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Last month, innovators and practitioners from across the field of cosmetic medicine assembled for Cosmetic Surgery Forum, an annual interactive multispecialty CME meeting taking place in Las Vegas.

CME meeting taking place in Las Vegas. Covering a variety of topics, speakers delivered concise presentations that were followed by lively discussion between panelists and attendees. According to Course Director Joel Schlessinger, MD, the informal, discussion-based atmosphere gives the meeting a unique identity. “I started this meeting six years ago because I was frankly bored with CME,” said Dr.

Schlessinger, in an interview with Steven Dayan, MD, host of Modern Aesthetics® and Practical Dermatology®'s video coverage of the event (available at “I didn't like going to meetings, because they were too long, they didn't have anything new, and so what I wanted to do was create a meeting that was discursive.”

With the meeting in its sixth year, Dr. Schlessinger reflected on how it has evolved with support from faculty, residents, industry, and attendees. “This year, we had more faculty and better resident/attending participation/presentations than ever,” said Dr. Schlessinger. “This year truly was a breakout year in many ways.”

In addition to investigating the latest developments in non-invasive cosmetic procedures, such as fillers, neurotoxins, and devices, the meeting also offered a look at more nuanced and emerging areas in aesthetic medicine. For example, Michael Gold, MD offered a detailed look at postlaser care, specifically how physicians can reduce redness and enhance outcomes through skin care. “We're in a different era now,” Dr. Gold said. “Patients are looking for cosmetic elegant things to put on their skin. So to differentiate yourself from the doctor down the street, who is still using Crisco or Vaseline, we're looking to not only put something that is occlusive on the skin but we want to put things on the skin that help heal,” Dr. Gold added.

This year's course offerings also delved into various non-clinical topics, including tips on enhancing the patient experience and other areas related to the importance of communication. Reflecting on her talk entitled “When Bad Things Happen to Good Surgeons,” oculoplastic surgeon Julie Woodward, MD explained why it is critical to agree with patients. “The patient does not want to argue with you. They want to be validated,” said Dr. Woodward. “Even if you don't see what they are complaining about, or even if you think it's something you discussed fairly ahead of time and they've chosen not to listen, you have to agree with the patient,” Dr. Woodward explained.

Another significant point of emphasis at Cosmetic Surgery Forum is the education of younger and future generations of dermatologists. In addition to offering residents the opportunity to conduct and present case studies, several educational sessions addressed issues of importance to younger physicians. Sharing tips on charting a course and building success, Sabrina Fabi, MD noted that determining your “Why” is key.

“Take time to reflect on what you really want to do— whether it's to teach, or to be a researcher or a clinician— and make it something that's clear on your bio on your website, so that patients can come back and look at it,” said Dr. Fabi. This can also help physicians maintain a sense of identity, she observed. “Sometimes you can get lost with your marketing and online reputation and just the day-today busy work that comes with private practice, and we lose focus as to what our ‘Why' is.”

According to Dr. Schlessinger, Cosmetic Surgery Forum's accent on education—for both young and established physicians— in a discursive and open forum setting is a reflection of its larger mission within the aesthetic field. Thus, those who participated in the meeting as either attendees or presenters, according to Dr. Schlessinger, “should be proud of the fact that we are influencing a generation of new dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons in ways that won't be evident until years from now.”

Visit to see Modern Aesthetics® and Practical Dermatology®'s full video coverage of the 2014 Cosmetic Surgery Forum, featuring interviews with several key presenters from the floor of the meeting.

The 2015 Cosmetic Surgery Forum will take place December 2-5 at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Visit

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