A partnership between Melbourne and Indonesian universities led Dr Mohamad Rachadian to the University of Melbourne and kicked off a highly successful career performing and teaching plastic surgery.
Through his work in reconstructive surgery, Mohamad restores physical wellbeing, boosts self-esteem and improves overall quality of life for his patients.
Why did you choose the University of Melbourne?
I participated in the AMS (Advanced Medical Science) dual degree program offered by the University of Melbourne and the Faculty of Medicine University of Indonesia. This program began in 1999 with the first batch of students. I was enrolled in the 2005 batch and started my AMS year in 2008-2009.
As an AMS student, I had the option to choose between two top universities in Melbourne. I was attracted to the University of Melbourne because of its prestigious reputation as the number one medical university in Australia with a long-standing history of excellence. I am delighted with my decision.
What are your strongest memories of your time at the University?
My year at AMS was my first experience studying abroad. I was amazed by all that top universities like the University of Melbourne had to offer, including the impressive building architecture, facilities, and faculty experts in my field of study through the weekly masterclass lectures.
One of the highlights of my time there was the clinical exposure module at Austin Hospital in Melbourne. During this module, I was fortunate to have Professor David L Hare, a consultant cardiologist, as my supervisor for a research project. He and his team were incredibly helpful in introducing me to the clinical setting and assisting me with the project. Overall, it was an amazing experience.
Tell us about your current role and how your studies helped you prepare for it.
I am currently employed as an assistant professor in the Plastic Surgery Residency Program at the Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia. I also work as a consultant plastic surgeon, specialising in Reconstructive Microsurgery and Oncoplasty.
As a faculty member, I teach medical students, residents, and fellows in the Division of Plastic Surgery. My focus is primarily on breast reconstruction cases using free flaps and treating lymphedema through physiological lymphatic surgery.
My time studying at the University of Melbourne provided me with a strong foundation in medical science and medicine, which has given me the confidence to work in the international medical community. Through this international networking, I have also been able to obtain scholarships and international grants, which have shaped my career as a reconstructive microsurgeon. The critical thinking, research skills, and interdisciplinary approach I gained during my bachelor’s program have been essential to my success.
What drew you to your field?
The intricacy and precision of reconstructive microsurgery is fascinating. The field requires meticulous skill and can bring transformative changes to patients, especially breast cancer and lymphedema patients.
What does a normal day look like for you?
On a typical day, I begin by teaching medical students, residents, and fellows at the university hospital in the morning.
Then, I move on to consulting with patients and performing complex breast reconstruction and head and neck cancer surgeries using microsurgery techniques. These surgeries can last anywhere from six to 12 hours in difficult cases.
Meanwhile, I also engage in research with co-faculty fellows and residents, as well as editorial tasks. Later on in the evening, I continue to a private hospital to take care of those patients in need.
What are some career highlights so far, and what’s next?
Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of embarking on a fellowship journey across prestigious hospitals worldwide, specialising in reconstructive microsurgery. Under the guidance of renowned microsurgery experts, I have gained invaluable skills and knowledge.
As the Editor-In-Chief of the Jurnal Plastik Rekonstruksi and Associate Editor at PRS Global Open Journal, I have had the chance to contribute to the field of plastic surgery. I am honoured to have received numerous grants and scholarships, including the Plastic Surgery Foundation International Scholar 2021 and the Brussels Breast Fellowship.
My ultimate goal is to continue advancing in the field of breast reconstruction and lymphatic surgery, mentoring the upcoming generation of surgeons and contributing to global research.
What advice do you have for current students?
To be a successful professional, one must embrace every opportunity to learn and grow. It’s important to remain vulnerable and not be afraid to make mistakes.
Don’t limit yourself to your specific field, but explore other disciplines as well. Be open to new technologies and keep up with current events. This broadening of knowledge and perspective will help shape you into a well-rounded and impactful professional.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask! It may open up new opportunities that you never imagined.