Seeing is believing…All the News That’s Fit to Print from South Beach (Symposium 2009)

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Those who attended The South Beach Symposium 2009 are likely still aglow from what they learned there. In addition to enjoying balmy South Beach days and cool Miami nights, many of the world’s top facial cosmetic experts met to share their knowledge as well as what’s new in the field of facial aesthetics and beauty. As exceptional presenter B. Kent Remington, MD of Alberta, Canada said, “Looking great never goes out of style”.

The three star treatments in the future for the world of facial and body plastic surgery are the management of aesthetic facial volume and facial lipoatrophy with the use of Poly-L-Lactic Acid (Sculptra) injections, Body-Jet Assisted Liposuction, and fractional carbon dioxide laser skin rejuvenation.

Seeing is believing, Poly L-Lactic Acid.

Those attending the Symposium witnessed the “Next Big Thing” in facial cosmetic surgery.  Pioneer Swiss Sculptra injector and exceptionally brilliant teacher Danny Vleggaar, MD traveled from Geneva to guide live injections administered by various physicians into the volume depleted faces of volunteer patient participants.  Yes, there was a sign up sheet at the front desk for volunteers who desired a “little plumping up of their face”.  There were two patient treatments simultaneously projected on large high-def screens. It was like watching a new reality game show, “Dueling Injectors”, with Dr. Vleggaar as the moderator.

The good looking men and women of South Beach weren’t the only ones strutting like peacocks on stylish Collins Avenue.  Susan Weinkle, MD of Brandon, Fla, along with Dr. Vleggaar dazzled a ballroom full of dermatologists, facial plastic, general plastic, and ophthalmic-plastic surgeons, as well as estheticians during the live injection sessions of Sculptra.  Dr. Weinkle was able to use her self- proclaimed “Susan’s Strut” in the corners of down-turned mouths to magically transform sad faces into happy faces in minutes.  Dr. Vleggaar emphasized the importance of conservative, precise use of the product to recreate “average” features.  Average features on a face create an overall beautiful appearance.  My wife did not realize my compliment for her when upon returning from the conference, I praised her with, “Hi darling, you look very average tonight”. 

Though for many years fraught with the major complication of delayed granuloma formation that often times appeared years after the injections, it seems that safe and effective results are now common place with Sculptra...when it is used properly.  Why else would some of the most talented and beautiful cosmetic dermatologists have injections themselves?  The results are very technique dependent and demand an understanding of the aging face, anatomy, and a creative vision of beauty. But beware; the material is like playing with TNT. It should only be used by those very well trained, experienced, and meticulous in its use.

Patients will need to choose their injecting physicians most carefully. Future Sculptra patients should seek cosmetically well trained physicians who have “the Eye, the Hand, and the Heart” for plastic surgery.  “Eye” is the artistic ability to evaluate the face and see what is required to restore volume, shape, tone, texture, and color. One needs to have a vision of natural, “average” facial features to restore or compliment beauty.  “Hand” is the ability to apply the treatment precisely, safely, and effectively with a skilled, soft, gentle touch.  “Heart” is caring about patients and their outcomes with uncommon professional passion and commitment to excellence. When choosing your cosmetic physician, trust your face to those who have “the Eye, the Hand, and the Heart” that is right for you.

Sculptra is currently FDA approved for facial volume replacement in patients with HIV lipoatrophy. It is rumored to soon be FDA approved for cosmetic use.

Seeing is believing, Body-Jet Assisted Liposuction.

The next generation of liposuction was presented with the introduction of Body-Jet Assisted Liposuction (Eclipsemed.Ltd).  The liposuction is facilitated by jets of water and gentle suctioning of fat which results in viable fat cells that can be immediately re-injected wherever desired (breasts, face, hands, etc.).  Creative, skilled body plastic surgeons are now better able to sculpt bodies by removing unpleasantly located fat (or “puddin” as one patient once called it), and reinjecting the fat wherever it is desired, be it the face, the breasts, or even the buttocks for that "Brazilian Butt Lift". Properly treated patients will look good, even with the lights on.

Seeing is believing, Fractional CO2 Lasers.

Fractional carbon dioxide lasers are the future of non-surgical facial rejuvenation (Fraxel re:pair, Total F(x), Mixto, Dot SmartXide, eCO2, and others).  We will be seeing many more laser companies coming to market with their version of fractionated CO2.

The non-surgical management of fat and cellulite looks toward a future of cryolipolysis, the use of cold to melt away unwanted fat.  Studies look very promising so far.  Hopefully this revolutionary technology will be safe and effective.

Useful and informative lectures were also given at The South Beach Symposium 2009 by Doris J. Day, MD ,Glynis R, Ablon, MD, Joel Cohen, MD, Zoe Draelos, MD, Michael Kane, MD, and Ava Shamban, MD.  Mark Nestor, MD deserves credit for coordinating a very exciting and informative symposium; including the sensual Saturday night Salsa Dancing Gala. 

Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more difficult to separate hype about new cosmetic procedures from what really works because of the financial relationships between sponsoring exhibitor technology companies and their “luminary” physician speakers.  Faculty financial disclosure lists are voluminous.  It’s no wonder that the general public is so confused about new technologies when it is difficult for experienced physicians to distinguish fact from fiction in too many of these presentations.  With the increasing number of non-core cosmetically trained physicians, estheticians, and “physician extenders” attending these meetings, the old saying that “the most dangerous time for patients is the first week after their doctor returns from a meeting” has never been more true. 

I am unable to comment on what’s new in the treatment of psoriasis and rosacea as I chose a dip in the lovely South Beach Atlantic Ocean rather than sitting through the lectures on “the heartbreak of psoriasis”.  Once again to quote Dr. Remington, “A youthful appearance is the best thing that you can wear”, and apparently many of the young ladies in South Beach agreed with him evidenced by their choice of one piece bikinis.

I am unable to comment on what’s new in the treatment of psoriasis and rosacea as I chose a dip in the lovely South Beach Atlantic Ocean rather than sitting through the lectures on “the heartbreak of psoriasis”.  Once again to quote Dr. Remington, “A youthful appearance is the best thing that you can wear”, and apparently many of the young ladies in South Beach agreed with him evidenced by their choice of one piece bikinis.

So what are the best tips that I can give you from South Beach 2009?  Have a drink at The Delano or the refurbished Fontainebleau, stop for the best pizza at Vito’s “PIZZA.BAR”, wear sun block, when in doubt... tell the truth, and treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.

Be well.

Dr. P

 

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Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon