Dr Alan Briedahl is a plastic surgery consultant working at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Today, we chat to him about his journey from GP-loving medical student to his lofty positions today! As an intern, Alan decided to specialise due to the vast breadth of knowledge required to stay up-to-date as a GP. He found his way into plastics, which suited his self-described “obsessiveness” and desire to use his hands. Listen in to find out why plastic surgeons are the only ones not “pressed for time” and the “creative” ways solutions they find to complex problems.

Dr Briedahl splits his time between public and private work in his theatres and clinic. Both of these involve waking up fairly early and working long hours, with additional on-call work in the public system. This aspect grants him access to some of the more exciting presentations – involving hand, craniofacial and skin trauma – albeit in the middle of the night. For the most part, plastic surgeons deal with skin lesion excisions and cosmetic surgery, and we were surprised to learn which of the two are more grateful for the work done on them!

His work has taken him overseas, where he has honed his skills with basic equipment and helped improve the lives of countless patients. This involves his work as a missionary and board member of Operation Smile. Alan is excited about the future of plastics, especially with the prospect of facial transplants on the horizon. He sees the workload increasing, due to the increase in trauma and skin cancer. Most surgeons tend to subspecialise, but Alan enjoys the variety that general plastics offers. He mixes things up by teaching and making time for his hobbies of sailing and golf – we were amazed how he does it!


As always, we finish with some insider tips as to how to make your resume glean and how to make the most of our intern year. Alan’s key message to everyone, regardless of their predisposition, is to “enjoy the journey”.

We hope you guys enjoy this podcast! Feel free to send through any questions you may have for Dr Alan Briedahl, and give us feedback on this week’s episode by filling out the survey.

Pathway into Plastic sugery

Medical School →  Internship → Surgical Education and Training program (3 years) → Advanced Surgical Training in Plastic surgery (4 years) → Consultant

Source: FRACS


According to the Australian Government Taxation Data, in the 2013-14 income year we had approximately:

  • 56 female plastic surgeons earning an average of $281,608
  • 237 male plastic surgeons earning an average of $448,530
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TMC037: Plastic surgery with Dr Alan Briedahl
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