"In my work I address not just cosmetic issues, but restore self-esteem, function and quality of life. Cleft and cranio-facial surgery is especially rewarding because they restore the appearance and the function of the lips and mouth. It is heartening to see the children that I have treated grow up and live their lives to their full potential."
While he is known for his work in plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery, A/Prof Lim did not always see himself as a surgeon. In fact, his initial ambition was in dermatology. But as a young house officer he saw a plastic surgeon perform a surgical procedure on a man's knee. During the follow-up appointment, he was amazed that the patient had no scar, thanks to the precise stitching and work. This was the "enlightening" moment that led him to a career in plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery.
A/Prof Lim went on to complete his advanced surgical training (JCAST) in 1994 and underwent a cranio-facial fellowship in Australia and Switzerland in 1992/1993. He then served as a registrar in the Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery in NUH.
With over 30 years of surgical experience, A/Prof Lim has honed his skills in various areas and is a specialist in addressing problems related to the craniomaxillofacial region. These include cleftlip/palate and craniofacial anomlaies, traumatic deformities and defects after cancer surgery.
On the cutting edge of surgical advancements
A/Prof Lim's clinical and research interest includes regenerative medicine for bone, skin and fat. And he is involved in the development and training of a navigational system for craniomaxillofacial surgery.
This image-guided system allows for intra-operative navigation and virtual planning of complex surgical procedures. This means patient-specific 3D models can be created for every patient or better outcomes.
He also works with a software that maps out the facial structures of patients so that surgeons can restore damaged areas with greater precision, create customised implants and make better plans and decisions prior to surgery.
His current research focuses on 3D visualisation on surgical planning & 3D printing for in-vivo implant creation.
Leading the next generation
As a Senior Consultant, Head of Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery at the National University Hospital (Singapore) and an Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore, A/Prof Lim believes in making a difference in the lives of his patients.
This has spurred his passion for medical education. His approach to teaching is to impart good skills and technical know-how, while also grounding students in solid values of safety, integrity and care. His dictum is to achieve excellent clinical outcomes for patients through every decision and action.
A/Prof Lim is also a prolific contributor to the field. He has a wide range of publications and has more than 100 publications in various medical journals to date.
He holds membership of several professional societies in Plastic Surgery and was involved with the AO foundation as a past Chairman AO CMF Asia-Pacific board.