The Aesthetic Meeting 2018 provided a unique opportunity for aesthetic education for board-certified or board-eligible plastic surgeons. This annual meeting of The Aesthetic Society brings specialists within aesthetic and cosmetic Plastic Surgery together to share innovations and experiences, explore and learn via cadaver labs, and come together through multiple strategic leadership committee meetings with the goal of improving patient care through education and outreach.
This year’s meeting was held in New York City in Times Square at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. There were several amazing presentations throughout the meeting—not just by board-certified plastic surgeons, but also by companies with new technologies designed to improve patient outcomes and to address unmet needs faced by surgeons.
Immediately preceding The Aesthetic Meeting was the inaugural Aesthetics Innovation Summit (AIS) and The Rhinoplasty Society (TRS) meetings. AIS brought together investors, industry leaders, innovators, and key opinion leaders in the aesthetic industry. Highlights included new advances in neuromodulators and fillers, trends in women’s health, and the digital revolution in aesthetics. TRS featured the giants of rhinoplasty in an intimate atmosphere that facilitated lively discussion about various approaches and techniques in the art of rhinoplasty. The TRS meeting concluded with a heartfelt tribute to the late Dr. Jack Gunter, who is a founding member of The Rhinoplasty Society.
As The Aesthetic Meeting kicked off, there were many exciting sessions to choose from. One highlight of the meeting was “Hot Topics.” In this session, all the new technologies as well as important educational updates were discussed. Several of the new technologies presented included minimally invasive face and necklift device (Xact by Cypris Medical), new radiofrequency micro needling devices, and a variety of vaginal rejuvenation devices. Innovative service-based models were also presented, such as a subscription-based aesthetic delivery service (HintMD) that focuses on the needs of millennials who have embraced similar models with Netflix, Dollar Shave Club, and StitchFix. Also, the latest updates about breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) were presented by the international experts who are conducting in-depth research in this field with the continued goals of improved patient safety through sound science.
One of the most important educational updates from this section was a presentation by Dr. Daniel Delvecchio, one of the nation’s experts in gluteal fat grafting, in collaboration with Dr. Nate Villanueva and Dr. Rod Rohrich, editor-in-chief or Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Their research put forth a paradigm shift in how we think about safety in fat grafting and the pathogenesis of complications. They presented that injections below the muscle fascia can spread to the deeper compartments of the muscle and may cause traction injury to gluteal veins in that region. These venous tears in the setting of a higher pressure system is the proposed mechanism of embolism and resulting patient death. Previously, direct injection injury was thought to be the pathogenesis. This research will dramatically change the practice of gluteal fat grafting and thereby improve patient care and safety.
Another big update from the meeting was the election of The Aesthetic Society’s new President, Dr. Grant Stevens from Marina Plastic Surgery and University of Southern California. Dr. Stevens is a world-famous plastic surgeon in West Los Angeles who is known for his excellence in surgery of the breast and face as well as for non-surgical cosmetic interventions. He is a leader in technology and innovation. He has contributed immensely to the specialty through research publications and training many fellows through his ASAPS-certified fellowship. One of his goals for the coming year include dramatic improvement in the branding and exposure of ASAPS to the public to improve patient safety by spreading education to patients on choosing properly trained plastic surgeons for their aesthetic or cosmetic surgery.
Our specific research was presented at the Rapid Fire sessions. Dr. Gould focused on characterizing the safety of drainless tummy tucks, and his research showed that abdominoplasty with concomitant liposuction does not increase the rate of seroma complications. Dr. Chandawarkar presented research on the state of aesthetic related devices approved by the FDA as well as historical trends, and objective assessment of facial rejuvenation procedures using artificial intelligence methods.
The exhibit halls featured hundreds of companies showing off their latest aesthetic-related technology, device, or service. Virtual and augmented reality technologies were showcased to better understand the patient experience and provide three-dimensional layered anatomical education, respectively. We even had a chance to freshen up our faces at the mobile Hydrafacial spa before leaving the conference.
The Aesthetic Meeting 2018 was a great success, allowed us to catch up with colleagues, make new friends, and learn about the cutting-edge of aesthetic and cosmetic plastic surgery. It was a busy meeting with lots of educational opportunities. We look forward to next year’s meeting in New Orleans (May 2019)!
Dr. Akash Chandawarkar is a plastic surgeon based in Baltimore, MD.
Dr. Daniel Gould is a plastic surgeon based in Los Angeles, CA.