I just returned from the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) in Denver. This convention is the largest meeting of plastic surgeons in the world. There were about 2000 board-certified plastic surgeons in attendance. The meeting is a great combination of large educational presentations, small surgical courses, industry trade show, and business meetings. The ASPS meeting is also a great chance to catch up with old friends that are now practicing around the country.
Denver was a wonderful site for this meeting. Denver is like a grown up Portland- with a vibrant, easy to walk downtown full of restaurants, hotels, shops, and office towers. The weather was perfect for the first days of fall- clear, dry and warm. (Sorry to those stuck at home in the rain). The easy direct flight from Portland was a nice plus.
Multiple hours in the largest meeting room (capacity about 1500-2000) were devoted to topics in fat grafting; especially breast fat grafting for breast reconstruction and breast augmentation. Fat grafting received more time in the big room that any other topic in plastic surgery! This shows the great interest plastic surgeons have in learning about the applications, procedural techniques and controversies surrounding fat grafting. It also demonstrates that breast fat grafting, though clearly burgeoning, is in early stages of development. (When procedures are mature and techniques see little change, there is less need to talk about them). As I listened to the presentations I was reassured to again find that the applications and approaches I am taking in breast fat grafting are consistent with leaders in the field throughout the world.
I also enjoyed a number of small instructional courses. I attended an excellent course on innovative techniques in face lift surgery. In addition, I attended a course on facial skin rejuvenation using chemical peels. Before and after photos of patients undergoing deep chemical peels showed some amazing results. I was reminded that well selected and performed chemical peels are versatile and highly effective treatments for facial wrinkles.
I also learned some new tricks on performing surgery under local anesthesia in a course devoted to the topic. I am a huge believer in using numbing medication in nearly all of my procedures. I share the view of the surgeons teaching the course that nearly all cosmetic surgery procedures (and many reconstructive ones too) can be performed using numbing medication and IV sedatives. In the last couple of years I have transitioned to performing nearly all of my procedures without traditional general anesthesia. In doing so, I have found that patients simply do better after surgery. By avoiding traditional anesthesia gases and by numbing the tissues, I have seen much fewer patients with nausea and vomiting and pain control issues after surgery. Overall, I believe that the effective use of numbing medication during surgery leads to a much more pleasant and rapid post-operative recovery for our patients.
The meeting ran a solid three days for me and the experiences I had exceed the scope of this entry. But, there is one more thing to tell you about. “Apps” are now being developed for plastic surgeons and I met a great company that can build apps for my practice. These apps are not meant to replace this website. Rather, they are a way to reach out to existing and prospective patients better on mobile devices. Stay tuned… We expect to announce the launch of our apps in the next few weeks!