The Scar Team have been working together for many years within the National Health Service. Our main focus has been the more severe forms of scarring after burn injury. The team have a range of expertise that addresses the many different problems that a scar can provoke:
Jon is a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at North Bristol NHS Trust and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust. His interest in scarring arose from his own burn injury as a child. After medical school in Oxford, his burns and plastic surgery training took him around the world where he observed a diverse range of treatments for scarring. His research degree in Oxford looked at the chemical response to human scar formation. As Director of Research for the wound and burns charity Restore, Jon now helps to guide a number of research projects which investigate how a scar develops and the treatments for a mature scar. Jon sits on a number of national research committees. He collaborates with research and support groups around the world. He lectures nationally and internationally on the subject of scarring.
Alison is as an Occupational Therapist who qualified in 1992, starting her career as a junior in general medicine. She then progressed through the surgery and vascular specialities providing support to new amputees. In 1994 she started working for the burns and plastics service at Frenchay Hospital which at the time also covered complex hand injuries. It was here that her interest in the treatment of scars began to develop. In 1999 she moved on from hand therapy but continued with burns and plastics. In 2000 she took on running the now well established scar management service that cares for patients who have suffered scarring following a burn injury or trauma across the Southwest. She continues to work full time as the lead Occupational Therapist for burns and plastics, now at the new Brunel Building at Southmead.
Her experience in the treatment of scars has been through the use of non-surgical techniques, these include advice on massage, silicone therapy and pressure therapy. She has used these techniques on all ages and treats several hundred patients a year with variable degrees of complexity. Alison remains at the cutting edge of treatments through the annual national BBA conference, scarring workshops and an extensive network of scar practitioners. Alison is registered with the HCPC.
Kevin has over 30 years of experience in treating scarring as part of a multi-disciplinary team. He began by working in one of the UK’s leading Plastic Surgery and Burns units, developing techniques for facial and neck scar reduction following burns injuries. Within his current role as Consultant Maxillofacial Prosthetist at North Bristol NHS Trust, he has continued to develop these techniques for burns injuries, post-surgical scarring and scarring following traumatic injuries. He has represented his profession at national level as Chairman of the IMPT, the professional body for Maxillofacial Prosthetists, and he attained the Fellowship of the Institute. In recognition of his national standing, Kevin has also held the position of Specialist Advisor to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, advising on the treatment of babies with Positional Plageocephaly. In 2006 he was honoured with an M.B.E for services to healthcare.
Caroline Lewis is an NMC-registered nurse who works with the burns and plastic surgery unit at North Bristol NHS Trust. Her specialist interest is in skin camouflage makeup with 20 years of experience in this sphere. She qualified in 1992, attaining the International Health and Beauty Council (IHBC) in Remedial Camouflage diploma. Caroline treats a range of problems relating to visible skin differences including port wine strains, vitiligo, burns and scarring of all forms. Caroline has qualifications in clinical tattooing for scarring and is the team expert on the exciting new products Dermaflage and Microskin. She is an Associate Member of British Association of Skin Camouflage (BASC).
Dr Becky Watkins is an HCPC registered Clinical Psychologist, who qualified in 2006 with the Bristol Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. This followed several years of working with people in a variety of settings, experiencing a range of difficulties and studying a Masters in Health Psychology. She has since worked with people who have chronic pain, illness and skin conditions in an NHS role. In 2011 she set up a private practice and has worked with people who have a variety of needs, including those with depression, anxiety and psychological trauma. She has worked with children, adolescents, families and adults.
Areas of Specialist Experience
Becky has a number of years’ experience of working with people living with the difficulties that can arise as a result of long term conditions. For example, she has worked with people who have chronic pain, itchy skin and other forms of discomfort as well as those living with appearance concerns and visible difference. She is also experienced in working with trauma and its implications for mental health, managing anxiety and other mood states.
Becky uses multi-perspective psychological formulation to guide her assessment and therapy. She has an integrative approach to therapy which draws on a variety of perspectives, including Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), cognitive behavioral approaches and mindfulness practice. She is passionate about encouraging people to reconnect with their resources and cultivate a positive relationship with themselves.
Dr Amar Challapalli is a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. He specialises in the treatment of non-melanomatous skin cancers with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Although the bulk of his clinical work is treating malignant skin cancers, he also has experience in treating benign skin conditions such as Dupuytrens contractures, hypertrophic scars and keloids, with radiotherapy. He has a particular interest in developing high-dose rate brachytherapy techniques for the treatment of benign and malignant skin lesions and is aiming to set up this service at the Bristol Haematology and Oncology centre.
Tonia Gorman, NMC-registered nurse, works a dual role at the Dermatology Centre at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. She began as a Staff Nurse in 2002 and trained with British Association of Skin Camouflage (BASC) course in 2004, where she held skin camouflage clinics, treating a wide variety of skin conditions, until she took on the role as Dermatology Clinical Specialist Nurse in 2014. With increasing demand for her expertise, she set up her own practice, offering skin camouflage advice to people of the South West. She is also an Associate Member of British Association of Skin Camouflage (BASC).