Dr. Pirkko Schuppan

Fold Woman: Pirrko Schuppan
December 22, 2017 The Fold

Pirkko Schuppan is one of only four female plastic surgeons in Cologne. Having spent extensive time in Iraq, working with the Medicine Sans Frontier in burns surgery, Pirkko learnt first-hand about the strength of women, and the unique understanding women have for one another. After the birth of her first child, she decided to lay roots and open her own all-female surgical practice. Pirkko talks to us about grabbing opportunities, making bold choices and why you won’t see her in a lab coat.


I have wanted to be a doctor all my life and a plastic surgeon even before I started medical school.

I spent my work experience at school with a plastic surgeon and was set from then on. I found nothing else quite as inspiring.

Plastic surgery is a long road and many years of surgical training have taken me from reconstructive and burn surgery, to my own cosmetic plastic surgery practice in the UK, Germany, Iraq and Palestine. It was during my time in Iraq, where I worked with Medicine Sans Frontier in burns surgery, that I learnt first-hand about the real strength of women and the unique understanding they have for each other. I have always found that inspiring.

Life has some unforeseen turns and it is all about grabbing opportunities and making bold choices.

When it came to choosing my next career step after the birth of my children, I wanted to provide a meaningful surgical service which was compatible with family life. I guess all working mums want exactly that. So I chose to start my own practice.

 

 

You not only have to be able to talk the talk, you have got to walk the walk. There are no shortcuts in life and this is particularly true for surgery.

 

My philosophy is providing aesthetic surgery in an environment where women can talk freely and without the fear of judgement.

I specialised in breast and female cosmetic genital surgery, and these are the two main areas why women come to see me. Even though we live in the 21st century, there is still a lot of angst and shame associated with this. Trust between the patient and the doctor is key to a successful result.

The main age group is women between 40-45, who generally have had children. But of course I also see a lot of younger women. The really nice thing is that these women are from all backgrounds and professions, which is fantastic for me, as I have the honour of gaining insight into the lives of many interesting women.

The biggest challenge I face is trying to do it all – work, kids, marriage, exercise etc

I try to have long and short work days during the week, so that we get to have some family time. I also try to use the time before consultations, or on long days, to exercise, as it not only keeps me physically fit, but also helps me focus.

I find that most days everything is under control, but of course it is never easy. Sometimes you just have to accept the small imperfections of life and get used to a certain degree of chaos – particularly when it comes to laundry. That’s also why I like owning a lot of clothing.

I know and understand the concerns that women and particularly mothers have with their bodies.

Pregnancy and childbirth change us and it is not always easy to talk about the areas that we might like to correct. Surgery very much raises the self-esteem of these women, and I enjoy aiding them through their process.

In a way, women like feeling sexy and feminine in a nice piece of clothing, and the same is true for their bodies.

 

 

Sometimes you just have to accept the small imperfections of life and get used to a certain degree of chaos – particularly when it comes to laundry. That’s also why I like owning a lot of clothing.

 

Pirkko wears the Claremont coat camel

For every new patient I offer approximately one hour consultation time. spending enough time with my patients gives me the opportunity to truly understand their needs.

This is something that is key to my surgical practice and very, very different to my time at the hospital, where I was always rushing places and not actually finding the time for a couple of spare minutes. This is a luxury that I am now claiming for myself.

There are many aspects about my job I really enjoy, but actually being in the operating room is what I love the most.

I think any surgeon would agree with me on that. I would like to grow my team and network of surgeons providing surgery from woman to woman.

 

 

I like to feel feminine with what I wear, because the days where female surgeons are expected to behave like men are definitively over!

 

Pirkko wears the Finsbury dress

You not only have to be able to talk the talk, you have got to walk the walk.

There are no shortcuts in life and this is particularly true for surgery.

In my opinion a lab coat always creates a distance between the patient and the doctor.

That’s not what I want in my surgery, I want my patient to feel comfortable and not intimidated, which is why I prefer to wear my personal wardrobe to consultations, to the bridge this gap.

I like to feel feminine with what I wear, because the days where female surgeons are expected to behave like men are definitively over!

I tend to wear a lot of dresses and skirts with blouses. I prefer a classic cut. Not too formal though. So The Fold’s collections are perfect for me!

I wear surgical scrubs in the operating theatre (I wish they were more fashionable!)

I own a few pieces from The Fold’s collection and I have got to say my two favourite items are the blue Clarendon coat and the silk blouses. I take them everywhere I go!

Pirkko wears the Finsbury dress and the Clarendon coat navy

Three ways we could be more productive today?

1. Love what you do, it gives you the necessary drive to achieve
2. Share your knowledge – we can learn from each other
3. Manage your time wisely

Favourite book?

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Who inspires you?

Marie Curie and Angela Merkel

Job satisfaction is….

Happy patients

Cologne top five?

1. Cologne Cathedral
2. Cologne’s Karneval (the world’s best!)
3. The Christmas Market at the Alter Market (right outside my practice)
4. Want Shoes
5. Stecco Natural Ice Cream


Photography: Kylie Martin, Kylie Eyra Photography

Accessories: Pirkko’s own

Hair: Easton Regal

With thanks to The Zetter Hotel, Clerkenwell


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