The year 2020 was like no other for the regenerative industry. With lockdowns imposed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, cosmetic surgeons and clinics could not conduct procedures for months. Neither could plastic surgeons hold in-person meetings, spend time together, learn from each other, and share knowledge on innovative techniques.
But the demand for cosmetic treatments was never curtailed by the lockdowns. On the contrary, many Americans felt compelled to recommit to improving their appearance and wellbeing.
Unimpeded growth and popularity
When the lockdowns were lifted, the demand for cosmetic treatments skyrocketed, partly due to patients who had missed their appointments, but also because of many first-time patients interested in undergoing cosmetic enhancements. 2020 gave us the “Zoom Boom” and a rise in the demand for treatments.
The trend is set to continue in 2021, with millions of people in the United States reportedly interested in improving their appearance.
Takeaways from the 2021 Aesthetic Society Meeting
With the lockdowns lifted, the top aesthetic experts recently gathered in Miami for the 2021 Aesthetic Society Meeting—their first in-person conference since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe. The meeting provided doctors an opportunity to understand how each of them has coped with the pandemic, reflect on the positive changes they have implemented since the pandemic struck, and build on techniques that are working.
So what are the biggest takeaways from the conference? And what can prospective patients expect for the future of cosmetic surgery?
1. Combination therapies
The 2021 Aesthetic Society Meeting affirmed the combining of surgical and non-surgical technology as the future of plastic surgery. The doctors agreed that blending surgical and non-surgical techniques allows for more efficient treatment plans, ensures natural-appearing revitalization, improves the overall result, and minimizes bruising and swelling after surgery.
For instance, with the rise in global obsession with eliminating dark circles, enhancing cheekbones, uplifting eyebrows, reducing wrinkles, and overall smoothing of facial skin, the 2021 meeting asserted the need to make facial injections a core part of cosmetic therapy going forward.
So it was agreed that when developing personalized treatment plans, surgeons should couple invasive with non-invasive treatments. Mainly, they should consider dermal fillers and botulinum toxin type-A, which are among the most sought-after procedures.
The other non-invasive treatment that is going to be part of combined therapies moving forward is laser resurfacing. Lasers are a non-surgical add-on to plastic surgery procedures that already require a considerable recovery period, such as facelifts or eyelid surgery. Apart from enhancing the facelift result by boosting the texture of newly lifted skin, laser during surgery prevents extra downtime.
After surgery, most patients tend to stay out of sight for at least a week. Hence, adding deeper laser resurfacing, which leaves the skin red and raw, saving the patient from two rounds of downtime. Post-operation, they stay home and recover from both the surgery and the laser treatment simultaneously.
2. Fine-tuning of Rhinoplasty
The 2021 Aesthetic Society meeting recommended various techniques to enhance the outcomes of rhinoplasty. For example, the conference affirmed the value of frequent pairing of lip fillers and nose jobs.
When paired, tweaking the lip shape helps balance the new proportions of the face and gives better rhinoplasty results. Also, an injection around the mouth is quite painful, so doing it when the patient is under anesthesia helps prevent extra discomfort.
Another recommendation from the meeting is the preservation of the natural dorsum to reduce the nasal hump. The technique may not manage most noses, but it simplifies the rhinoplasty procedure in many minor or uncomplicated humps. And while the practice is more than a century old, it has recently been applied by only a few practitioners—hence why it was given prominence during the meeting to renew it.
3. Refining Botox technique
Botulinum toxin injections are always the number one non-invasive treatment. However, the existing brands have usually required retreatment every 3-4 months. There is a new toxin (doxibotulinum Toxin A), expected to get FDA approval in 2021, which promises a longer-lasting effect.
With this in mind, the 2021 Aesthetic Surgery Meeting encouraged surgeons to continue finding creative ways of coupling Botox and invasive cosmetic procedures. The experts considered the possibility of using topical Botox, but because the information on the technique is still inadequate, it was agreed that there is still a need for more data before implementing it.
4. Using fat grafting with other procedures
The conference recognized the increasing value of nano-fat grafting in combination with other procedures to boost volume. For instance, the meeting encouraged doing breast augmentation with breast implants and fat grafting.
Plus, fat grafting can be done as part of the facelift procedure. A good example is when treating festoons under the eyes—which cannot be corrected by traditional lower blepharoplasty or facelift alone—due to the need for mid-lifting.
5. Safety of breast implants
The 2021 Aesthetic Society Meeting discussed the issues facing breast implants, particularly breast implant illness and BIA-ALCL. The surgeons agreed on the need for excellent, well-designed research to deliver true, evidence-based answers to the questions on breast implant safety.
The conference acknowledged ongoing studies by leading surgeons and scientists around the world. It also encouraged plastic surgeons to continually use information from these studies to deliver safe, effective breast implant surgery.
6. Updated safety protocols post-pandemic
The meeting was an opportunity for surgeons to compare their safety protocols. The experts were able to look at various measures, including masks for staff, patients, and visitors, facility cleaning and disinfection, hand sanitizer usage, screening of patients for COVID-19 symptoms, and visitor restrictions.
There were also discussions on special floor markings and furniture arrangements to encourage social distancing and keep patients with respiratory issues away from the rest.
The need to vaccinate all staff members and use e-visits and e-check-ins to limit exposure was highlighted. In the end, the conference affirmed the value of keeping some of the positive changes in place post-pandemic.
At Politis Plastic Surgery, we are proud of our unparalleled commitment to innovative cosmetic and restorative procedures. We have been ahead of the curve in using the latest technology and techniques and already offer the procedures highlighted during the 2021 Aesthetic Society Meeting.
Dr. Effie Politis and her extraordinary team offer safe, high-quality, and compassionate care. You can be confident that you will enjoy the best possible aesthetic outcomes from our unique blend of surgical and non-surgical treatments.