Interview: Dr. Karishma Kagodu, MBBS, MS, MCh, Plastic Surgeon

Interview: Dr. Karishma Kagodu, MBBS, MS, MCh, Plastic Surgeon

An exclusive interview with Dr. Karishma Kagodu, MBBS, MS, MCh, Plastic Surgeon and the founder of Karishma Aesthetics

Welcome to an insightful interview with Dr. Karishma Kagodu, a distinguished medical professional with a remarkable journey in the field of plastic surgery. Holding a comprehensive set of qualifications including MBBS, MS, and MCh, Dr. Kagodu has not only mastered the art and science of plastic surgery but has also become a beacon of innovation in the aesthetic medicine landscape.

As the founder of Karishma Aesthetics, her commitment to delivering excellence and enhancing the beauty and confidence of her patients has earned her a reputation as a leading expert in the field. Join us as we delve into Dr. Kagodu’s expertise, experiences, and the transformative impact she has had on the world of plastic surgery.

Can you share with us your educational journey, from MBBS to your specialization in Plastic Surgery?

Dr. Karishma Kagodu: Following the completion of my MBBS, a pivotal decision confronted me in the trajectory of my educational journey – the choice between pursuing surgical or non-surgical fields. During the period when I graduated from MBBS, there was a prevalent trend, particularly among female peers, to opt for non-surgical medical professions.

Despite the prevailing inclination, my passion for surgery, specifically plastic surgery, prevailed. In defiance of family expectations, which urged me towards specialties such as dermatology or pediatrics, my unwavering interest in surgery led me to pursue a specialization in general surgery.

Motivated by a longstanding fascination with beauty and aesthetics, I envisioned myself as a fitting candidate for plastic surgery. During my tenure in general surgery training, I had the privilege of working under a mentor whose discerning eye recognized my proficiency in delicate procedures, particularly well-suited for plastic surgery.

Encouraged by his insights and the opportunities presented, I embarked on a few months of collaborative work, affirming my mentor’s belief that my talents were best aligned with plastic surgical specialties. Consequently, I pursued super-specialization in MCh plastic surgery, culminating in my transition to the field of plastic surgery within the medical profession.

How has your background in general surgery influenced your perspective as a plastic surgeon?

Dr. Karishma Kagodu: Upon entering the field of general surgery, I observed that in India, it predominantly adhered to a male-dominated paradigm. This gender disparity persisted even in 2006, when I obtained my MBBS, and continues to characterize the profession.

Throughout my tenure in general surgery training, students and residents underwent diverse super-specialty rotations, including exposure to neurosurgery, urology, cardiac surgery, liver surgery, pediatric surgery, and notably, plastic surgery.

During these rotations, I had the opportunity to collaborate with various specialists, and it became evident to me that plastic surgery resonated most with my professional aspirations. Despite initial considerations for neurosurgery, the higher incidence of mortality, morbidity, and fatalities in that field led me to reassess my preferences.

In contrast, plastic surgery presented a distinct environment characterized by meticulous and refined procedures, intricate tailoring, and a profound emphasis on artistic expression. The convergence of artistry and aesthetics in plastic surgery significantly captivated my interest.

As I neared the conclusion of my residency in general surgery, I unequivocally committed to pursuing plastic surgery, recognizing its demand for finesse and artistic proficiency.

How do you approach patient consultations, particularly when discussing plastic surgery procedures?

Dr. Karishma Kagodu: Allow me to delineate the field of plastic surgery into three distinct aspects: reconstructive surgery, trauma surgery, and cosmetic surgery. These components collectively constitute the entirety of plastic surgery. During the initial phase of my career in plastic surgery, my focus was primarily on reconstructive trauma surgery and burn surgery.

Consultations with patients undergoing reconstructive procedures differ significantly from those with aesthetic concerns, for two primary reasons. Firstly, patients with trauma, burns, or accidents are already grappling with profound physical and emotional distress.

Our emphasis in such cases is on delivering functional improvements rather than a deep concern for aesthetics. For instance, when reconstructing a severed hand, the priority is to restore functionality for daily activities, although in a reasonably aesthetic manner. Secondly, when counseling trauma patients, our primary focus is on enhancing their functional capabilities and facilitating their return to daily life.

In contrast, consultations with aesthetic patients, seeking cosmetic surgery, involve individuals without inherent physical issues but with a desire to transcend the norm and achieve a different physical appearance. In such cases, understanding the patient’s emotional perspective becomes crucial.

Aesthetic patients often harbor distinct expectations from reconstructive patients, making the task of satisfying them more challenging. While reconstructive patients express profound gratitude for restored function, cosmetic surgery patients may find it more challenging to reconcile their expectations with reality.

In consulting with cosmetic surgery patients, a nuanced approach is essential. It involves comprehending their expectations, presenting viable possibilities, elucidating the realistic outcomes, and addressing the potential disparities between expectations and reality in the realm of aesthetic surgery.

Importantly, counseling must extend to the possibility of forgoing certain procedures when deemed advisable, as cosmetic surgery patients frequently anticipate that a single surgery will yield final and complication-free results, despite the inherent risks that accompany any surgical intervention, whether in general surgery, plastic surgery, or cosmetic procedures.

Given the rapidly evolving nature of medicine, how do you stay updated on the latest advancements and technologies in plastic surgery?

Dr. Karishma Kagodu: Remaining abreast of advancements in the field is inherently straightforward—continuous education is paramount. Active participation in surgical societies serves as the conduit for ongoing learning. During my tenure as a general surgeon, I engaged with the Indian Association of General Surgeons, attending conferences, absorbing insights from esteemed seniors and colleagues, and gaining exposure to diverse hospital practices.

This practice continued upon my transition to plastic surgery. Presently, I am a proud member of the Indian Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India—a dedicated society for aesthetic surgeons. My commitment to staying at the forefront of aesthetic surgery is further evidenced by my association with the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).

My journey involves attending conferences and undertaking numerous fellowships in the nascent stages of my career. This hands-on approach allowed me to glean knowledge from seasoned surgeons, not only in terms of surgical techniques but also in understanding their patient-centric approaches—from pre-operative preparation to post-surgical care.

The imperative to stay informed compels individuals to immerse themselves in educational pursuits, actively participating in conferences, joining national societies, and fostering ongoing dialogue with colleagues to remain apprised of the latest developments in the field.

How do you handle situations where a patient’s expectations may not align with what is medically or ethically advisable?

Dr. Karishma Kagodu: I adhere to a straightforward and unequivocal approach as a plastic surgeon, prioritizing both medical and ethical considerations. If a procedure is deemed medically or ethically inadvisable, I communicate this unequivocally to the patient, emphasizing the importance of knowing when to proceed with surgery and, equally crucial, when not to.

Establishing boundaries is a fundamental aspect of our role as doctors, and particularly in plastic surgery, where patients often harbor elevated expectations, saying no becomes imperative.

In my practice, I employ a strategy of underplaying situations, ensuring patients are apprised of worst-case scenarios, rare possibilities, and potential complications in a tactful manner. This proactive approach serves to prepare them for any eventuality while maintaining transparency.

As medical professionals, our commitment is not to intimidate but to inform, and in the event of complications, rectification is our priority. However, if a proposed procedure violates ethical principles, I firmly decline, emphasizing that ethical considerations take precedence.

In such instances, I encourage patients to seek alternative opinions, underscoring my commitment to upholding ethical standards in every aspect of their care.

How do you coordinate care with other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive patient treatment?

Dr. Karishma Kagodu: Plastic surgery is an encompassing discipline, spanning a spectrum from hair transplants and body contouring to breast procedures and even toe transplants, making it a truly head-to-toe profession. The foundational aspects often involve hand and face reconstructions, addressing diverse corners of the human anatomy.

Collaboration with other medical specialties is integral to our practice, particularly in cases of reconstruction, trauma, or burns. For instance, when working with cancer patients requiring tumor removal from areas such as the mouth or breast, plastic surgeons play a crucial role in subsequent reconstruction.

Coordination with orthopedic surgeons is common, especially in trauma cases, where they address bone-related issues, while we focus on soft tissues, covering aspects like skin loss, muscle loss, or tears through tissues.

In the realm of cosmetic surgery, the complexities extend to addressing conditions such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), wherein patients often present with anxiety, depression, and insecurities. Identifying and managing such cases require collaboration with psychologists or psychiatrists during the consultation process.

For patients undergoing gender reassignment surgeries, a multi-specialty approach is imperative, involving collaboration with psychologists, psychiatrists, endocrinologists, and physicians to ensure comprehensive care.

Burn patients, after initial treatment, necessitate ongoing care involving rehabilitation centers, counseling, mental and physical rehabilitation, physiotherapists, and sports trainers. Similarly, in aesthetic body contouring, a holistic approach involves surgical intervention and collaboration with counselors, nutritionists, and trainers to promote a healthy lifestyle before and after surgery.

In essence, the practice of plastic surgery is a dynamic interplay of various specialties, each contributing to a comprehensive and holistic approach tailored to the specific needs of the patient.

What advice do you have for medical students or aspiring plastic surgeons who are considering a career in this field?

Dr. Karishma Kagodu: For those aspiring to embark on a medical career, the decision to specialize in plastic surgery may seem premature. However, I would like to shed light on the distinctive nature of plastic surgery, a discipline seamlessly blending art and science.

Positioned as a comprehensive super-specialty, it addresses an array of medical concerns from head to toe, offering an extensive range of specializations. Prospective practitioners can opt to become plastic reconstructive surgeons, delve into plastic cancer reconstructive surgery, specialize as plastic hand surgeons, or focus exclusively on hair transplant procedures.

My inclination towards plastic surgery stems from its inherent dynamism and the perpetual challenges it presents. Each patient encounter offers a unique challenge, fostering a continual sense of excitement and curiosity.

The field’s versatility allows practitioners to evolve their specialization over time; for instance, transitioning from cosmetic surgery to the foundations of reconstructive surgery. Aspiring medical students should recognize the vastness of the surgical domain, even within general surgery itself.

Following their medical studies, they can explore various branches such as neurosurgery, neurology, or plastic surgery.

For newly inducted plastic surgeons, the profession unfolds as an expansive realm awaiting exploration. Plastic surgery, in essence, embodies a perpetual journey of discovery, devoid of rigid boundaries.

Procedures are not confined to a fixed set of techniques; instead, innovation and the development of personalized approaches constitute an intrinsic part of the discipline. The amalgamation of artistry and scientific precision distinguishes plastic surgery, transcending perceptions of mere vanity.

It holds the transformative power to change lives, imparting individuals with a renewed sense of identity and purpose. Prospective plastic surgeons should recognize and appreciate the profound impact this field can have on the lives of those they serve.

In conclusion, our interview with Dr. Karishma Kagodu has provided a fascinating glimpse into the world of plastic surgery and aesthetic medicine. Her extensive education, hands-on experience, and dedication to the art of enhancing natural beauty have established her as a trailblazer in the field.

As the founder of Karishma Aesthetics, she continues to shape the industry through her commitment to excellence, patient satisfaction, and a forward-thinking approach. Dr. Kagodu’s insights have not only shed light on the intricacies of plastic surgery but have also underscored the importance of combining skill with a compassionate approach.


We extend our gratitude to Dr. Kagodu for sharing her expertise and look forward to witnessing the continued positive impact of her work on the lives of those seeking aesthetic enhancements.

Source - Sugermint

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