After more than a year of no face to face meetings or conferences, it was an incredibly exciting experience to be able to attend the Aesthetic Medicine Conference which was held in Olympia, London on the 8th-9th of July. From booking train tickets and accommodation to the final moments of the conference, the journey was one that I wished would continue for much longer, especially due to the high standards in which the conference was organised – by none other than Mr Muhammad Riaz, Honorary Senior Clinical Tutor at HYMS and Honorary President of HYMS Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery Society!
Olympia Exhibition Centre is situated in West Kensington, London where a range of international trade, conferences and sporting events are usually held. It also boasts the hosting of notable events such as the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967, ATP tennis in 1998, Chris Eubank’s WBO super-middleweight title defense in 1994 (He won by unanimous decision) and London Fashion Week in 2009. The Exhibition Centre has a lower and upper deck where events can take place but what is striking is the high, art deco-like roof that gives a sense of grandeur and adds importance to the events being held within its walls. Without being side-tracked, the conference itself was held on the upper deck, in a rectangular room with socially distanced chairs and a podium with a screen where speakers were able to give their talks. The lower deck consisted mostly of traders showcasing their products.
The conference was split between two days discussing the topic of current trends in UK Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Fifty-nine talks were delivered across the two days ranging from aesthetic plastic surgery training, aesthetic practise management to lectures on techniques for all parts of the body. This jam-packed event consisted of high-profile speakers, true giants in their game, offering their advice and support to other consultants, medical students and doctors in the audience. Although overwhelming at first, with the highly technical side to the talks, the talks became more understandable as time progressed as I became more used to the language of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Although one might think that Aesthetic Plastic Surgery just consists of making everyone look prettier, I learnt that the mind of a cosmetic surgeon constantly revolved around developing safer practises, safer techniques and using safer products for the long-term benefit of the patient. Examples included lectures on the muscle splitting technique for breast augmentation given by Mr Umar Daraz Khan, evolution of fat transfer and adipose tissue derived regenerative cells in facial aesthetic surgery given by Mr Tunc Tiryaki and the role of ‘R’ face lift in post Covid time – simple, safe and less invasive technique which was given by Mr Muhammad Riaz.
I can go into the details of each lecture but with the argument that in doing so, this blog post may turn into a PhD thesis (and because some of the ideas flew over my head), it may be a little wiser to not bore with the facts. However, what was clear was that in an industry reliant on the ‘before and after’ pictures of the patients, the results that the surgeons achieved were phenomenal. These surgeons were artists, perfectionists in their craft, which made it all the more daunting as it reminded me of the sheer volume of learning and practise that I had to look forward to. However, after Mr Marc Pacifico’s talk on the new vision for mentorship for aesthetic surgery trainee, I felt relieved to know that surgeons were informed of the importance of investing in trainees and the need for mentorship and collaboration between surgeons and organisations in the creation of a training programme for aesthetic surgery. Fingers crossed for such programmes to be well established when I get to that stage!
Day 2 was much of the same with the day beginning with a series of lectures on ‘eyes and ears’. One of the memorable lectures in the series of talks in the morning was that of Mr David Verity, who delivered a talk on safety of ocular surface, consideration of periorbital and their surgical anatomy. Family of techniques for upper/lower blepharoplasties. He began the talk with a Venn diagram explaining how aesthetic surgery comprised of dealing with Form, Function and Satisfaction and the difficulty in finding the balance between this triad. He then proceeded to explain how he went about performing blepharoplasties which was intriguing, partly due to the simplicity in which it was explained to the audience. This talk was followed by Mr Rana Das-Gupta’s talk on performing blepharoplasties which served to highlight the beauty of Plastic Surgery – there are so many different ways to change one particular part of the body! What was also striking was that in something that seemed to be such a trivial task, the surgeons added a significant amount of importance. The passion and pride for their work was clearly evident and as one of the speakers mentioned, “My technique is better than yours – It isn’t about that”, the willingness for the surgeons to continually learn was truly inspiring.
Overall, the two days consisted of a top to toe masterclass on how modern-day beauty trends are achieved. The talks were all delivered in a detailed yet simplistic manner which reminded me of a quotation Albert Einstein once said: “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” This showed the enormous amount of skill, dedication and experience each surgeon encountered before stepping up to the podium. For those wanting to know more, I would highly recommend attending this event next year.
Yangmyung Ma is a soon to be FY1 doctor and the Founder of HYMS Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery Society. He is also the current HYMS representative for British Foundation for International Reconstructive Surgery and Training (BFIRST) charity and aspires to be a Plastic surgeon. In his spare time, he enjoys playing music or sports.