In December 2014, innovators and practitioners from across the field of cosmetic medicine assembled for Cosmetic Surgery Forum in Las Vegas. Speakers delivered concise presentations that were followed by lively discussion. With the meeting in its sixth year, Course Director Joel Schlessinger, MD 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.

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.”

Visit to see full video coverage of the 2014 Cosmetic Surgery Forum, featuring interviews with key presenters. The 2015 Cosmetic Surgery Forum will be held Dec. 2-5 at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas (

—Ted Pigeon