent microvascular techniques gives their patients whatever they need to do, feel and look better. 5- Prof Dr Moshe Kon a true master of total ear reconstruction that you should see yourself to believe it.
Many thanks to Mrs. Hekking & Mrs. Fijnman for tutoring microsurgical skill lab and also to Prof. Hovius, Prof. Mathijssen, Dr Luijsterburg and all the resident and the staff of the hospitals and the clinics that provide me an atmosphere to work and learn like my own home. Finally I strongly recommend this fellowship for every plastic surgeon and I hope you be the lucky guy as I was to be accepted into this program.”
October 2012 Rotterdam
Sonia Kukreja (Oshakati, Namibia)
“A well designed fellowship aimed to provide maximum exposure to multiple aspects of facial plastic surgery in a short time. The coursebook itself was so impressive that I couldn’t wait to start and I must say, that the grass was as green as depicted. The first person to contact, Ms Perlita Van Woerkom, remained a constant guide throughout the fellowship, happily providing all necessary help to make our stay comfortable. The fellowship provided a balanced exposure to the state hospital and private clinics practice. I would like to thank Dr Jacques Vander Meulen, the fellowship director and a very coolheaded and precise craniofacial surgeon, for his readiness to impart knowledge through a truly hands on experience whenever feasible. His openness to new ideas and experiences of the fellows is appreciable. One will easily appreciate the ease with which he does the cranioplasties, which are routinely done here as state of the art. Our all other supervisors, similarly are masters of their subjects. I learnt a lot from Dr Stevens, a wonderful facial rejuvenation and aesthetic breast surgeon, especially the art of being fast yet smooth by keeping the surgical steps in a predefined sequence and good staff communication. His ideas on 3 dimensions of facial rejuvenation are very convincing. Although I could go just twice to Utrecht due to significant distance from Rotterdam, but every visit was really fruitful. Prof Moshe Kon, shared with us his tips and tricks for microtia reconstruction, which really can a difference to the results. I was lucky enough to see patients with different stages of microtia reconstruction in a single day. Dr Marc Mureau and Dr Heike Klepetko, extremely talented microsurgeons, made microsurgery look like a child’s play. Erasmus MC and DDHK hospitals are high volume micro oncological reconstruction centres, almost having 4-5 free flaps a week. I was also fortunate to complete 30 hrs of microsurgical training in the well equipped skills lab of Erasmus MC. The residents were very friendly and welcoming as co assistants in surgeries and willingly translated the theatre lists for us . By every Friday all the next week’s theatre lists were emailed to us so that we could plan well for the coming week. I also managed to observe a few interesting procedures (including orthognathic and alveolar bone grafts) in the department of maxillofacial surgery, on my request, thanks to Dr Jacques and Dr Koudstaal. So, there is a lot to take back home, depends how much you can carry.”
July 2012 Rotterdam
Edith Terna-Yawe (Maiduguri, Nigeria)
“The fellowship I would say is a continuation of my Residency training program. It was an eye opener! Some of the procedures I observed, such as Craniofacial remodelling for Craniosynostosis, were seen by me (except from the text books) for the first time. In three short months, I was able to participate in more than a hundred and seventy cases and actually scrubbed in as first or second assistant in over forty cases! I also had more than 30 hours of microsurgery practice in the animal skills lab. Coming from Africa, I have seen the amazing difference in technology, availability of the right instruments and equipment plays to overall speed and even outcome of surgery, although of course knowledge and skills are of utmost importance!”
July 2012 Rotterdam/Montreux
Theogren Balakrishnan (Durban, South Africa)
“I was extremely privileged and grateful to be given the opportunity to participate in the DAPFRS fellowship.
It is a very well organized fellowship with its goals aimed purely at improving the surgical skills and knowledge for those who have just completed their residency in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The course handbook is well written and provides participating fellows with all the necessary course information and details. The fellowship is structured to maximize the training and exposure for the various sub-specialities of plastic and reconstructive surgery which include craniofacial , breast, head and neck, microsurgery as well as cosmetic surgery. There is a choice of visiting at least six different hospitals to observe and assist in surgery. A weekly timetable with operating lists of all the hospitals are emailed to all fellows and depending on your preference, you can chose to attend the surgeries involving your field of your interest. The focus is on individual fellows to utilize their time wisely and see as much as they can.
The standards of training in the fellowship is extremely high and often reading prior to surgery would benefit fellows. The consultants are friendly and are always willing to teach and answer questions. Language was not a problem and the weekly meetings were held in English even if there was only one fellow present. The one on one supervision and humility of the consultants involved in the program was truly inspirational. The knowledge and skills shared has definitely made me more confident in my approaches and techniques.
The second part of my fellowship was done in picturesque Montreux under the supervision of Dr Michel Pfulg. A cosmetic surgeon for more than thirty years, Dr Pfulg has selflessly imparted his knowledge and skills. The cosmetic surgery training I received was invaluable and I was honoured to work with a surgeon of this caliber. A special thanks goes out to Dr J van der Meulen, the course coordinator, whose easy going and professional demeanor made the fellowship an enjoyable and memorable experience. His mentorship enabled me to be a better surgeon and for that I am extremely thankful. I would strongly recommend this fellowship to young plastic surgeons who aim to improve their skills, knowledge and consolidate their training.”
July 2012 Rotterdam
Ahmed Khawer (Bagdhad, Iraq)
“I consider myself so lucky to be one of the fellow of DAFPRS in Netherlands, it was a wonderful training course that upgraded my knowledge and experience in asthetic and reconstructive surgery. Especially Dr. Jacques van der Meulen, he was one of the interesting surgeons in one-to-one teaching and he gave us his experience when I join him in the Erasmus MC and Velthuis private clinic. Also Dr.Stevens was a wonderful teacher in lipofilling and MACS lift procedures and other head and neck procedures, and I was eager to learn from him. At Utrecht MC AZU, it was a great opportunity to join Prof. Kon. He is a nice man who has a magic hand in reconstruction of microtia with rib graft. He taught me many tricks for carving and fixation of the ear frame. I would also like to thank Dr.Schuurman and Dr.Schellekens in Utrecht. A special thanks goes to Perlita and all the secretaries who provided us with weekly operation program so we could choose any list to join them. The period was interesting, beneficial and flexible. It is short period and I wish I could have stayed for a longer period because everything is so well organized. I had good opportunity training in microsurgery lab it was nice skill lab with good coordinator and assistant in the lab, there are no words enough to express my feeling for such an amazing fellowship. My great regards and my appreciation to all who organize and work for this great fellowship.”
July 2012 Stuttgart
Torngee Malu (Lagos, Nigeria)
“I have always desired to work with the best surgeons under the best conditions. My desire for excellence was more than fulfilled through the fellowship programme in Stuttgart, there I met amazing surgeons whose daily passion is to improve on their best. Professor Gubisch and Dr Fischer are epitomes of excellence in Rhinoplasty and nose reconstruction, they are great instructors with a deep sense of humor. They have passed this spirit of excellence to all the members of the team, Dr Von Gregory, Dr Haack, Dr Kreutzer, Dr Jurkovic and several others. I learnt, among several practical tricks, to always aim for the best. I participated and observed over one hundred and fifty facial plastic surgeries during the period of stay. The hospitality and kindness I enjoyed from every member of the clinic is tremendous. The hospital is such a great environment. This fellowship has given me the opportunity to meet with great names in plastic surgery including other fellows of DAFPRS. To the new fellows; I want tell you that you are in for the best experience of your life!”
April 2012 Rotterdam/London
Sofia Parara (Athens, Greece)
“The DAFPRS fellowships give you have a chance to decide the kinds of operation you can really do. It’s an opportunity to boost your self-confidence being next to great surgeons that set a good example of how to practice plastic surgery. It totally depends on the fellow & how active one is. I managed to scrub in 157 operations & observed 150 more during the 6 month period! In the Netherlands I learned a lot on Head & Neck reconstruction, facial palsy, rhinoplasty & nose reconstruction, face-lift, face lipofilling & ear reconstruction. I had the chance to practice in the superb Microsurgery Skills Lab in the Faculty of Erasmus MC, tutored by Mrs. Hekking & Mrs. Fijnman. In London I focused more on my personal interest, facial reanimation primary & secondary procedures, the rest of the time devoted to face-lift, rhinoplasty & ear reconstruction. The rest of the time I had the chance to refine breast techniques, reconstruction with free flaps & body aesthetic surgery. It’s been a pleasure to meet & work with: Dr. Mureau, Dr. van der Meulen, Dr. Klepetko, Dr. Stevens, Prof. Kon, Prof. Mathijssen, Dr. Smit & Dr. Corten. I’m also most obliged to Mrs. van Woerkom & Mrs. de Ridder-Sack for guiding me through the first days in Rotterdam. As for London, I would like to thank Mr. Harrison, Mr. Grobbelaar, Mr. Chana, Mr. Floyd & Mrs. Jemec for making it such a worthwhile lesson in plastic surgery. I strongly recommend this fellowship to plastic surgeons that have just finished their training & are wondering “Am I able to operate the face on my own?” The answer to that question was successfully given by Niccolò Machiavelli: “All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.”
April 2012 Rotterdam
Thijs de Wit (Breda, The Netherlands)
“I would surely recommend the DAFPRS facial fellowship to every junior plastic surgeon! Whether you were trained in a department specializing in reconstructive microsurgery or in a unit performing mainly aesthetic plastic surgey, you will find the oppurtunity to see and do operations you haven’t seen or done before and to reach a new level in the ones you know already. The fellowship’s staff surgeons together cover all aspects of congenital, reconstructive and aesthetic craniofacial surgery and are all internationally renowned in the field. And even more important: they all take great enthusiasm in passing their knowledge and skills on to you and they are readily prepared to discuss them with you. You will receive their surgery lists beforehand and you are completely free to pick the operations you like most and most of the time you are even able to scrub in on them. This way you are able to learn the way you want it, in a friendly teaching setup.
I did the three months program in the Netherlands immediately after my residency in plastic surgery. I think every junior plastic surgeon at this time feels more confident in certain areas of plastic surgery and less in others. Especially in and around the face and skull! For me, even the relatively short period of three months was perfect to expand my surgical comfort zone exactly in the direction I wanted it. I wouId like to thank Dr van der Meulen, Dr Stevens, Prof Kon, Dr Mureau and Dr Klepetko in helping me do so. I strongly believe that this fellowship will steepen every junior plastic surgeon’s learning curve, boosting his or her ability to operate the face.”
April 2012 Rotterdam
Ibrahim Vargel (Anakara, Turkey)
“My fellowship gave me the opportunity to test myself and to evaluate my level. During my professional life I always believed there is still more to learn and I realized that this belief of mine is correct. Being a craniofacial surgeon I was granted a three-month fellowship to continuing my education in my field of surgery, which I feel is very important and necessary in any stage of your career. Being at the stage I am at, I found the total period to be enough and beneficial. I can imagine though that for some three months could feel like a relative short time.”
January 2012 London
Tiia Pihlamaa (Helsinki, Finland)
January 2012 Rotterdam/London
Layth Gurgia (Örebro, Sweden/Iraq)
“I would like to thank the Dutch Association for Facial Plastic Reconstructive Surgery (DAFPRS) Dr Jacques van der Meulen and for this excellent Fellowship. The fellowship has been a unique experience. It offered a broad spectrum of facial plastic surgery in a comprehensive and organized manner with mixture of the reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery that is provided in a flexible schedule. This worked perfectly and satisfied my expectation.
During my 3 months stay in Rotterdam, co-ordinators Ms van Woerkom and Ms Sack emailed operation lists so I knew what was going on every week in all the centers and I could choose what operations I wanted to attend. I had the great opportunity to practice microsurgery at the microsurgical lab at the Erasmus medical center in Rotterdam. I did approximately 50 hours of training there during my stay. The weekly indications meetings held on Thursday afternoons were enjoyable to attend and very informative. Even when only one fellow was present there, everybody in the meeting spoke English. I think it a was very kind gesture that made me feel welcomed and included. A special thanks also goes to the Dr Jerome Stevens who is very inspiring and a skillful mentor that guides and talks you through his operations. The staff at Bergman clinic in Den Hauge were very friendly and welcoming too.
After three months in Rotterdam I went to London for another three months at the Royal free hospital. Everyday offers a wide variety of procedures to attend. I would like to thank Mr David Floyd, Mr Jag Chana, Mr Douglas Harrison and Mr Addie Grobbelaar. Everybody here has been welcoming I have had the opportunity to assist at their private clinics too. It has been a great pleasure and valuable experience and I would certainly recommend it this fellowship to any senior trainee wishing to further their experience in cleft, craniofacial, aesthetic or head and neck reconstructive surgery.”
January 2012 Rotterdam
Vasu Karri (London, UK)
“The DAFPRS fellowship was a fantastic finale to my plastic surgery training. Dr van der Meulen must be congratulated for the organization, flexibility and exposure to reconstructive and aesthetic surgery this fellowship offers. The welcoming nature of all those involved added to the enjoyment. The fellow has the option to attend any operation they wish, making best use of their time. Particular aspects of the Rotterdam fellowship that were outstanding included the weekly indication meeting where forthcoming cases would be discussed (in English), microsurgery training under the close supervision of Ineke Hekking, ear reconstruction with Prof Kon, Utrecht, head & neck and facial palsy reconstruction with Dr Mureau.I particularly enjoyed my time with Dr Jeroen Stevens (Bergman Clinic, Den Haag) who is undoubtedly one of the best trainers I have come across. His step-by-step demonstration of aesthetic techniques, enthusiasm and analytic approach was truly inspiring.
My objective for the aesthetic surgery component of this fellowship was the knowledge and confidence to assess patients and perform surgery. To this end, I feel I have achieved this outcome. Looking back, I am surprised at the number of techniques, tips and tricks I learned in a short space of time. My second 3 months was due to be spent in Ghent with Drs Tonnard and Verpaele. Unfortunately, due to other commitments my time was cut short. However, the organization, variety of aesthetic surgery and opportunity to learn from the experts was excellent. I would strongly recommend this fellowship to anyone interested facial plastic surgery.”
January 2012 Stuttgart
Ayodele Ogunkeyede (Ibadan, Nigeria)
“It is a great privilege to become a fellow under DAFPRS fellowship programme, not only has it offered me the rare opportunity to meet one of the finest facial surgeons- Prof W. Gubisch, but it has given me an avenue to interact with a unique area of Surgery –the Face, which I have always craved for.
The clinic in Marienhospital Stuttgart, offers an excellent place to learn the skills required to become an excellent facial plastic surgeon. The team at facial plastic clinic in Marienhospital, has an uncompromising attitude to make you feel at home and carry you along on the day-to-day activities of the clinic. It was home away from home.
Prof. W. Gubisch and Dr. H. Fischer are teachers per excellence as they are always eager to listen to your queries and answers with accuracy, bringing to bear with their years of experience in the field of facial Surgery. No query is stupid! They create environment for you to express yourself. The clinic gives you room to be involved in the pre-operative preparation of the patients and also, allows you to take part in the surgical procedures without any hindrance. Tricks that bring outstanding results are usually discussed during procedures.
Special thanks to Dr. H. Fischer (Leitender Oberarzt) who made his office available for me during my stay, from whose experience I gained a lot. Finally, I am very grateful to Dr. Van der Meulen, for organizing this Fellowship programme, which has given some of us with deprived facial plastic surgery background an opportunity to learn from the best. You are one in a million!”
October 2011 Rotterdam/Montreux
Dr David Rasteiro (Lisboa, Portugal)
“The first time I heard about this facial fellowship, I held my expectations high. I had been searching for an international experience in this field for a long time and this sounded like the perfect opportunity. It didn’t disappoint. I took the 6 months program, the first 3 months in Rotterdam and the second three months in Laclinic, Montreux. For me it was a special combination of reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery. The first trimester I runned (or cycled) from Rotterdam or Utrecht to den Haag looking after the best surgical opportunities. It was an excellent learning experience. From craniossynostoses repair to ear reconstruction passing through microsurgical head and neck reconstruction and rhinoplasties, all could be found.
In Laclinic was a totally different experience. The setting is marvellous and the clinic conditions are exclusive and luxurious. Mainly dedicated to aesthetic surgery, Laclinic works in a familiar, discrete environment. For me it turned out to be growing and maturing experience. Surgically is a world of knowledge, but what I treasure the most are the friends I gained.”
October 2011 Rotterdam
Dr Mohamed Zedan (Cairo, Egypt)
I consider myself lucky to have this opportunity to join this fellowship and to be one of the fellows. It is well organized and the professors participating in it are very helpful, supportive and they always share all their knowledge in teaching all the tips and tricks in different types of operations. At the beginning, I had many troubles during the preparations that made me desperate to join this fellowship, yet after I joined I found it very useful as I had the opportunity to see and enhance my knowledge in aesthetic surgery and to open my mind and way of thinking in different types of operations like the ear reconstruction. Thanks to Dr. Van der Meulen, Dr. J. Stevens in the Hauge, and Prof. Kon in Utrecht for their usual support. I am proud to recommend this fellowship program to every plastic surgeon wants to increase his learning curve as it enables to choose and learn what you want in the field of facial plastic surgery.
At last, special thanks to Dr. Van der Meulen for his effort in organizing this program and in supporting me all the time, not only in the medical topics but also in the way of thinking and life management, I really can’t forget it. I am delighted to be one of the fellows as it was really worth it.”
September 2011 Rotterdam/Montreux
Dr Clarice Abreu (Rio de Janeiro, Brasil)
“The DAFPRS fellowship is a unique life experience! You have the chance to interact with physicians from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds pertaining to various facial surgery issues! In Rotterdam, I had the opportunity to visit a Center of Reference in Craniofacial Surgery. As a craniofacial surgeon, I could learn different techniques and surgical approaches, especially for cranio vaults remodeling and cleft surgery. In The Hague, I could appreciate an innovative approach to the aesthetic facial surgery. I am thankful to the whole team of the Sophia Children’s Hospital and of the Bergman Clinic and I would like to thank specially to Dr van der Meulen, in Rotterdam and to Dr Stevens, in The Hague, for all the teaching and learning!
As a plastic surgeon from Brazil, with a strong aesthetic training background, the possibility of visiting Laclinic in the Switzerland was totally amazing! The exchange of experiences and small tricks that can make the whole difference in a cosmetic surgery was up to a high level! You can get in touch with literally all the professionals of the clinic and assist in all surgeries as a first assistant. Besides that, Switzerland is a really awesome place to live and visit! Some French knowledge is desirable. I am really thankful to the whole team of Laclinic, with a special thanks to Dr Lê-Huu and Dr Pfulg! The interaction and integration of diverse ideas and perspectives helped me broaden my own perspective of the Facial Plastic Surgery and significantly increased my ability to judge cases and surgeries. The DAFPRS fellowship is an experience you cannot learn from the books!”
June 2012 Rotterdam
Jolita Zakaraite (Vilnius, Lithuania)
“The DAFPRS fellowship was very special time of my career. I would like to thank Dr Jacques van der Meulen for organizing great fellowship. It is great opportunity for many Plastic Surgeons to gain and expand experience in short amount of time. During this fellowship you learn from experts, who are very welcoming and happy to share knowledge and tips. Very attractive side of this fellowship is great flexibility and variety. Ability to choose and plan your time in theatres and list interested to you. This gives you an opportunity to improve and develop your professional skills in your very own field of interest in Facial Plastic Surgery.
At my time at Rotterdam I was very pleasantly surprised of warm and welcoming nature of environment and staff I have pleasure to work with. I would strongly recommend this fellowship to Plastic Surgeon who has interest in Facial Plastic Surgery.”
May 2011 Rotterdam
Dr Anna Sargsyan (Yerevan, Armenia)
May 2011 Rotterdam
Dr Ogbe Omoruyi (Lagos, Nigeria)
“My DAFPRS experience was very intense. Realising that I had a short time to learn what I came for –craniofacial surgery-, before embarking on a pre-arranged fellowship programme in Hong Kong, I made the most of my time. Just fresh from BAPRAS which was basically an observership programme, DAFPRS provided me such an opportunity to have some hands on experience in some world class hospitals namely, Erasmus MC, Sophia Children Hospital and The Bergmann’s Clinic.
I was mostly fascinated by the rare privilege of picking up some practical skills of performing different aesthetic surgical procedures at the Bergmann’s Clinic where Dr. Jerome H. Stevens would literarilly run you through a live commentary of every step he takes such that you would hardly ever forget. It was my pleasure to have been a co-author of a paper on his innovative technique in midface lifting awaiting publication in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.
Memories of the hospitality of DAFPRS organisers will forever be cheerised. I recall telling Ersoy, my colleague from Turkey, that Dr. Jacques van der Meulen’s leadership style and personality was unique and most admirable, an opinion he completely agreed with. While looking forward to future collaborations, l wish to congratulate DAFPRS for the great success they have achieved so far and for projecting the Dutch people in positive light.”
April 2011 Rotterdam/Gent
Dr Ersoy Konas (Ankara, Turkey)
“First of all I would like to congratulate the Dutch team especially the Dr. van der Meulen for this excellent and admirable organisation. The program organised by DAFPRS provides an excellent opportunity to gain broad experience not only in reconstructive but also in cosmetic surgery. The Rotterdam team has one of the largest craniofacial and cleft patient spectrums in the Europa. As a craniofacial surgeon, I could find opportunity to broaden my point of view and discuss the cases in details in the field of craniofacial and cleft surgery with totally open minded and competent surgeons including Dr van der Meulen , Dr. Mathijssen and Dr. van Adrichem. It is also possible to join a lot of aesthetic procedures with Dr. van der Meulen in the Velthuis Clinic and Dr. Stevens in the Hague before going to Gent. One of the most fascinating point is that fellows get complete lists of operation programs of all contributing departments on the Friday preceding the week and are totally free for planning their schedule. It should also be emphasised that a very well organised set up is waiting for the fellows in Gent. Dr. Verpeale and Dr. Tonnard are willing to share whatever they know.”
January 2011 Rotterdam/Stuttgart
Dr Pieter Verduijn (Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
“I can advise everyone who is interested in craniofacial surgery to apply for this fellowship. It is a great opportunity to see some really great surgeons. They are not only very skillful but they are also enthusiastic teachers. You will see most of them during international congresses as invited speaker or panel member. My program started with 3 months in the Netherlands where I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Mureau, Dr. Stevens, Prof. Kon and Dr van der Meulen. Here you can see the whole scope of craniofacial surgery from paediatrics to aesthetics and big craniofacial reconstructions. The next 6 weeks I spent in Stuttgart with Prof.Gubisch and his team. If you want to learn about rhinoplasty this is the place to be! My fellowship was completed with 6 weeks in Londen with Dr. Grobbelaar, who is known for his facial reanimation surgery, and the consultants in the Royal Free Hampstead hospital, a great experience.
The big advantage of this fellowship is the diversity it offers and the way you can cherry pick the operations and hospitals. What I also found really attractive was to experience a different culture, both in as well as outside the hospitals. There certainly is the opportunity to scrub and assist during operations.”
November 2010 Gent
Dr Mihai Aschillian, (Cluj, Romenia)
“I had the opportunity to meet some amazing and inspiring people, both professionally and in their day by day life. At their side, I succeeded in adding to my professional experience plenty of tips and tricks that will certainly guide me from now on. I wish to thank DAFPRS for this fellowship; I also wish to express my reverential gratitude to Mr. Patrick Tonnard, MD and to Mr. Alex Verpaele, MD, whom raised the aesthetic surgery to an extremely high level. I recommend this fellowship to all plastic surgeons whom wish to expand their horizons in the field of the facial surgery.”
September 2010 Rotterdam
Dr Rolf Bartsch (Vienna, Austria)
“Attending this extraordinary fellowship program provides an inside into a large spectrum in the field of reconstructive and aesthetic facial surgery. The teaching offers the possibility to see and learn via a truly three-dimensional understanding of facial structures, which are hardly taught in this manner anyway else. You are not only challenged by the opportunity of assisting a variety of operations, but also by operating parts of them yourself. The young team of ambitious plastic surgeons is eager to give you a supporting and warmth welcome at all time. The openminded consultants like Jacques van der Meulen and Jeroen Stevens are willing to show their secret tricks and discuss every case by face-to-face teaching. The fellow has the possibility of free choice on the operation schedule taking place in three different institutions: either at the Erasmus UC, in Utrecht or in The Hague, so it easier to choose ones field of interest. I recommend every senior resident interested in facial plastic surgery to apply for this fellowship, to get more experienced in this fascinating field of plastic surgery.”
August 2010 Rotterdam
Dr Negin Shamsian (Oxford, UK)
“Rotterdam’s Sophia hospital is an undisputed centre of excellence in facial surgery receiving referrals from all over the Netherlands. Its unique blend of innovative surgery and strong research base make it an ideal place to have a period of training. I haven’t had the opportunity to do this fellowship yet, but have had the privilege of a short visit to Rotterdam, one of the largest craniofacial units in Europe. My opinion is that any trainee that is chosen for the fellowship will be very fortunate indeed. I understand the fellowship covers all aspects of facial plastic surgery including congenital conditions, reconstructive surgery, and cosmetic surgery. I cannot speak highly enough of this department after my recent visit.
I have had the pleasure of meeting the craniofacial consultants Dr Jacques van der Meulen, Dr Irene Mathijssen and Dr Leon van Adrichem, and also Dr Marc Mureau who are not only amongst the most talented surgeons that I have met but also very pleasant individuals. The fellowship supervisor is Craniofacial and reconstructive Plastic Surgeon Dr van der Meulen who is a leading professional in paediatric plastic surgery including craniofacial and cleft surgery, and secondary cleft rhinoplasty. He is an excellent and effective teacher, an exceptional clinician, and an admirable individual and it was a privilege to meet him. To any trainee thinking of applying for this fellowship, I would recommend it wholeheartedly.
A Dutch Proverb says “Every goodbye is the birth of a memory”. My memory of Rotterdam will be one of a group of very talented individuals who are not only valuable role models as surgeons, trainers and clinicians but also in their way in which they treat others. The team at Rotterdam including the professor, consultants, trainees, nurses and co-ordinators Ms van Woerkom, and Ms Sack have succeeded in combining a very high standard of care, and training as well as a very enjoyable working environment which made me feel very welcome both academically and socially on my short visit and for that I would like to thank them.”
April 2010 Rotterdam/Gent
Dr Daphne Vos (Leeuwarden, The Netherlands)
“I have just finished this excellent fellowship. It is a unique opportunity to see experts in the field of facial plastic surgery at work in their own clinics in mostly one-on-one sessions. Not only learning tips and tricks on the technical skill that comes with this field of surgery is very useful, the organisation of different kinds of clinics is very interesting too. When you are a senior resident or junior plastic surgeon it is very nice to see and join operations you never saw before, to get ahead on experience and shorten your learning curve. You can organise your fellowship, as you would like it. With the very flexible schedule, emphasis on paediatric facial plastic surgery, or on aesthetic surgery is possible for example. The friendly, professional, nice staff and other team members will do everything to make your stay worthwhile. I would highly recommend this fellowship!”
January 2010 Rotterdam
Dr Chantal Moues (Noordwijk, The Netherlands)
“Even though I was trained as a plastic surgeon at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, joining this facial fellowship offered me the opportunity to enlarge my exposure to all aspects of facial plastic surgery. As a fellow I appreciated the flexibility to attend any operation or centre on any given day. Thus I was able to concentrate on my own areas of interest, namely pediatric cleft surgery, head and neck surgery and esthetic surgery. Also, due to this flexibility, I had the opportunity to travel to Nigeria on an Interplast mission, rapidly increasing my learning curve in cleft surgery. Joining the many head and neck oncologic reconstructions really increased my skills favorably. I would like to recommend this fellowship to all plastic surgeons with a special interest in facial surgery. Joining this program and their teachers will broaden your experience in all aspects of facial plastic surgery.”
October 2009 Rotterdam
Dr Vincent Lemaire (Luik, Belgium)
August 2009 Rotterdam
Dr Nicolas Stütz (Nuremberg, Germany)
“It is a great pleasure to recommend the „International Fellowship in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery“. The DAFPRS offers senior residents in the last year of their training program or “young” specialists in Plastic Surgery the opportunity of a fellowship under the guidance of very experienced experts of Facial Plastic Surgery.
Teaching mostly occurs in one-to-one sessions with you as the fellow either as first assistant or even operating and thus a steep learning curve will result. The staff is young, friendly and eager to share their expertise with you in their own specialised field in Facial Plastic Surgery. For me, this fellow-ship was a great chance to enhance my skills and knowledge in this exciting field, thank you very much!”
April 2009 Rotterdam/Gent
Dr Athanasios Karonidis (Athens, Greece)
“I would like to congratulate the Dutch Association for Facial Plastic Reconstructive Surgery (DAFPRS) for this excellent Fellowship. The DAFPRAS Fellowship covers the broad aspect of facial plastic surgery in a comprehensive and organized manner. The mixture of the reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery that is provided in a flexible schedule works perfectly and does satisfy the expectations of the fellows.
It has been a great pleasure and valuable experience to work with leading experts, friendly, and well known plastic surgeons. In The Netherlands with Dr Jacques van der Meulen (Chairman of DAFPRS and Fellowship co-ordinator), Dr Marc Mureau and the team at Rotterdam, Dr Jerome Stevens in Den Hague, and Professor Moshe Kon in Utrecht. In Gent Belgium with Dr Patrick Tonnard and Dr Alexis Verpaele. At the end of this Fellowship the fellow has definitely obtained a unique concept in facial plastic surgery and been more competent to analyse and deal with reconstructive and aesthetic cases.
The Fellowship provides all the facilities that are required in a rational manner. The fellow has comfortable accommodation and transportation is provided by various means. Both countries are nice and I have really enjoyed my stay as everything is easy and approachable.
I have been honoured to be a DAFPRAS Fellow and I fully recommend it to all plastic surgeons with a special interest. This Fellowship has been very popular and, with no doubt, will carry on providing the high standards of care and offering a highly desirable qualification to the fellows.”
January 2009 Rotterdam/Gent
Dr Sharham Sajjadi (Pécs, Hungary)
“This fellowship covers craniofacial, oncoplastic facial reconstructions, and facial aesthetics. It is organised and supervised by very experienced, competent but young and friendly plastic surgeons dedicated to teaching and managed by very competent secretaries. You will have absolute free hand to organise your weekly programs which is very interesting and challenging, just sometimes causing pity that you cannot be in two places at the same time! You will have good accommodation in both places and organised means of transportation. It has been great pleasure having the chance to work with such not only excellent surgeons but exemplary human beings. I cherish all my time spent during this fellowship and feel honoured for the developed friendship. I feel very lucky to have been accepted and advise it to all young plastic surgeons interested in broadening their experience in all aspects of facial plastic surgery.”
October 2008 Rotterdam/Gent
Dr Lip Teh (Perth, Australia)
“The DAFPRS fellowship provides an excellent and broad platform to further one’s skills in the areas of craniofacial deformities, cleft lip and palate, ear reconstructions, head and neck surgery and facial aesthetics. Despite this large scope, the fellow has the flexibility to attend any list on a given day and therefore, is able to concentrate on his/her own areas of interests. It has been a great pleasure to have worked with Dr van der Meulen and the team at Rotterdam, Dr Stevens in the Hague, Prof Kon in Utrecht and Drs Tonnard and Verpaele in Gent. They are all leading experts in their fields and therefore without a doubt, you will finish the job a more complete and competent facial plastic surgeon.”
June 2008 Rotterdam
Dr Ewald Dumont (Maastricht, The Netherlands)
“First I would like to appreciate the chance that is given me to attend this unique cranio-facial fellowship. The opportunity to meet and work with the most respected experts in Europe both in reconstructive and the aesthetic field has enormously boosted my armentarium of treatment options. Now, as a plastic surgeon, I can fine-tune my treatment plan much better to suit every individual patient. The coaching in the program is positive and open minded and treatment options are discussed. In a safe environment your skills are evaluated and perfected as you go along. Now I am already passing on these new techniques to my younger colleagues, making them also profit from this unique experience!”
April 2008 Rotterdam/Gent
Dr Ioannis Liapakis (Athens, Greece)
“I spent half of my time in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and half of it in Ghent, Belgium. The experience I obtained was indeed very broad and useful for my career in Plastic Surgery. I observed complicated craniofacial procedures, I participated in difficult head and neck reconstructions, I joined experienced Plastic Surgeons very willing to answer all my questions and guide me for the future!
It was one of the most interesting experiences I had and it is something I recommend.
I wish I could do that again. If you are interested for a broad Facial Plastic Surgery fellowship beyond your former residency this is to go for. You can open a door in craniofacial surgery with Dr Van Der Meulen of Rotterdam or learning in depth in cosmetic Plastic Surgery with Dr Tonnard and Dr Verpaele of Ghent. As far as I know this the only one fellowship that you can combine all the aspects of the Facial Plastic Surgery. Again go for it!”
January 2008 Rotterdam
Dr Daniel Popescu (Bukarest, Romenia)
“Meaningful Plastic Surgery demonstrated by dedicated and friendly professionals. A truly useful experience”
August 2007 Rotterdam
Dr Pieter Vermeulen (Leuven, Belgium)
“This fellowship of facial plastic surgery allowed me to assist as first assistant or operate myself on a broad spectrum of reconstructive and aesthetic cases. The staff makes it their duty to train you one-on-one; both during consultations and ORs. The atmosphere is Rotterdam city and hospital is the most “American” you can find in Europe : open-minded, innovative and straightforward.”
May 2007 Rotterdam
Miss Linda Treharne (Swansea, UK)
“This fellowship gives immense flexibility to suit the fellow’s interest, as there is a large amount of interesting and varied work taking place at the Erasmus Centre in Rotterdam. As my interest is in paediatric plastic surgery, I spent the majority of my time in cleft and craniofacial lists, but the fellowship would also suit someone interested in head and neck reconstruction or aesthetic work. As a non-Dutch speaker, I found my time to be best spent in theatre and have a logbook which reflects this, with 18 cleft cases, 20 craniofacial, 4 facial palsy, 3 microtia and 56 aesthetic cases, amongst others. Not bad in 4 months! I also logged my first “performed under supervision” cleft palate operations – an experience difficult to get in this field.
The plastic surgeons, nurses and staff in Rotterdam are friendly and dynamic and I felt very welcome. All were happy for me to participate in their operating lists.
The opportunity to spend time in Gent with Drs Tonnard and Verpaele is not to be missed. I only spent one month with them but came away with a good understanding of the MACS-lift, as performed by its pioneers. Opportunities for training in aesthetic surgery are hard to come by in the UK and this experience gave me a good understanding of the principles of all aspects of aesthetic surgery by leaders in the field.
I would recommend this fellowship to any senior trainee wishing to further their experience in cleft, craniofacial, aesthetic or head and neck reconstructive surgery. It has helped me to fulfill my ambition and be appointed as a consultant in cleft lip and palate surgery.”