DR WILLIAM MOONEY
Specialty Sydney Rhinoplasty surgeon
Specialising in some of the most complicated and intricate forms of nose job surgery.
Dr Mooney is actively involved in research, education and has presented and been widely published locally and internationally on the topic of Facial Plastic Surgery and rhinoplasty. Dr Mooney has worked extensively in the public hospital system and philanthropic work is important to him, especially with regard to indigenous health. He has made over 50 trips to a clinic in Darwin, NT which serviced indigenous Australians as well as service men and women and local Darwinians. He is now a sitting member of ATSI advisory sub-committee to OHNS, RACS board, and is involved in outreach medicine to rural communities in NSW.
Only trust your care to a fully qualified surgeon who is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, FRACS. Always ask your surgeon about their experience and formal training in your planned procedure.
Dr William Mooney is a senior, experienced Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon specialising in Rhinoplasty and Facial Cosmetic Surgery.
I began my career at a most interesting time in medical history. Advances in technology were beginning to have an incredible impact on how we could operate upon and medically treat our patients. I began as a general surgeon but decided to specialise in Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) surgery. From there I always had a plan to focus my career on head and neck cancer surgery and Rhinology.
After I set up practice I found myself seeing many nasal presentations and realised as well as improving breathing, the profound impact that the way people look and feel about themselves has on their personality and their potential for a happy life. At this point in time cosmetic nose surgery in Australia was still in it’s infancy.
Cosmetic surgery garners criticism from some quarters. I feel those critics should walk in the shoes of some of my patients and see how it has improved their lives.
Whether I am correcting a sporting injury or correcting a person’s feeling of self-worth, it’s an enormous responsibility and challenge. It is such a great joy to be an ENT surgeon and work on reconstructing such important areas of a person’s face.
It takes decades to develop the skills required for this delicate work. One of my many mentors and teachers, Professor Bridger made an enormous impact on my life, including with the saying:
“In the first part of your career you learn how to operate, then you learn when to operate, then you learn when not to operate.”
I’ve been interested in medicine for as long as I can remember. I come from a medical background. My father was a wonderful, highly respected and accomplished paediatric ENT Surgeon. he was head of the ENT department at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne for 20 years. He was an innovator and introduced the first laser to ENT surgery in Australia in 1973. He used it to treat Laryngeal Papillomatosis, lesions in the voice box, that can kill children. It’s a terrible complaint; one particular child required 112 operations– every time effectively saving this boy’s life! Dad was inspiring, although the first time he took me into an operating theatre, aged 11, I fainted!
In HSC I topped the state in Latin, which later would make anatomy, where so many names are in Latin, much easier.
Medical school took six years, with 40 hours of lectures each week. I chose Monash University because, at the time, I felt it was the more progressive of the two Melbourne Universities. I graduated in 1990 and won the Medical prize and the Surgical prize in my final year.
Then came my residency, a total of six years at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Although I tried many specialities, I kept being drawn back to ENT. I was simply fascinated with the depth and breadth of the specialty. It covered areas such as Neurosurgery, paediatrics, laryngology, head and neck cancer oncology as well as of course Rhinoplasty and Facial Plastic Surgery.
The only other speciality I was interested in was plastic surgery. However, it was a very different era to now, as the only plastic surgery I saw in the public hospitals was amputations, burn victims and other traumas. About the only elective cosmetic surgery was Otoplasty(ear), Rhinoplasty(nose) and Breast Augmentation, and in those days, only really in the realm of celebrities and the super-wealthy.
When I decided to officially specialise in ENT Surgery, I joined the four-year intensive training program in NSW. My first placement was at John Hunter Teaching Hospital in Newcastle. This was an incredible hospital with an enormous throughput of surgeries, allowing me to really hone my skills on a variety of procedures from Paediatrics to incredibly delicate voice box operations. In my training I worked at some of the leading hospitals in the country including Prince of Wales and Prince Alfred. At the end of these four years, I qualified as an ENT surgeon, but prior to setting up private practice I made the decision to focus my future work on Rhinology and Head and Neck Cancer.
SHADOWING LEADERS IN THE FIELD
Six months at the Australasian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery in Sydney was critical to learn how to run a practice as most ENT surgeons go into private practice with a mix of public hospital appointments.
Then to London to work under two specialists famed in their fields.
David Howard (President of British Laryngological Association), is one of the best head and neck cancer surgeons, anywhere. Howard was very calm, steady and deliberate. He taught me an invaluable technique to ensure each operative step progressed the surgery forward in order to advance the operation. This was critical learning. It taught me to operate calmly, effectively and always with purpose.
Professor Valerie Lund is Professor of Rhinology at the Ear Institute, University College London and is an Honorary Consultant ENT Surgeon at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital (University College London Trust), Moorfields Eye Hospital, and University College Hospital. She is considered one of the greatest rhinologists in the world. She taught me the delicacy of the nose and the value of a more restrained approach – the balance of surgery and medicine. She probably operated on about one in eight of her rhinology patients, treating many of the others with medications and a conservative technique.
In Paris I worked with Jean Abitol who at the time was the voice guru. He introduced me to the intricacies of the voice box and the micro instruments required. He also taught me the importance of the connection between psychology and laryngology: the important interplay between the voice and the mental health of his patients. Over time, I have extrapolated this learning to emphasise the importance of mind and body on all our patients. We now live in a time where we commonly see body dysmorphia, which is the anxiety around one’s appearance. This was my first insight into how important the stability of the mind is to the health of my patients.
In New York I spent time with Jatin P. Shah, known as the godfather of head and neck cancer surgery, at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, the leading cancer centre in the world.
Then to the Lasky Clinic in Beverly Hills, which is focused on Rhinology and cosmetic facial surgery for the stars. LA was a different world! Up until this time was a rhinoplasty surgical technique called the Goldman Tip (reconstruction of the nose tip), which is fast and looks good, but long term has problems. It was an important lesson in what not to do. I still fix a lot of Goldman Tip’s to this day. Also, many of my patients were African Americans who wanted to reduce the width of their nostrils. I wasn’t happy with the techniques being used as dark skin scars easily, so developed an internal scarless alar base reduction technique, which we use to this day.
BACK IN AUSTRALIA
Initially I worked in Melbourne with Dad. Then in 2003 I was invited to join the practice of one of my surgical mentors, Professor Bridger, a head and neck cancer surgeon. It was a fortuitous decision because of the cultural diversity in western Sydney, as I learnt a huge skill set. I was exposed to patients of both sexes, with a great deal of trauma, sporting violence, reduction rhinoplasty, augmentation rhinoplasty, alar based reduction, and more.
Five years later I extended my practice to Bondi Junction. I now have 31 years of diverse experience as a practising doctor and 21 years as an ENT Surgeon.
I love my work. Rhinoplasty, whether to fix a sporting injury, or the way a person feels about his/her looks, is the most intricate cosmetic procedure as it combines the treatment of both function and form, a delicate balance between medical science and artistry.
I plan to continue operating and performing surgery on my two main passions; Rhinology and Head and Neck Cancer Surgery.
Also very important to me is my philanthropic work, cancer and general work in the public sector, and my involvement in indigenous health and an outreach program with clinic visits to rural communities in NSW.
I am an active member of the ATSI (Aboriginal Torres Strait Island) ENT society, attend their meetings, am involved in research and attend remote clinics frequenty.
Research is important to me and as well as presentations for ATSI-ENT I am working on projects in Sydney. We are refining a Plasma-cartilage graft for rhinoplasty. I am also interested in the relationship between nasal obstruction and mental health which I am finding is a very real thing.
My chosen profession is both challenging and extremely rewarding. Rhinoplasty, in particular, is constantly evolving to produce better outcome, making it efficacious and beneficial to my patients.
This is an exciting medial sector where one never stops learning and growing. In April, 2018 while lecturing at the Rhinology conference in Perth (hosted by the Australian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery) I was humbled by the array of talent and forward thinking by my peers. Australia really is at the forefront of best practice in the field of Rhinoplasty. It’s an honour to be operating among the top echelons of surgeons.
A huge advancement for the cosmetic industry is more thoroughly assessing the overall health of the patient, especially mental health prior to surgery. We now place a huge importance on lifestyle, naturopathy and the human psyche. Accommodating these holistic factors represents new thinking for traditional medicine and I am convinced they yield better long-term results for our patients.
We are living in an era of extraordinary scientific advancements. We now use better materials, better medicines and better anaesthetic techniques. These medical improvements help us care for our patients and achieve better results long term.
We are also moving away from conventional surgical techniques and developing less invasive, in clinic, injectable options. The younger generations are dictating this demand for better product, for less, with immediate results. While these cost-effective alternatives won’t always replace surgery, they fill a critical gap in the cosmetic market.
As a father of two children, I can’t help but become nostalgic about my own upbringing and the incredible impact my father’s career had on my career choices. I always impress upon them the things I have learnt: to be honest, meticulous and perform any task to the best of their ability. Whatever careers they choose, if they carry these motifs, I believe they will lead successful and honourable lives.
Dr Mooney first attended regional indigenous communities as a surgical trainee flying to remote communities like Brewarrina in far Western New South Wales. During this time, he also attended a weekly indigenous outpatient clinic in Redfern. After his Fellowship, Dr Mooney travelled to the Northern Territory 50 times in 15 years.
He established a clinic in Darwin which had significant Indigenous patients throughput. He also travelled to Tennent Creek and Katherine during this time.
Dr Mooney has recently become involved in the ATSI (Aboriginal Torres Strait Island) ENT committee which involves frequent meetings, research and visits to regional communities and clinics. He regularly visits clinics in Forster and Taree, as well as Tamworth and Inverell.
Ear disease is a significant issue for indigenous children as it further disadvantages them in many aspects of their life. Deafness associated with recurrent infections can make school a challenge. Early active treatment of ear disease can make a massive difference in the lives of these patients.
Dr Mooney is passionate about helping these communities and plans to remain active in the service of these Australians.