Dr. Thomas Jeneby is one of San Antonio’s most successful and beloved board certified plastic surgeons who, in his latest book, “Confessions of a Plastic Surgeon,” takes readers inside the wild and wonderful world of his busy plastic surgery practice.
In addition to his work at his private clinic, Plastic and Cosmetic Center of South Texas, Jeneby devotes his time and services to helping victims of domestic violence and wounded warriors.
You perform many of your cosmetic surgeries live on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. What made you decide to share them like that?
I’m fascinated with airplanes and flight and travel in general. I was flying one day when I thought, “I wish I could see into the cockpit on takeoff and landing.” I decided to start going live to take the mystery out of what actually goes on in the plastic surgery operating room. It’s my version of seeing into the cockpit!
How did you get involved with Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc?
I saw a 60 Minutes special about a plastic surgeon helping reconstruct women and children who had experienced family violence. After the episode, I was inspired to give back in the best way I could, by donating my hands – this way I know 100% goes towards helping those women heal. I contacted Marta Pelaez, the CEO of Family Violence Prevention Services, and the rest is history.
What physical traumas and procedures are attributed to those who have experienced domestic abuse? What types of injuries are the most common?
The injuries are devastating. They range from scalping, to gunshot wounds, and even burns. Not only do these victims deal with physical scars, but they also deal with psychological scars as well. Until they come in for surgery these individuals are reminded of their trauma every time they view themselves in the mirror. Having that constant reminder is just overwhelming. These are the type of injuries you see in wartime as well.
Why is reconstructive surgery so important?
Reconstruction is how the specialty was born. Breasts, face, head and limbs are all very personal. Anyone about to lose them or who just lost them can be very depressed. Helping patients through that transition is the goal of all plastic surgeons.
How has helping these women changed your point of view?
No matter how bad life seems to be around you, take it lightly. Other people are going through much worse.
What advice would you give other physicians, who want to help and dedicate their time to those who have experienced abuse?
Do it. It’s incredibly fulfilling because you know 100% of your efforts are going to help victims. A few hours of your time can transform a whole life.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
Listen to your instincts and don’t operate on friends!
Cover: Dr. and Mrs. Jeneby. Courtesy photo
Ana Karen Flores graduated with degrees in literature, political science, and public relations from Texas State University in May 2019. Visit LinkedIn to learn more about her or follow her on Instagram.