▲ Dr. Feras Alshomer, an international fellow from Saudi Arabia, is taking a commemorative photo with his advisors Professor Joon Pio Hong (right) and Professor Jong-Woo Choi (left) of the Department of Plastic Surgery holding the Certificate of Clinical Fellowship
International fellow Feras Alshomer is an assistant consultant at King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh, one of the Big-5 hospitals in Saudi Arabia, and specializes in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Since October 2021, Dr. Feras has been under the guidance of Professor Joon Pio Hong and Professor Jong-Woo Choi of the Department of Plastic Surgery, Asan Medical Center (AMC). Dr. Feras shares his story about the international physician training of Asan Medical Center.
How did you come to know about Asan Medical Center?
Through academic societies and journals, I was able to know about Asan Medical Center from the many achievements AMC Plastic Surgery Team have accomplished in reconstructive microsurgery and supermicrosurgery. Also, I received much recommendation from former Saudi plastic surgery fellows who attended the fellowship program at AMC. I greatly appreciate my colleagues and Asan Medical Center for giving me this training opportunity.
How was your training?
It is a great honor to be under the guidance of world-renowned professors, Professor Joon Pio Hong and Professor Jong-Woo Choi, in the field of plastic surgery. I'm a very lucky person. (Laughs) My training has been very helpful in being able to encounter various and complex cases due to the large number AMC deals routinely. It was impressive to see a well-structured system and team members collaborating to solve difficult problems. The competitiveness of Asan Medical Center seems to come from achieving its goal as one team, comprised with individuals with one’s own expertise.
▲ Dr. Feras Alshomer and Professor Jong-Woo Choi of the Department of Plastic Surgery (first and second from the right) at the Congress of World Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery
What have you learned?
It was a series of experiences that could not be easily done elsewhere. I was able to learn new technologies introduced by Asan Medical Center, including microsurgery, supermicrosurgery, robotic surgery, 3D printing, state-of-the-art ultrasound techniques, and artificial intelligence. I dealt with various cases related to my interest such as head and neck reconstruction, facial reanimation, extremity reconstruction, and lymphedema reconstruction. Professors kindly explained whenever I had difficulties or questions in the process.
What is the advantage of AMC international physician training program?
The process of intensively discussing cases and treatment plans with the team helped me organize my thoughts. Also, I was able to further develop my surgical skills by direct demonstration and supervision of the surgery process. While participating in various forums and workshops, I gained knowledge and encountered innovative ideas. Having the opportunity to study in the microsurgical training lab and robotic surgery training session was also very informative. Through this process, I was able to present at the 11th Congress of World Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery held in Cancun, Mexico last year, and 3 abstracts were adopted by the Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. I would like to thank my mentors of Asan Medical Center for making everything possible.
▲ [Left] Dr. Feras Alshomer (center) observing a head and neck reconstruction surgery
▲ [Right] Dr. Feras Alshomer (back row, center) taking a commemorative photo with the Plastic Surgery Team
How was your life in Korea?
On my days off, I explored Seoul. I especially enjoyed biking along the Han River. I also visited Incheon, Sokcho, and Busan and planning to visit Jeju Island next time. Also, Korean food is very impressive. I like Korean beef grilled over charcoal the most and enjoyed tteokbokki, a stir-fired dish made of rice cake, although it is quite spicy. It is expected that there will be cultural differences between Saudi Arabia and Korea, but surprisingly, there are many similarities. After making many Korean friends, I found out that Saudi and Korea share similar concepts such as close family relationships. Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude to all the employees of Asan Medical Center for giving me unforgettable memory in my career and life.
※ ‘Welcome to AMC’ introduces the stories of international physicians who come to AMC to learn advanced medical skills.