In terms of the evolving state of aesthetic medicine, the official opening day of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery’s (AACS) annual meeting represented some kind of milestone. At the opening pre-conference workshop, the presentations of Marco Pelosi II and Marco Perlosi III, Ambra Louvier, and others gave attendees a thorough (and entertaining) overview of the state of the art in cosmetic vaginal surgery. David Matlock, Joseph Niamtu, and others provided updates to the art of liposculpture; fat transfer; and other contemporary advances in aesthetic procedures.

A “clinical debate” on facial plastic surgery covered topics such as minimally-invasive versus invasive facelifts (including interesting insights into the so-called laser facelift) and nasal reshaping. Other topics presented include a fast-paced set of discussions on breast and laser-based surgery.

For the plastic surgeon, some of this information may represent either a revelation or a weakening of the underpinnings of aesthetic medicine. Do not be downhearted — even though the initial blast of scientific presentations at this AACS seems to champion the rise of the noncore practitioner over traditional aesthetic approaches, what we are seeing is a gradual integration of new practices and procedures into the mainstream of the industry. This is the standard evolution of the field. Cosmetic surgeons who operate at the forward edge have ALWAYS pushed the aesthetic field along, even if some practitioners don’t want to push forward. From the very beginnings of plastic surgery, noncore cosmetic surgeons were the ones who have demanded to push into new areas… or to update and make modern old traditions that now intersect with advances in technology.

The Desert Ridge Resort is set against a majestic range of mountains that ring the northeast corner of metro Phoenix. It is a serene and warm escape for most of the attendees, who flew in to be at this meeting from all over the nation (and the world), escaping from a very cold and snowy USA (in most locales).

For all who came to take in the Southwest desert beauty in winter, I tip my hat.