After medical school, internships, and fellowships, a physician’s training never stops. And that’s a good thing; how else could doctors keep up with the latest treatments and technologies? Case in point, the five-day conference sponsored by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) that took place May 27 to 31, 2014 in New York City.
“This meeting is about bringing people together from six continents to hear over 250 speakers,” said Anthony P. Sclafani, MD, FACS, and program chair of AAFPRS’s 11th International Symposium of Facial Plastic Surgery. During the 200 hours of medical education, topics included “rhinoplasty in a multicultural world” and “facial fixes in a New York minute,” Sclafani said. With 1,000 medical professionals in attendance, the number of presentations, lectures, panels, surgical labs, and live demonstrations was mind boggling and represented current trends in aesthetic facial procedures. Trending topics included laser and light technology, minimally invasive treatments, a hands-on facelift workshop, blepharoplasty, hair restoration, and facial plastic surgery on a cellular level.
“Facial plastic surgery was conceived as a response to the need for reconstructive as a consequence of World War I,” said Edward Farrior, MD, and president of AAFPRS. Today, the organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and highlighting the many advances in the specialty.
“The face of plastic surgery is getting younger,” said Ed Williams, MD, FACS. According to a recent AAFPRS survey, social media and the “selfie” trend are motivating people to visit a surgeon. “I never would have thought that this is driving people into our offices…people really don’t have control of their photos anymore.”
“People are starting anti-aging intervention at a much younger age,” Farrior pointed out. “Treatment has become more incremental,” which allows for subtle changes, and avoidance of the formerly inevitable question: “have you had something done?”
Part of a physician’s responsibility is to separate fads from true long-lasting technology. “Why was BOTOX not a fad?” queried Jonathan M. Sykes, MD, the symposium chair. “Because it was easy, people wanted non-invasive treatments, and a company backed it.” Patients are always looking for something new, he said. But actual, data based evidence is often lacking. The doctor’s dilemma is to decide if “the new marketed device really better,” Sykes said.
In addition to private practice, many of the physicians in attendance participate in the charitable AAFPRS Face to Face program, which provides reconstructive surgery to US victims of domestic violence. Close to 500 physicians volunteer their time, Farrior said.