Virtually every year I make a pilgrimage to Miami in the 2nd week of February to attend what I consider to be the finest plastic surgery meeting in the world – The Baker-Gordon Symposium. The annual event is named after Tom Baker, its originator and also the plastic surgeon that popularized the chemical peel in this country.
46 years ago the symposium began when Tom Baker and Howard Gordon, two young plastic surgeons, invited several well-known plastic surgeons to come and speak to other plastic surgeons about their particular areas of interest. It has become a famous event, attended by several hundred every year. Not only do doctors travel from around the U.S., but many come from around the globe, particularly from the Latin American countries. There are lectures in the morning by invited speakers who then perform live or videotaped surgeries in the afternoon to demonstrate what it was they spoke of in the morning. They must, “Put up or shut up!” The hosts of the symposium keep up a lively conversation with the speakers during lectures, panels, and live surgeries, making it an interactive learning experience. I have my favorite seat in the second row where I sit amongst others who come back to their favorite seats year after year. It makes for wonderful camaraderie as well as for an opportunity to exchange views and ideas with each other during the sessions.
The evenings are spent dining in Miami, enjoying the marvelously illuminated skyscrapers, and walking around in balmy weather with cooling breezes. What a treat for the mind and the senses!
A few highlights from this year’s meeting that may be of interest to my readers:
• Non-surgical skin tightening remains in its infancy. If you’re interested in the type of result you get with surgery, dream on! It’s not even close yet!!
• Non-surgical fat removal is a bit more promising, but still the significant results that liposuction delivers cannot even be approached by the best of the techniques.
• Ultrasonic, Laser, and Radiofrequency assisted liposuction produce heat that leads to fat cell death, inflammation, and more scarring in the area of liposuction that can produce unsightly skin dimpling and irregularities that are challenging to treat. The majority (74%) of plastic surgeons in this country favors traditional (51%) or power assisted (23%) liposuction as opposed to these other modalities.
• Buttock Shaping (Gluteal Sculpting in “Doctor Speak”) is enjoying a surge in interest as plastic surgeons recognize that treatment of this oft-neglected area is key to achieving a pleasing surgical result. Fat Sculpting by means of liposuction and fat injection is used most often in Gluteal Sculpting with implants having a role of lesser importance.
• There is a lesser degree of capsular contracture with saline as opposed to silicone breast implants. Furthermore, the rate of leakage seems to be about the same with both, but with the leak being obvious with a saline implant but requiring an MRI for detection with a silicone implant.
• Fat injection to the breast is beginning to play a more important role in breast augmentation. Although many breast augmentation candidates want a projecting look that can only be achieved with implants, there may still be a role for fat injection in their cases if they are willing to put up with the hassle of using a BRAVA breast suction device that must be worn for several weeks before their operation. If a patient develops intractable capsular contractures, fat injection may soften the contracture or may even take the place of the implant. Furthermore, should the implant be somewhat more visible than the patient desires – especially in thinner patients – fat may be able to soften the look.
On the way home from Miami, I couldn’t help but drop by the Kennedy Space Center for a few “out of this world” shots!
Should you have further questions, please contact my office.