I am sometimes asked (by both patients and colleagues!) why I attend so many plastic surgery meetings and why I spend so much time preparing lectures and being involved with the plastic surgery societies such as the BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) and ESAPS (European Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons).
The answer is there are many reasons! It is true that lecturing at meetings takes a lot of time. Not only do I need to take time to attend the meeting, I need to spend time preparing my lectures. I speak on many topics but most commonly on facial and breast aesthetic surgery and aesthetic plastic surgery practice management and professional matters. To speak on these, I must review my cases and techniques, be up to date with the medical literature and be able to impart the important points clearly and succinctly to my audience. Education and training are so important for patient safety and quality of results. To borrow a phrase from our trainees, ‘no training today, no surgeons tomorrow!’
Involvement with plastic surgery societies also takes time but there are many issues that affect plastic surgeons both nationally and internationally. These may be related to training and education. But they can also relate to patient safety, regulation and practical matters intrinsic to being able to run a good plastic surgery practice. As you can understand, this takes time and preparation too! I am the Vice-President of the BAAPS with a commitment to being President from 2024 to 2026 as well as Secretary of ESAPS.
However, without involvement in plastic surgery societies and engagement with the other bodies that regulate and interact with us, we have no influence. We know plastic surgery better than anyone else – just as you know your areas of work. We are always striving to improve plastic surgery and how it is delivered to you – the patient. To do this best, we need to be involved in the policies and committees that shape and affect this.
While all the above are the altruistic reasons to be part of the plastic surgery meetings and societies, the truth is also that it is rewarding personally to be involved too. I learn a lot and improve my results too. I also meet many national and international colleagues. We exchange tips and pearls and share our experiences. We also build strong friendships and form a community together. So yes, I STILL go to many plastic surgery meetings and I STILL stay involved with the plastic surgery societies!