The CAPS Clinic: Canberra’s Finest

Within the walls of this first-class clinic in the heart of Australia’s capital city lie the most comprehensive surgical and non-surgical treatments available, as Kymberly Martin discovered.

CAPS is the largest clinic in Canberra where the skills of highly trained practice staff are at hand to deliver a five-star hospital experience for local, interstate and international patients. Here clients have entrée to four individual clinics, including state-of-the-art theatres with day and overnight care staffed by a team of professionals, headed by CAPS Clinic founder and director of surgery, Dr. Alastair Taylor.

Dr. Taylor has observed many changes in his surgical career that began in 2000 with just two staff working in 84sqm of space. With the boom in non-surgical procedures, he recognised the need to provide professional and safe rejuvenation treatments that led to the introduction of My Genesis, a program established to separate surgical from non-surgical services.

In 2009 he opened the 360UV Skin Cancer Clinic, the only unit in Canberra to offer both monitoring and surgical management of skin cancer. With the opening of their current 1400sqm facility in 2011, he launched Sole’vita Surgery, a fully-accredited and elegantly designed hospital that comprises the entire ground floor.

Caps STORY 1These clinics compliment a full suite of surgical procedures including breast surgery, abdominoplasty, body sculpting surgery, facial surgery, skin cancer, lumps and bumps surgery, hand surgery and scar revision.

The CAPS Clinic welcomes over 2,500 new patients each year. While their most popular surgical procedures are breast augmentation and breast reduction, Dr. Taylor saw the need to establish the My Genesis (non-surgical) clinic as a result of patients often requesting other surgical options that he felt were unnecessary for the level of rejuvenation required.

“It became clear that by offering quality skincare and injectables we could provide a more realistic and appropriate solution, deferring surgery until clients would achieve a more ‘wow’ result. It also became apparent from the number of clients presenting with skin damage caused by inappropriate or inexperienced laser technicians that a better, safer solution was required.

“The journey to where we are now has been challenging. Finding the right products, equipment and technology to meet both clinic and patient expectations is no easy task. As this industry is highly unregulated it can attract opportunistic doctors, nurses and now even beauty therapists looking for ways to gain a high return on a limited investment. In many cases, the treatments recommended have very little to do with what is safe or best for the patient, but more about what is best for the business bottom line.”

Dr Taylor in surgery
Dr Taylor in surgery

The underlying principles of the My Genesis clinic are based on three simple criteria: Does it work? It is cost effective? Will it cause long term problems or negate surgical options in the future? Each visit begins with a detailed skin analysis with a thorough diagnosis and understanding of patient medical history, lifestyle and skincare regime, to decide which treatment is most appropriate.

“Risks in this business are significant but the right patient paired with the appropriate technology can produce life-changing results. In the wrong hands, with the wrong technology and poor diagnosis, the outcomes can be devastating.”

The non-surgical program has grown to incorporate not only skin analysis and skincare but pulsed light, NdYag laser and infrared light therapy. Nursing staff carry out Botox, Juvederm, Sculptra, surgical care and wound management procedures.

According to Dr. Taylor, the market is flooded with the latest answer to the ‘fountain of youth’ and it can be difficult and time-consuming to establish what really works or what will be nothing more than a fad and disappear in a few years.

He says the clinic is not about the ‘hard sell’ but what is best for the client. “If we can get a 20 per cent improvement with non-surgical then we can, and do, offer a surgical solution which will be much more effective, and in the long term, cost less.”

Caps STORY 3Pivotal to Practice
In his opinion, LightSheer Duet has been the most significant and life-changing development in the non-surgical industry. “Compared to its forerunners, the Duet is the most effective method of hair removal, delivering the same level of effectiveness without the need to cool or numb the skin, in a shorter time, with less pain and fewer treatments to achieve results.”

Another notable breakthrough is CoolSculpting, a non-invasive treatment that targets ‘pockets’ of fat, a technology he considers has answered a lot of client frustration in a cost and time effective manner.

Being a medical clinic, it has chosen medical-grade skincare products and treatments that give clients access to the most concentrated and effective active ingredients available. These include CosMedix, Aspect Dr, Societe and SkinMedica.

Trained For Success
All staff joining the non-surgical team must be willing to complete a Bachelor of Health Science (Dermal Therapies). CAPS sponsor their therapists to complete the degree, which is available through Victoria University and is the only tertiary qualification in this field offered in Australia. It builds on topics learnt in beauty therapy, such as skin biology, structure and function, nutrition and cosmetic chemistry, laser physics and safety as well as dermal treatments.

Caps STORY 4“When we first introduced our non-surgical treatments these were performed by the nurses. We soon realised that supplier training lacked the level of detail vital for the treatments being provided. It was apparent that the nursing qualification did not deliver the necessary education specific for our clinic. In addition, often training provided by companies for laser and light equipment is minimal. In order to be confident in the experience, qualification and techniques of our clinicians, this degree ensures we provide the most effective treatments safely to our clients,” Dr. Taylor says.

All other training is closely supervised and all new staff undertake a three-month training program before working independently with patients. The training program comprises four phases – introduction, observation, supervision and assessment.

“We are not early adopters of new technology or products. It is wise to sit back and let the technology settle as long-term problems are never good to deal with. The technology behind today’s equipment is staggering and when using an inferior product, energy output can be unpredictable and damage may occur.

“We offer our clients the safest, most effective treatments on the market. All the systems we use have built-in continuous cooling that provides flexibility to choose the correct setting for the individual client. I believe we deliver a level of care and service to patients rarely seen in this industry.”

The CAPS Clinic, 7 Phipps Close, Deakin ACT

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