One of the things that Plastic surgeons do on a regular basis, and something that our professional societies, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) require is practical, continuing education which now includes patient safety. Each year, we are required (and most of us want to) complete at least 50 hours of continuing education. This can take the form of review of journal articles or other written material with testing, attendance at regional or national specialty society meetings or completion of online courses.
This year I have attended both the ASPS and the ASAPS meetings and have taken the annual in-service examination, a service of our societies that allows review of core Plastic Surgery information regarding cosmetic surgery, hand surgery, reconstructive surgery and breast surgery. These activities provide exposure to the best surgical thinking and to the progress that our specialty has made in the recent past. It keeps us from getting “out of date”.
Another benefit of attending meetings is that there are usually exhibits from companies that offer new technology or improved products. It is important to maintain a skeptical attitude about expensive new instruments, as the manufacturers are seeking to sell their “next big thing,” but there are occasionally some real advances and the exhibits provide exposure to those and an explanation of how they work from the people who are most familiar with them.
I did not acquire any “amazing” new devices this year, but I did add a new ultrasound machine to help with postoperative swelling and firmness that occasionally occurs after face lifts, breast surgery and other procedures that involve incisions. I also saw several interesting new skin care products that we may be trying in the next few months.
There is also an opportunity to catch up with old friends and find out what new things they are doing. This year, the biggest thing I observed was that many practices are using social media such as facebook and youtube to bring their messages to their patients and potential patients. We are looking for the best ways to use these tools to communicate with you in an efficient and useful manner. Please feel free to give us suggestions about ways to improve. You can find us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/copelandcosmeticsurgery or simply send suggestions via our “Contact Us” tab on the website.