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Insecure about your appearance, you should have something done about it – Interview Volkskrant Special

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Much is written about cosmetic treatments and TV is also bursting with makeovers. Because of the media, some people expect miracles, while others have a specter of failure. Also at the Medical (MC) and Aesthetic Center (EC) Jan van Goyen in Amsterdam South they get a lot of questions about this subject. How does the clinic deal with this development? “Craftsmanship, good information and expectation management are essential in aesthetic surgery,” says director Jolanda Wakkerman. In addition to the classic plastic surgery treatments such as breast augmentation and facelifts, the aesthetic center also offers treatments with botox, fillers and skin therapy. In addition to their practice at the VUmc, plastic surgeons Mark-Bram Bouman and Marlon Buncamper also hold consultation hours at the clinic on the Concertgebouwplein. They also believe in managing expectations. They are both active members of the knowledge and care center for gender dysphoria (gender team) of the VUmc and train plastic surgeons in this specialized surgery.

Bouman, who studied at the Vrije Universiteit and was trained as a plastic reconstructive gender surgeon at the VUmc: “I do most plastic surgery treatments, but my main areas of focus are genital surgery, reconstructive and transgender, and breast surgery. We can enlarge, reduce and strengthen both reconstructively and cosmetically. As a plastic surgeon you are trained to look at form in relation to function. Combined with anatomical knowledge and skills, you come to surgical possibilities. This applies to the genitals, but also to other parts of the body. “He notices an increase in requests for genital surgery in his practice: “Women are becoming more self-aware. Mothers who go to the plastic surgeon after childbirth often have to deal with their problem for years. It is not a whim of young girls in tight thongs, there is a large group that suffers from it. The partners don't mind, it's purely for the women themselves. We have to be able to put ourselves in what someone wants. The problem must be objectifiable and we must have a surgical solution for it, without putting too many risks on the patient. If someone is not realistic in his expectations, that is a limit for us. This applies to all interventions, but certainly when it comes to these types of interventions. We have both completed the European Fellowship Exam in Medical Sexology and are experts in this field as a medical sexologist. If someone has a problematic sexual relationship and completely attributes this to an incorrect labia, we can fix it, but that does not mean that the sexual relationship is immediately good.

NOT JUST CUT SO?

Bouman: “It is certainly not just about cutting healthy meat. Sometimes surgery is simply medically necessary. For example, I recently had a patient who had her outer labia reduced in the past. So much was removed from there that the vulva was continuously open. That is very annoying, because the exit of the urethra and vagina is less covered. That feels uncomfortable and causes complaints. This was clearly an improperly performed cosmetic procedure, which presents a functional problem. And you also see that as women get older, they lose fat from their outer labia and then such a problem can get worse. Due to our specific knowledge and surgical experience, such a problem can still be solved with a corrective operation.” Buncamper agrees with what Bouman says. He studied in Maastricht and was trained in Ghent as a plastic reconstructive gender surgeon. His specialties are gender reconstruction and genital surgery, but mainly breast reconstruction and aesthetic surgery. He has been working at Jan van Goyen for five years.

WHAT ABOUT THE BENEFITS?

Buncamper: “When it comes to genital surgery, some treatments are reimbursed. But with a labia correction, it is difficult to determine whether someone is functioning less well or whether it is a congenital defect. It is known that someone with overweight breasts can develop neck and back problems, so a breast reduction can help. Some women have suffered from something from an early age and struggled for years to take the step to have it treated. Fortunately, aesthetic plastic surgery is becoming more and more open to discussion. And of course trends also play a role. Women look at other women in magazines, on the internet, during yoga class, in the sauna or gym and see the differences. Our job is to see through that and find out why someone wants something done and what we can do for them.”

WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT AT MC AND EC JAN VAN GOYEN?

Wakkerman: “The clinic focuses not only on aesthetic care, but is broader in scope. Founded in 1996 as an outpatient clinic of two hospitals and intended as a separate place for accessible and planable care nearby. And close then means: close to the patients. In Amsterdam South, easily accessible and in the middle of the district. Due to its small size, the clinic can provide high-quality care in a pleasant and personal way. Here you are a name instead of a number. In addition, there are short waiting times. There is no emergency room or intensive care unit, but you can come here for many common conditions and treatments. For example, the specialists in the medical center perform many cataract operations, orthopedic treatments in the areas of the foot and ankle, shoulder and knee, varicose vein treatments and pain treatments. This high-quality care is possible because experienced specialists work in the clinic. Many of the specialists also work in hospitals such as the OLVG and VUmc. Most of the care that the clinic provides is insured care. In addition, uninsured alternatives are also possible for care that is not included in the basic package. The aesthetic center offers a wide range of options to help people get started quickly and professionally.”

This article was written and published by de Volkskrant.

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