Case study

Cosmetic surgeon — Mr Alex Karidis

Mr Karidis reveals how getting your medical degree is just the beginning, as he discusses what it takes to succeed as a surgeon in the demanding and ever changing cosmetic industry

How did you get your job as a cosmetic surgeon?

After studying for my medical degree at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, I decided to continue my training in the UK, by working for the National Health Service (NHS). From here, I developed an interest in cosmetic surgery, which soon became my passion and area of specialism.

This was the springboard for setting up my own private practice and later the private Karidis clinic.

Throughout my career professional qualifications have been important as I've received accreditation from many leading bodies, including the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Hellenic Society of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (HESPRAS).

What's a typical working day like?

We're based in a dedicated suite of private treatment rooms in the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth, located in St John's Wood, London. Patients visit us for both surgical and non-surgical treatments, and we truly care about each one.

Whatever's important to the patient is very important to us. We understand that the decision to embark on cosmetic surgery can be difficult, but we're here to make the journey easier, from an initial consultation to the post-procedure checks.

What do you enjoy most about working in cosmetics?

It's changing my patients' lives for the better. Seeing an increase in their self-confidence and self-esteem following a procedure is priceless.

I always listen to my patients and ensure I understand both what they want as well as what's a realistic expectation when it comes to their proposed procedure.

Most people have seen examples of bad cosmetic surgery which stands out - for example, a stretched or distorted look - and this can sometimes give plastic surgery an undeserved bad reputation.

However, I'll always offer my honest advice and professional expertise and believe it's my duty to offer cosmetic surgery which is effective, safe and ultimately gives a 'natural' result.

This is etched in my philosophy - from an initial consultation, through to postoperative care. The aim of surgery is to make people look better, not different. I believe in classic, natural, soft beauty.

What are the challenges?

At the Karidis clinic, we're renowned for turning down patients if we feel surgery will not benefit them. It's difficult if a patient has their heart set on a procedure, but I believe this is the most ethical way to proceed.

In what way is your degree and further qualifications/training relevant?

Many new techniques, implants, instruments and equipment come and go, but I don't rush to adopt them unless a clear advantage is shown.

Meticulously executed proven techniques often serve patients better in most situations than the recently advertised techniques in the press. This is not to say I don't perform the latest techniques, because I certainly do.

I just have a tendency to be more circumspect rather than aggressive about offering new techniques, which often don't stand the test of time.

How has your role developed and what are your ambitions?

The cosmetic industry is ever-changing, with new procedures, techniques and treatments continuously evolving.

I'm dedicated to perfecting my techniques to deliver the highest standards of efficacy and patient satisfaction. I seek to develop my own skills and techniques to further benefit my patients, particularly my 'invisible' scarring techniques, which leave incredibly minimal postoperative scarring.

I’ve also pioneered my own successful treatment method, alongside trialling the latest surgical devices, to become one of the UK's leading gynaecomastia surgeons.

What are your tips for aspiring cosmetic surgeons?

Decide on the area you'd like to specialise in and then practice, practice, practice. Try to hone your skills as much as you can.

You must have the passion and drive to succeed in the industry and be prepared to work extremely hard.

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