About

"I am often asked what hand and cosmetic surgery have in common, as the two are seemingly unrelated. For me, the answer is the similar mindset required for both: operative accuracy and finesse, respect for delicate anatomy and often a touch of artistry. Regardless of the exact nature of the problem all tissues, from an eyelid to a wrist bone, should be handled with precision and elegance."

dr Sonja Cerovac

Sonja obtained her medical degree from Belgrade University in Serbia in 1992. A year later she commenced her specialist training in plastic surgery working as a junior doctor at the University Clinical Hospital and Military Medical Academy in Belgrade. From 1995 she continued training in the UK, working at many large plastic surgery departments across London. She completed a Specialist Registrar rotation at St George’s, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals in London and Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

Towards the end of her training, she completed an aesthetic surgery fellowship at McIndoe Surgical Centre in East Grinstead and hand and wrist surgery fellowships at Wrightington Hospital in Wigan and a private Hand Clinic in Windsor.

She passed the examinations for admission as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (FRCS) in 1998 and the specialist intercollegiate examination in Plastic Surgery FRCS(Plast) in 2007. She was awarded MSc Degree (Master in Surgical Science) for her research in the field of flexor tendon surgery by the University of London in 1999.

Sonja has been a substantive Consultant Plastic Surgeon at St George’s Hospital since 2008. She has introduced the wrist surgery service to a busy plastic surgery repertoaire of this large hospital and continues to work hard to maintain an excellent reputation of  its Hand Unit.  In addition to demanding NHS  practice at St George’s Hospital, she is performing a large number of operations in the private sector in the field of reconstructive skin and aesthetic surgery. She feels that finesse and artistry of cosmetic surgery and importance of serious trauma surgery, beautifully compliment each other.

All her professional attainments would have probably not be possible without a loving and supportive family. Happiness at home engined motivation at work, whilst joy and success at work fuelled her to be better daughter, sister, wife and mum. As if, her career and private life had never clashed, but rather galvanised each other.

 

dr Sonja Cerovac

Current practice

Sonja’s current practice is an exciting combination of aesthetic, hand and wrist and general plastic surgery. During a long and comprehensive training in all aspects of plastic and reconstructive surgery, her subspecialist interests and skills have evolved spontaneously, but inevitably greatly   influenced by inspiring mentors whom I had a privilege to work with.

In addition to clinical duties she is actively involved in training of younger colleagues, teaching of medical students and junior doctors, collecting of data for audits and research, presenting at national and international meetings, and in the management of NHS services. She is an Educational and Clinical Supervisor to specialist trainees and acts as a faculty memeber in examination and training selection forums.

Aesthetic surgery

Sonja combines conventional surgical and non-surgical aesthetic techniques. Being able to deliver treatments from either spectrum of care, she believes that she is offering her patients an impartial opinion and competent advise.

The last two decades have brought significant changes in the world of cosmetic surgery. Most patients are aware of the introduction of non-surgical aesthetics, especially synthetic injectables like botulinum toxin (botox) and dermal fillers. These technical innovations have led to remarkable, almost revolutionary changes in cosmetic practices.

Having trained as a surgeon for years to master the benefits of conventional aesthetic surgery, Sonja has also adopted new techniques. She has learned how to use surgical and non-surgical aesthetics to complement one another. Operative management nevertheless, still represent the majority of her aesthetic practice.

  • Line correcting injectables (botulinum toxin and hyaluronic acid-based fillers)
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) – using botulinum toxin injections for armpits, hands and feet
  • Face rejuvenating surgery (upper and lower eyelids, facelift, necklift)
  • Ear surgery – prominent ears and split earlobe correction
  • Breast surgery (augmentation, reduction, uplift, correction of breast asymmetry, inverted nipple repair)
  • Gynaecomastia correction (male breast reduction)
  • Body rejuvenating surgery (tummy tuck, arm reduction, tight lift, liposculpture).

More detailed information on specific conditions and the implications of their treatment are provided under Procedures.

Hand and wrist surgery

Sonja’s practice spans a truly broad spectrum of hand and wrist surgery from microsurgical repair of soft tissue to wrist joint arthroscopy and reconstruction. Such skill mix is not commonly seen amongst hand surgeons, and she considers that a huge asset when faced with challenging clinical problems.

Hand injuries have always been an important part of her career. Each and every unit she worked in as a plastic surgery trainee between 1995 – 2007 had a busy hand units with large turnover of hand emergencies and endless operating opportunities. In the later part of her training she also acquired expertise in the management of wrist disorders. As a Consultant who works in one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe, with a very busy regional hand unit, Sonja is involved daily in truly challenging clinical problems and life treatening injuries. Many patients present with conditions which require multidisciplinary input and close cooperation with colleagues from other specialties.

More detailed information on specific conditions and the implications of their treatment are provided under Procedures.

General plastic surgery

Over 25 years spent at numerous plastic surgery units meant exposure to increadible variety of soft tissue defects, abnormalities and challenging wounds to sort out. As her career evolved and experience grew during this time, some generic aspects of plastic surgery have become integral part of her practice now:

  • Skin lesions – moles, keratoses, cysts, warts, pre-cancerous changes, skin cancers, etc.
  • Soft tissue problems – skin shortages (contractures) or defects requiring soft tissue reconstruction with grafts and flaps
  • Chronic wounds and healing problems – slow healing wounds, ulcers, pressure sores, chronic infections
  • Scar management – unsightly scar revision, hypertrophic scars, keloids

More detailed information on specific conditions and the implications of their treatment are provided under Procedures.

Sonja is a core member of the Skin Cancer multi-disciplinary team which meets on a regular basis and ensures adequate treatment for patients with skin cancers. She does not perform advanced procedures for patients with malignant melanomas, such as sentinel node biopsies, regional lymph node clearances and isolated limb perfusions. She works closely with local experts in those fields to whom she refers patients for further care promptly as and when required.

 

dr Sonja Cerovac

The team
“I am fortunate to work very closely with a group of recognised experts and dedicated individuals from many domains of medicine – anaesthetists, orthopaedic surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, dermatologists, hand therapists, and many others. A multi-disciplinary approach is required in many aspects of modern clinical care. I am a member of the skin cancer and wrist multi-disciplinary teams, which meet regularly to analyse and advise on the most appropriate treatments for patients with complex problems, both within the NHS and in private healthcare.”

Anaesthetists
Anaesthesia for all of Sonja’s patients is provided by the highly experienced NHS Consultant Anaesthetists. They will ensure your utmost safety during the surgical procedure. They are all proficient in administering regional anaesthesia if and when required for patients undergoing hand surgery.

Radiologists
Various type of investigations might be required before establishing a right diagnosis – ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), bone scans, isotope studies etc. It is very important that imaging performed for your particular condition is interpreted by true experts in related field of medicine. For example, for patients with various hand and wrist problems radiologist with expertise in musculo-skeletal pathology can pick up subtle changes, not always so obvious clinically and directly influence clinical decision and management.

Specialist hand therapists
All physiotherapists who look after Sonja’s patients with hand and wrist problems are experienced hand therapists who focus their practices almost exclusively on the hand and occupational therapy. Their dedication to often very lengthy recovery is essential for the long term improvement, but all of those around me have excellent track record in motivating patients to achieve excellent goals.

Neurophysiologists
Nerve conduction studies might be necessary for patients suffering from peripheral nerve compressions in the upper limb. Such tests assess conduction of the electrical impulses travelling along the nerves. Specialist expertise is required not only to conduct the test as easily as posssible, but also interpret the data accurately and help us make correct diagnosis.

Secretary
Arabella Burwood is most likely to be your first point of contact. Arabella works tirelessly, aiming to ensure that your scheduling for clinics and treatments is as trouble-free as possible.