AAWPS – Annual Meeting of Leaders in Plastic Surgery

The prestigious American Alpine Workshop in Plastic Surgery (AAWPS) recently held its 30th annual meeting in Zermatt, Switzerland of which I was fortunate to be a part. This meeting included 25 of the most senior plastic surgeons in the United States & Canada, most of them professors or heads of departments of major institutions, and eight plastic surgeons from countries including Sweden, Spain, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and of course Australia. I feel honoured to be a member of this group and privileged to be able to share my experiences with such a prestigious group of internationally acclaimed leaders in plastic surgery.

The meeting was comprised of four days of lectures and interspersed with excellent skiing. The first day focused on “Reflections on Leadership”. The talks by members on their generous contributions to the profession and society through leadership roles in education, ethics and charity work were inspirational. My personal presentation was on leadership through the more than 10 year collaboration of Operation Restore Hope with the Philippine Children's Medical Center Craniofacial Unit in Manila; highlighting how important it is to work with local plastic surgeons and allied health professional in the host country in charity surgery.

The second day’s theme was “Triumphs of Plastic Surgery”. Each participant was asked to share a very challenging case that he or she had personally performed and cared for. The range, breadth and difficulty of the surgeries presented was frankly quite amazing from the worse dog bite that anybody had ever seen to a panther attack and some extremely difficult craniofacial cases. I shared one of my many cases of patients who have had the silicone implants placed in their noses by other surgeons actually extrude (come out) through the skin. These are usually Asian patients who present as an emergency situation with an implant protruding into the nose or through the tip of the nose requiring an emergency operation to restore the shape once the old implant has been removed. This is usually done via a bone graft that I have pioneered and published. (https://www.drhodgkinson.com.au/news-resource/innovations-in-rhinoplasty/

The topic covered in the final two days was dealing with complications and unforeseeable outcomes. This section of the conference dealt more heavily with cases related to cosmetic surgery despite this group being both reconstructive plastic surgery and aesthetic plastic surgery based. This is in no small part due to the need to manage both clinical outcomes as well as patient expectations.
At the end of the conference I returned home to Australia enthusiastically after being exposed to and being able to have participated in an honest and ethical exchange of information and ideas with these leaders of plastic surgery. These forums are critical not only to my staying current in my field but to the field itself as we discuss the issues affecting not only us as practitioners but the safety and quality of the delivery of care for our patients in our home nations and what should be the highest standard we should all aspire to internationally. I am grateful to have had this opportunity and am already looking forward to the 31st meeting which will be held in Canada in February 2020.

DARRYL J. HODGKINSON
Plastic Surgeon