Parnell Surgeon
Skin tumours Skin cancer & melanoma Traumatic defects face, hand, limbs and trunk Breast Surgery, Reconstructive and Rejuvenative Hand Surgery Wounds, ulcers and difficult healing problems Facial and Body rejuvenation Rhinoplasty Otoplasty Gynaecomastia in the male breast Breast Reduction

Welcome to Parnell Surgeon

Parnell Surgeon is a specialist plastic & reconstructive surgery service created by Mike Klaassen and Karen Smith in April 2012.

We are located at 80 Bassett Road, Remuera, Auckland 1050.

Plastic surgery is a medical speciality concerned with the correction or restoration of form and function. Though cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is the best-known kind of plastic surgery, most plastic surgery is not cosmetic: plastic surgery includes many types of reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns.

We have a long history of surgical education and volunteer surgery with Interplast in the third world. Excitingly, these two passions are now combined for a new initiative for surgery in the Pacific.

As well as years of international experience Mike was an examiner in plastic and reconstructive surgery with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons from 2000 - 2008. He continues to be committed to the training of younger surgeons with regular postgraduate courses run from the practice including preparation / coaching courses for the final fellowship exam FRACS(Plast), held twice a year in March and July. These are timed to prepare candidates for an optimal performance prior to this final hurdle in training.

Our philosophy in this practice is: doctors first, surgeons second. We aim to offer a personalised, tailor-made and discreet approach to your plastic surgery needs. Surgery has been described as a negotiation with the human tissues. It is a sort of 3 dimensional language, with time as the 4th dimension.

We offer: consultations, second opinions, medicolegal reports, minor surgery, major surgery, complex surgery and surgical education. Procedures we offer include:

  • Skin tumours (benign & malignant)
  • Skin cancer & melanoma
  • Traumatic defects face, hand, limbs and trunk
  • Breast Surgery, Reconstructive and Rejuvenative
  • Hand Surgery
  • Wounds, ulcers and difficult healing problems
  • Facial and Body rejuvenation
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Otoplasty
  • Gynaecomastia in the male breast
  • Breast Reduction

ABOUT Dr Klaassen

Dr Michael Klaassen FRACS has been a practising plastic surgeon since 1990.

As well as a strong and widespread provincial plastic surgery service that he founded with his wife and practice manager Karen Klaassen in 2012, he has an urban practice in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city of 1.5 million population.

Every other week they travel and work in some of the north island's more picturesque rural regions where there are coastline beaches, mountains, lakes and rivers. His patients include a broad spectrum of everyday Kiwis and ex-patriates who have chosen this paradise nation to live in. He travels regularly also to Australia where two of their three adult children are residing and the South West Pacific where he provides humanitarian plastic surgery services under the auspices of Interplast (founded in 1983). His clinical interests are skin cancer (CLEAR philosophy), facelift (contour congruent methods), aesthetic and reconstructive rhinoplasty and breast surgery including breast augmentation with either the new Motiva Matrix range of implants, fat grafting techniques as pioneered by his mentor Dr Lawrence Ho FRACS. Up until 2012 when he concentrated specifically on building a comprehensive private practice he was focused on trauma reconstruction and cancer of the head and neck. He served as a consultant plastic surgeon for 15+ years (1993 – 2007) at Waikato Regional Hospital and St George Hospital in Sydney.

He is the co-author of three modern textbooks on various topics of plastic surgery soon to be published by Springer International of Germany. He enjoys passing on his experience and surgical skills to plastic surgeon trainees in Australasia and The Pacific Island Nations via an annual Auckland FRACS Course and the Interplast Surgical Education Projects. More recently he has designed and convened an annual FACE meeting (Queenstown 2017, San Gemini proposed for 2018).

One day he hopes to pass on his large practice to a young passionate colleague(s) but for the moment has not lost his passion for the art and craft of plastic surgery.

He can be contacted directly via his secretary on 0800 444 054, personal mobile phone +64 2102 4865 47, his private email: mklaassen@xtra.co.nz or this website.

He has many valued and expert friends all over the world and keeps in contact with them regularly, including Professor Jim Frame and Mr Adrian Richards in UK, Dr Serge de Fontaine in Belgium, Dr James Newman and Dr Greg Mueller in the USA, Dr Lawrence Ho, Professor Michael Leung and Dr Mark Moore in Australia. He does not hesitate to seek expert opinions from these overseas colleagues for his patients.

Mike Klaassen was born in Otahuhu in 1956 and graduated from Otago University MBChB in 1980. He qualified as a plastic surgeon in 1990 with FRACS. He then worked in UK, Europe and Australia for 3 years. After a decade in the Waikato and half a decade in Sydney, he returned to Auckland in 2008 and opened Parnell Surgeon in April 2012.

His other interests are surgical skills training and volunteer plastic surgery in the third world. He is currently Surgical Director of a private group S3 (Selective Surgical Skills), a senior lecturer in surgery at University of Auckland and Former Director of Surgical Skills at the Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences. From 2000 - 2008 he was an examiner in plastic & reconstructive surgery for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and has previously been a selector and supervisor of advanced training in plastic surgery. For his 22 years of service as a volunteer surgeon with Interplast Australia & New Zealand he was recently made a Paul Harris Fellow, by Rotary International.

Mike Klaassen is focused on personalised plastic surgery service, whether it is reconstructive, aesthetic or general. Many minor procedures can be planned for the clinic and he has accreditation at a number of excellent day stay and inpatient surgical hospital facilities for more major surgery (e.g. One Six One Gillies, Laparoscopy Auckland, Columba at Ascot, SX Hamilton and SX Brightside Hospital, Auckland). He is happy to give advice, an honest second opinion and reassurance for patients who require this.

His special surgical interest has been in breast reduction surgery including male gynaecomastia, eyelid rejuvenation, rhinoplasty for males and females and body contouring procedures including breast reconstruction following mastectomy. He has also developed special skills in the correction of prominent ears in children from neonates - teenagers. Facial rejuvenation with the use of fat stem cell volume enhancement is also a technique he has mastered over more than a decade. Wounds, challenging healing problems and trauma are also keenly in his repertoire.

His recent book publications include:

Some Wise Words From the "Old Man" - advice from an old surgeon for his daughter beginning her internship (2012)

Introduction to Local Flaps - a surgeon's handbook (2011) with Dr Earle Brown FRACS

A Woman's Guide to Breast Reconstruction Following Mastectomy (2012) with Drs  Emma Blair, Philip Chia and Sophie Klaassen

Medical Registration: Medical Council of New Zealand No 11635 Medical Board of Australia General registration 0001597788 GMC UK 2012Ref 344717  

Recent Papers Presented 

The Congruent Facelift: a 3D Approach (Springer Nature, January 2018)

Simply Local Flaps (Springer Nature, February 2018)

War, Facial Surgery and Itinerant Kiwis: the New Zealand Plastic Surgery Story (Australasian Journal of Plastic Surgery, March 2018)

An Examiner's Guide to Professional Plastic Surgery Exams (Springer Nature, August 2018)

Other Papers Presented 

Really Bad Facial Injuries - Longterm Followup - Lessons Learned Origins of Trauma Care in Plastic Surgery Longterm Outcome in Mutilating Upper Limb Trauma (^ all at Auckland Plastic Surgery Trauma Symposium / June 22nd 2012)

Decision making in mutilating upper limb injuries7th May 2012, Kuala Lumpur, 

The future of the New Zealand Plastic Surgery Workforce – Poster presentation with Brandon Adams & Swee Tan, Kuala Lumpur

Repairing Bodies & Rebuilding Liveswhat’s new in the Interplast Programme, Rotary Conference at Waitangi, 21st April 2012

The Killing Escarpments of GallipoliAuckland Medical History Society, 12th April 2012

Burnout in Plastic Surgery – Staying well to practice well (Jan, 2012), Tortolla, British Virgin Islands

Retro Glasgow (1983) – Forearm to mouth transfer: a world first? (Jan 2012), with Mr Brent Tanner MD, 26th BVI Workshop in Plastic Surgery, Tortolla

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I see you and have a skin tumour removed on the same day?
A. Yes indeed, we have set up Parnell Surgeon to offer what we call "See & Do" minor surgery. We book you for an approximate 90 minute appointment. After a history examination and diagnosis and informed consent, we can usually proceed to remove the tumour without delay, under local anaesthetic.

Q. Is breast reduction surgery safe and worthwhile?
A.
Over 25 years, patients in this category are the happiest and most grateful I have encountered (apart from the parents of a child whose cleft lip I have repaired). The mechanical stress, body image problems and disabilities caused by hypertrophic (oversized) breasts are best known to the women that have to endure this medical problem. Modern breast reduction surgery, performed with careful planning, finesse and a number of versatile techniques produces proportional and aesthetic body contours, increased general health and an improved quality of life. There is evidence that the incidence of breast cancer is also reduced, because the volume of breast tissue has been in most cases halved.

Q. My baby is born with prominent or distorted ears. What can be done?
A.
If I can see them within the first 2 weeks of life as a neonate, I will advise the use of neonatal ear moulding using a modified baby ear splint developed from the commercial Ear Buddies™ of Dr David Gault (UK). The ear splinting takes advantage of the developmental fact that the ear cartilage of a newborn baby is very soft and can be moulded into a normal shape and contour. Parents are taught how to continue this for between 2 -4 weeks. The results are truly dramatic and I used this method successfully in my own great niece, Ella-Gray (now 2 yrs).

Q. I am middle-aged, healthy but looking tired and heavy around the eyes. Is there a simple rejuvenative operation to help improve my appearance?
A.
No aesthetic surgery is simple - risks and potential complications must be considered carefully and after all the facts are explained. Under local anaesthetic though, I commonly perform a new upper eyelid rejuvenation technique called Anchor Blepharoplasty. This recreates the beautiful and normal upper eyelid fold, lifting the eyelid slightly, removing the heavy hooded skin excess and producing a natural, refreshing and youthful restoration that is obvious immediately and continues to improve with time. We notice the periorbital region because we usually make eye contact in everyday social interaction. Recovery time is approximately 2 weeks.

Q. Are breast implants safe?
A.
Dr Klaassen has had 25 years clinical experience with both adjustable and form stable implants used for breast reconstruction, breast augmentation and calf augmentation. All implants are foreign bodies which are encapsulated inside the body by a process of healing and collagen fibre formation. The outer polymer of silicone encases the various gels or saline within the implant interior. Over many years the outer layer can develop tiny pin hole tears from mechanical shearing forces and the gel can then leak inside the protective biological capsule. If saline is the filler then this is safely absorbed.  This may or may not lead to form changes and symptoms including pain and discomfort. In this practice we recommend changing and replacing your implants every 10 years or earlier if there are problems. This is added expense and we are therefore more and more, offering fat grafting as an alternative method for increasing breast cup size. The very longterm affects of this are awaited, but the biological regenerative potential of stem cell rich autologous fat grafts has an intuitive sensibility about it. The breast implants manufactured by the French company PIP have been proven to contain industrial grade silicone in a criminal fraud that has placed thousands of patients at risk of toxic disease and in my view should all be removed with urgency and the support of health regulatory authorities, no matter which country of origin. In summary, some breast implants are safe, but they all have inherent and common risks for longterm sustainability. Fat grafting is now a real alternative and we predict that it will become the gold standard for breast augmentation in the next decade. Because of the overall concern about all grades of silicone gel, Dr Klaassen is recommending the pioneering technique of Dr Ho (Sydney) who described endoscopic augmentation mammaplasty (saline filled implants) in 1993 and has subsequently trained him in the technical details of this operation. Ask about it if you are interested.

Q. I retired from rugby years ago. I have deformed 'cauliflower' ears. Do I have to look like this forever?
A. No, certainly not. Dr Mike has perfected a reconstructive technique for cauliflower ear deformity called extended otoplasty. This can be performed under local anaesthetic , with or without sedation or general anaesthetic. It is a day stay procedure and takes between 2 - 3 hours depending on the severity of the cauliflower. The cause of this problem (common in legendary rugby players) is repetitive blunt and shearing trauma causing haematoma on haematoma and chronic fibrosis of the resulting bruising between the ear cartilage and skin. Through a carefully placed incision the skin is reflected back like the page of a book and the beautiful natural contours of the normal adult ear are literally carved out of the thick distorted block. It is as close to Michaelangelo as you can get as a plastic surgeon - other than rhinoplasty (see later). The hollow of the conchal bowl flows out and up into the gently curving antihelical fold and near the upper pole of the ear splits subtly into the two crural folds. Bleeding is controlled, the ear skin redraped and a splint type ear dressing applied to protect the neo-ear. A detailed and comprehensive consultation with a plan and costings is required first.

Q. My nose is too big, too long, too crooked - what are the options for me?
A. The human nose is a particularly key and anatomically central feature of who we are. A beautiful form is almost indefinable. The functions of the nose for breathing, filtering, smelling and warming inspired air are even more essential than the form. Rhinoplasty including septoplasty are surgeries to change the form, reveal the hidden beauty and even improve the nasal function. Dr Mike will often combine with an otorhinolaryngology  specialist for combined rhinoplasty if indicated by the pre-operative diagnosis. He uses a combination of closed and open techniques depending on what is required in the different anatomical units that make up the nose. Surgery is usually as an inpatient for one night and recovery takes about 3 - 4 weeks.

A Tribute to Harold Gillies

Sir Harold Delf Gillies CBE is Mike Klaassen's greatest hero. He pioneered modern plastic surgery in the English language with strong European influence. His compassion for and dedication to finding reconstructive solutions for the servicemen maimed and disfigured in the Great War (1914-1918) is legend. He understood the importance of teamwork and precise planning. "My surgery may not be life-saving, but it is life-giving" he once remarked. On another occasion he describes "Men without half their faces; men burned and maimed to the condition of animals."

Sir Harold Delf Gillies (17 June 1882 - 10 September 1960) was a New Zealand-born, and later London-based, otolaryngologist who is widely considered as the father of plastic surgery.

Gillies was born in Dunedin, New Zealand. He studied medicine at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, where despite a stiff elbow (sustained sliding down the banisters at home as a child) he was a rowing blue.

Gillies married Kathleen Margaret Jackson on 9 November 1911, in London. They had four children. His youngest son Michael Thomas Gillies followed his father into medicine.

In addition to his career as a surgeon, he was also a champion golfer and inveterate practical joker. For many years his home was at 71 Frognal, in the heart of London's Hampstead village. A blue plaque on the front of that house now commemorates his life and work.

Following the outbreak of World War I he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. Initially posted to Wimereux, near Boulogne, he acted as medical minder to a French-American dentist, Valadier, who was not allowed to operate unsupervised but was attempting to develop jaw repair work. Gillies, eager after seeing Valadier experimenting with nascent skin graft techniques, then decided to leave for Paris, to meet the renowned surgeon Hippolyte Morestin. He saw him remove a tumour on a patient's face, and cover it with jaw skin taken from the patient. Gillies became enthusiastic about the work and on his return to England persuaded the army's chief surgeon, Arbuthnot-Lane, that a facial injury ward should be established at the Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot.

This rapidly proved inadequate and a new hospital devoted to facial repairs was developed at Sidcup. The Queen's Hospital opened in June 1917 and with its convalescent units provided over 1,000 beds. There Gillies and his colleagues developed many techniques of plastic surgery; more than 11,000 operations were performed on over 5,000 men (mostly soldiers with facial injuries, usually from gunshot wounds). The hospital, later to become Queen Mary's Hospital, was at Frognal House (the birthplace and property of Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney after whom Sydney, Australia was named).

For his war services Gillies was knighted in the Birthday Honours list of June 1930. William Arbuthnot-Lane commented, "Better late than never".

See: Pioneering plastic surgery records from First World War published at www.telegraph.co.uk