In May, I went to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. Face, breast, and body aesthetics are generally covered. Much of the information presented is minor variations on well established techniques and concepts. There are also new ideas which I am wary of as these are often discredited at meetings in the not too distant future. Remember “thread lifts” for instance? I never did them and they have turned out to have plenty of problems including distortions and poor longevity. Conversely, after a few meetings, some ideas induce a real paradigm shift. Finally, some old concepts make their way around to the top again and are found to be the best approach after all. If all this changing landscape makes you a bit unsure, imagine sitting in the audience with a thousand other surgeons trying to figure out which is best. Ultimately, I’ve decided that my training Chairman was right… ” You don’t want to be the first or the last surgeon to use a proven technique,” and ” The batters who hit the most homeruns also have the most strike-outs.” Accordingly, I try to use new and better techniques but with a proven record and relatively conservative approach. If techniques did not evolve, we would all be operating the same as surgeons decades ago and never improve.
What did I learn then? First, a well done facial rejuvenation surgery is going to be a better value over 10 years than only using fillers and Botox. Lipoabdominoplasty (liposuctioning the abdominal flap in an abdominoplasty), a technique made popular by South American Surgeons, has a place in a conservative practice like mine. Fat grafting for improving breast reconstruction results is well accepted, but for augmentation only is not ready for prime time. Not much has changed with eyelid surgery – just be careful and conservative to avoid poor results. There are at least a dozen other things I took away, but hopefully this will give you an idea that you are really dependent on your surgeon’s judgement, because there’s no one textbook way to do things in Plastic Surgery.