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Dr. Buthainah Al-Shunnar, the UAE's First Female Plastic Surgeon

A woman who broke down barriers in her line of work, Dr. Buthainah Al-Shunnar is the first female plastic surgeon in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a field that was for a long time occupied by men. As owner of her very own clinic, Al Shunnar Plastic Surgery, this trailblazer is an inspiration to women wanting to pursue a career in the medical field, while simultaneously providing life-changing surgeries to patients.

Dr. Al-Shunnar grew up to a family of doctors, with her mother being the first Emirati female gynecologist, which inspired her to pursue an education in medicine at the age of 17. Having completed her studies at the Royal College of Surgeon in Ireland with honors, she moved to the United States where she completed her residency in General Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1995. This was followed with Plastic Surgery Fellowship in 1999, and after completing her residency in General Surgery at George Washington Medical Center in 1997.

Before establishing her clinic, from 1996 to 2004, Dr. Al-Shunnar worked for other medical centers in the United States, the Philippines, and the UAE. These include George Washington University Hospital as administrative chief resident in general surgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital as administrative chief resident in plastic surgery, and Sheikh Khalifa Hospital as consultant plastic surgeon.

In 2005, Dr. Al-Shunnar launched Al Shunnar Plastic Surgery in Dubai where she also serves as its director. The clinic has been providing much needed services to patients, mainly focusing on cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, as well as anti-aging services, permanent makeup, and skin care. But, it also gives hope and femininity through breast reconstruction procedure.

In fact, breast cancer is among the leading cancers amongst women, and surgically removing the tumor could also result to removing the affected breast. In an interview with aeworld, Dr. Al-Shunnar said, “Knowing there is a choice to wake up from surgery with a new breast after the affected breast was removed alleviates a lot of anxieties and somehow introduces a positive spin. [...] One of my patients said, ‘breast cancer does not define me.’ And another quoted: ‘I was sick but I am not sick anymore and am looking forward to the years to come.’ I find these statements so powerful and empowering. These women empower each other!”

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