Dr Thendo Netshiongolwe

Dr Thendo Tshisikhawe Netshiongolwe graduated with a medical degree from the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine with top honours and received the Dr KM Seedat prize in Medicine in his final year.

He developed an interest in plastic surgery whilst working as an intern. After completing all requirements to train as a plastic surgeon, he was offered a training post at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic hospital, which is the 3rd largest hospital in the world and is affiliated with the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS). During this training, he received special mentoring from Prof. E Ndobe, Head of plastic surgery at WITS University and expert in breast surgery. This mentoring extended to Prof Ndobe’s private practice at the Netcare Milpark and Netcare Rand Clinic. This is where Dr Thendo’s interest in breast surgery developed.

Upon completion of training and receiving board certification by the College of Plastic Surgeons of South Africa, Dr Thendo (as he is affectionately known) sought international education and spent two more years training in some world-renowned centres of medical excellence.

He completed two international fellowships and two international observerships. In 2019, he received the prestigious International Fellowship by the American Association for Hand Surgery, offered to only one surgeon annually, and trained at the Mayo Clinic (Ranked number 1 hospital in the USA 2019) and then at the Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard University Medical School Teaching Hospital).

His second fellowship was offered by the Dutch Association for Facial Plastic Surgery (DAFPRS) and was carried out at the Royal Free Hospital in London, UK, where Dr Thendo worked primarily in microsurgery before moving on to the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he worked in paediatric plastic surgery.

The first observership was conducted at the world-renowned Great Ormond Street Hospital for children in London, UK, with a focus in congenital hand surgery and general paediatric plastic surgery. The second observership was at the number 1 cancer centre in the world - the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, USA - with a focus on breast cancer care and modern breast reconstruction solutions following breast cancer excision.

With his cosmetic interests being in breast reductions, abdominoplasty(tummy tuck) and labiaplasty, he travelled to Canada where he received mentoring and training on breast and body contouring by Dr Elizabeth Hall-Findlay - a leading authority in breast reductions, tummy tucks & labiaplasty, who has written textbooks used by plastic surgeons across the world.

Apart from spending time in the operating room Dr Thendo is an academic, who is currently reading for a Master of Science degree in Surgery at the University of Oxford. He was responsible for the plastic surgery registrar teaching programme at WITS University for 2018-2019 and is the WITS University undergraduate teaching faculty for plastic surgery. He has also conducted lectures for the South African Society of Surgeons in Training in preparation for board examinations.

He also has an interest in Global Surgery and access to safe surgical practices in disadvantaged communities. He regularly travels abroad to attend international academic meetings to improve surgical care to his patients and the community. He has also been invited to give academic talks in the United States of America on his work.

Apart from plastic surgery, he enjoys spending time with his beautiful family, soccer and listening to music. His overall ethos and the principles that govern his outlook in surgery are applying art to science, for African rooted solutions, based on international standards, in a caring environment.