Dr. Aker and I last week attended an international aesthetic surgery meeting in Chicago. Leaders from around the world shared the latest and newest information with us. We thought you might enjoy some of the highlights. The meeting itself, sponsored by QMP (Quality Medical Publishers) who produce the finest plastic surgery books and journals consisted of talks by the authors to about two hundred physician attendees from around the world. My derriere and noggin both got pretty tired after 3-1/2 days, 11 hours per day. I was gratified to find that many of the techniques we already perform at My Plastic Surgery Group are “cutting edge.”

The latest techniques of fat removal were reviewed. The gold standard remains standard vacuum liposuction. Despite the allure of laser-liposuction and ultrasonic liposuction, these do carry some additional risks of heat injury to the tissues. Injection of fat to melt it (mesotherapy lipolysis) was studied by Dr. Young at Washington University, my alma mater, in St. Louis. He found that there was some, at least transient, benefit, but a lot of swelling and pain. The FDA has not approved these chemicals yet for this use. Tummy tucks do benefit from the Pollock tension advancement technique to avoid drains and to get better scars. A short course of antibiotics, and afterwards some daily blood thinners, both of which are parts of our routine, were recommended. No antibiotics are needed to protect women’s breast implants during routine teeth cleaning. The “no touch” technique for breast augmentation surgery was emphasized, a precaution we have taken for several years; that is one reason our patients have such a low rate of capsular contracture. Gel implants are safe. Minimal incision facelifting and the use of botulinum toxin and fillers to postpone the need for surgery were detailed. We are in very good shape in this department, as well as in eyelid and forehead lifting techniques. Dr. Tonnard, who invented the Belgian minimal incision facelift (which I perform), and Dr. Baker who invented another short-scar technique and was Dr. Aker’s professor in NYC were guest lecturers. In nasal or rhinoplasty surgery, the finest results remain with the open technique through a small external incision, using special tiny sutures to hold the parts in place during healing, again our preferred technique. Fat injection grafting was a big part of the meeting. It is an exciting frontier with not only benefits in enhancing shape, but also with the added benefits of the stem cells and growth factors in the fat that actually help to recondition the overlying skin. Although an array of gizmos and devices were described and early results were presented, the lecturers cautioned that many of these devices are being heavily marketed to the public without firm scientific evidence of benefit or of safety. Lastly, the statistics regarding cosmetic surgery in our droopy economy were presented, clearly showing that right now many patients are opting for “tide-me-over” office treatments to provide some improvement, or to maintain a degree of youthfulness, and then to build upon this with surgery at some time in the economically healthier future. It was a great meeting! Let us know if any of this information is intriguing to you.