The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) is celebrating its 50th birthday in style with a 5-day bash that will take place during the 11th International Symposium of Facial Plastic Surgery in New York City.

Every 4 years, the AAFPRS and the International Federation of Facial Plastic Surgery Societies (IFFPSS) host a joint symposium that spotlights the latest trends and technologies in facial plastic surgery, and this year the AAFPRS 50th fête kicks things up a notch.

The 50th Anniversary Committee, chaired by Robert L. Simons, MD, a Miami facial plastic surgeon, is planning festivities that take a look at the Academy’s past, present, and future. In addition, AAFPRS Headquarters in Alexandria, VA, will christen the new Archival Center for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery so that members can view historic academy documents and memorabilia up close.

‘It is New York City, arguably the most significant city in the world when it comes to fashion, the arts, finances and global cooperation. What a great place to have this 50th anniversary,’ says AAFPRS President Edward H. Farrior, MD, FACS, a Tampa, Florida-based facial plastic surgeon.

Think big

‘First and foremost, the meeting will bring together the world’s best in facial plastic surgery. It is not only the leaders of the specialty from North America, but from all of the six inhabited continents of the earth,’ says Farrior. Specifically, there will be faculty from the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia from the ‘CORE‑4’ specialties — facial plastic surgery, plastic surgery, cosmetic dermatology and oculoplastic surgery.

On the clinical side, ‘there will be talks on robotic hair replacement, fat transfer, the use of platelet-rich plasma, fibrin glues and all forms adjunct to patient care and quality,’ Farrior adds.

According to Anthony Sclafani, MD, FACS, a facial plastic surgeon in Chappaqua, New York, and the Programme Director for the 11th International Symposium on Facial Plastic Surgery, ‘We are very excited to have leading experts from around the world converge in New York City to share their expertise from multiple disciplines. There will be something for everyone from panel discussions; video sessions describing their refined surgical techniques; and new instructional courses and focused workshops on hair restoration, laser technology, and minimally-invasive procedures. The popular cadaver dissection sessions offer registrants a unique opportunity to sharpen their skills under the guidance of world class surgeons in rhinoplasty, facelift, brow and midface lift, blepharoplasty and ptosis repair.’

Meet the titans

‘With a programme so rich, it can be difficult to decide what to do first,’ Dr Farrior says. ‘I would indeed start with the opening session of ‘Changing world changing faces’, a panel of world-renowned experts that will give us their perspectives on the face of beauty and this will be followed by the ‘Titans’. What an opportunity that will be.’

During the ‘Titans of facial plastic surgery’ session, 12 ‘giants’ will give their personal and historical perspectives on the field. For example, Albany, New York-based facial plastic surgeon Edwin F. Williams, III, MD, will discuss the business side of facial plastics and Jonathan M. Sykes MD, the Director of the Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department of UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California, will share insights on his personal evolution in caring for patients with oral cleft.

There’s more: Robert Goldberg, MD, of the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, will discuss the future of oculoplastic surgery, and Chicago-based facial plastic surgeon Dean M. Toriumi, MD, will detail how he pushes the limits in rhinoplasty.

The programme does not shy away from controversy as a means of pushing the field forward and getting attendees to think outside of the box. A session called ‘Minimally invasive treatments: salvation or curse?’ moderated by Theda C. Kontis, MD, a Baltimore-based facial plastic surgeon, is sure to challenge conventional wisdom about the use of fat grafts, fillers/neurotoxins, mini-lifts, and laser skin resurfacing in facial plastic surgery.

Jeffrey Spiegel, MD, the Chief of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine, will share pearls about facial procedures for gender reassignment surgery.

‘I will be reviewing how to evaluate a face for gender confirming surgery and discussing how to decide on an appropriate surgical plan,’ Dr Spiegel says. ‘We’ll go over when a person will benefit from cranial shaping and when only soft tissue manipulation is needed. Additionally, I’ll review some surgical techniques that maximise the results of facial feminisation surgery.’

At this year’s meeting, Brazil’s Joao Maniglia, MD, will receive the Efrain Davalos Award, which is only given every 4 or 5 years to a doctor outside of the US in honour of his/her contributions to facial plastic surgery.

‘There is a wide assortment of topics on every day that will appeal to everyone interested in learning the latest techniques and learning about new devices and technology in facial plastic surgery,’ adds Dr Sclafani. ‘There will be a mix of keynote addresses from world famous surgeons. The meeting offers over 200 hours of CME activities over 5 days.’

Practice marketing track

According to Dr Edwin Williams, Group VP of Regulatory and Public Affairs for the AAFPRS, ‘The robust 2-day marketing programme was designed to help teach attendees how to market their practices ethically. The line-up of superb panels on a wide range of topics include navigating online ratings and reviews, mastering the cosmetic consultation, and how not to get sued.’ Drs Jonathan M. Sykes, Symposium Chair of the meeting and Mark Constantian will also present an informative panel on managing the unhappy patient.

To survive and thrive in today’s world, facial plastic surgeons are also forced to become business minded. Marketing and publicity are no longer just a plus for a practice, they are considered essentials. To that end, a special media-training workshop with nine-time Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist Jane Hanson is a must-attend.

‘We aimed to address some of the greatest challenges AAFPRS members face today in managing their practices, from seasoned pros to new members just starting out. We added a session to explore the pros and cons of branded procedures, and business panels covering how to evaluate lasers and light-based systems, and to determine if you are getting your money’s worth from online marketing,’ said AAFPRS Past President Steven J. Pearlman, MD, a Manhattan-based facial plastic surgeon.

As the Affordable Care Act is rolled out, many specialists will have to rethink their business models. A talk by Boston facial plastic surgeon Stuart H Bentkover, MD, on his transition from ENT/facial plastic surgery to facial plastic surgery after 23 years of practice will shine a light on a path that many will soon follow.

The Big Apple

New York is brimming with historical sights, Broadway entertainment, world-class food and the best fashion and shopping. Capping off the week’s social calendar will be a fashion show. The AAFPRS is partnering with the posh St. John Boutique on Fifth Avenue to host an exclusive fashion event and cocktail reception for ladies only. A portion of the proceeds of sales made on that day shall be donated to support FACE TO FACE humanitarian programmes — established so AAFPRS members could use their skills and share their talent in helping less fortunate individuals both here and abroad.

FACE TO FACE: International brings AAFPRS members to third world countries where they treat children with facial birth defects and anomalies. FACE TO FACE: The National Domestic Violence Project allows AAFPRS members to perform surgeries on survivors of domestic abuse in the US, who have had facial injuries.

‘Every minute of this symposium will be packed with special opportunities to learn from the leaders in their respective fields. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the AAFPRS, it represents the culmination of five decades of dedication, where facial plastic surgeons, oculoplastic surgeons, plastic surgeons, dermatologists and maxillofacial surgeons share their insights on the future advancements in aesthetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery,’ says Farrior.