How long have you been a plastic surgeon?
As a plastic surgeon, since 1980. I did general surgery before I did plastic surgery.
What made you want to become a plastic surgeon?
I’d done general surgery and finished my training in that. What made me do it was meeting a plastic surgeon at Ryde Hospital in Sydney and he was just fantastic – I watched him do reconstructive work, which is putting things together, which is what plastic surgeons do. And what really bonded our friendship was music, because he was going to the Sydney String Quartet’s Beethoven series, and so was I, and so we had a lifelong friendship. We also used to go to the Pacific to go and do Interplast trips, which is the voluntary plastic surgery service to the Pacific -I’ve been doing that since 1985, and have been to perhaps 8 or 9 Pacific Island countries, including Bangladesh and Indonesia.
So what made me do it? I like the work – the fact you’re reconstructing is much more fun.
What are the most interesting patients you see?
Well when you’ve been at it as long as I have, you’ve just about seen everything. What makes a case interesting is the reconstruction you need to do. I had a gentleman who had a very nasty site – a BCC (basal cell carcinoma) in the inner corner of the eye. It's a very sophisticated and elegant procedure that you've got to think out beforehand and plan and execute it accurately. The patient had a great result – so that’s very pleasing.
What gives you the most job satisfaction?
Meeting interesting patients. [The Skin Health Institute] attracts a great cohort of different socioeconomic and professional people, so you get farmers to bankers to musicians to anybody. I love chatting to them, I get a lot of satisfaction from that. Plus the fact that I love the staff here. They’re helpful. [The Institute] is small enough and big enough, and so I enjoy practicing here.
How did you come to be at the Institute?
After 20 years in Hobart, I went to the UK to St Georges Hospital in London to work on their melanoma service – I was 54 at the time. I'd done everything in Hobart from a radical neck dissection to parotidectomy, to replanting fingers to you name it, I was doing it. But after 20 years, I needed a break. While I was in London, I worked hand in hand with dermatologists. Rohan Crouch, who’s a dermatologist here in Melbourne, said to me “when you get back, you’ve got to go to the Skin & Cancer Foundation (the Skin Health Institute's former name), I think you'll fit in well there.” When I came back I met the director, and he gave me sessions [at the Institute]. And I’ve been here ever since.
Why do you stay here at the Institute?
I stay here because the staff are excellent and I enjoy working here – it’s a nice atmosphere. It’s well organised, and really well set up for minor surgery under local. The instrumentation’s good, the theatres are good, the nursing staff are good – it’s a pleasant place to work.
Mr Miklos Pohl practices as a plastic surgeon, and is currently on the Board, at the Skin Health Institute. He has been at the Institute since 2006.