Dr Gloria Tshukudu says her enthusiasm for the field was sparked as a teenager by a Danielle Steel epic in which a plastic surgeon performed facial re-construction so well that even her malicious mother-in-law didn't recognize her.
Growing up, she felt the calling to be a doctor. She qualified in 2012 in the wake of finishing her Master's of Medicine at the University of Limpopo's Medunsa grounds.
Today, she's a Senior Consultant at Dr George Mukhari Hospital, a scholarly healing facility in the north of Pretoria close Ga-Rankuwa and a sessional plastic surgeon in the Mediclinic Muelmed in Pretoria and Mediclinic Legae in Mabopane.
Plastic medical procedure used to be viewed as a "white thing", says Tshukudu – and was likewise extremely male-ruled. Every so often, a patient may even still call her “sister”.
She says that most of the plastic surgery procedures aren’t the glamorised ones.
Rather than boob jobs, tummy tucks and face-lifts, the surgery is mostly required on burn victims, amputees, etc.
She recalls, “Looking at a parent after a successful cleft lip surgery is wonderful, but even cosmetic surgery – like a breast augmentation, which helps a patient feel confident again – gives me a great feeling.
“I saw a former patient who’d had a breast reduction at a wedding. She pushed out her chest at me. It still makes me smile.”
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