Nearly 3,000 of the industry's top aesthetic physicians and related professionals descended upon Las Vegas, Nev., from July 5 - 8, 2018, to experience the highly anticipated 12th annual installment of The Aesthetic Show (TAS). Taking place at the Wynn Resort & Casino, this leading scientific conference offered four days of unrivaled educational sessions, workshops and hands-on training.
Unlike other aesthetic meetings, TAS’s inclusive, multidisciplinary environment allowed medical professionals to rub elbows with business analysts, executives and top industry manufacturers.
“The Aesthetic Show is the gold standard in this field, and the 2018 event has once again displayed an unparalleled dedication to the evolution of our industry,” said the show’s scientific chairman Andrew Ordon, M.D., F.A.C.S., an acclaimed plastic and reconstructive surgeon, and host of CBS’s The Doctors.
“It was a wonderful meeting,” expressed Joseph Niamtu, III, D.M.D., a cosmetic surgeon in Richmond, Va. “TAS is so different from other meetings. Make no mistake, it is a scientific meeting, but it is also a Show with a capital S. It is a great place to meet people, be entertained and educated. I liked the energy and the fact that there was something for everybody. The program and exhibit hall covered cosmetic medicine, aesthetics, medspas, practice management and more. A large number of physicians had staff in tow, and everyone had a place to go at TAS 2018.”
Rather than focus on theoretical subjects, TAS 2018’s educational program concentrated on practical anti-aging approaches and procedures, Dr. Ordon noted. “As the industry grows we have to stay ahead of the curve in terms of the latest techniques and technologies. TAS 2018 plays such an important role in educating and inspiring practitioners and product developers to take medical aesthetics to the next level,” he said.
That next level was well represented during pre-show sessions that covered the latest trends in feminine rejuvenation, male aesthetics and regenerative aesthetics. The latter symposium featured many well-known key opinion leaders in the field and focused on stem cell-based solutions, microfat grafting and volumization technologies, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), platelet-rich fibrin (PRF), stromal vascular fraction (SVF), growth factors and more. As a current mega-trend, the topic of regenerative aesthetics also warranted a general session during the main program.
Overall, “the sessions this year consistently presented new and exciting technologies that were backed by solid clinical studies and scientific data,” stated Richard Goldfarb, M.D., a plastic surgeon in Langhorne, Pa.
“For instance, BTL Aesthetics’ Emsculpt, which is a paradigm shift in reducing fat and building muscle, came with reams of clinical background and an FDA approval,” he elaborated. “I also saw new techniques in hair restoration, in which grafts that were soaked in PRF showed improved survival rates. There was also a solution for erectile dysfunction beyond pills, in which energy-based modalities treated the underlying cause of the condition. In addition, I was impressed with the new transdermal delivery systems that are coming out soon.”
Throughout TAS 2018, attendees also benefited from live patient demonstrations, including hands-on training guided by skilled instructors.
As noted by Gregory Chernoff, M.D., a facial plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Calif., “The injectables courses were tremendous. Experts presented on and demonstrated all of the latest botulinum toxin and filler products and techniques.”
This year also saw the return of a new training course for beginner injectors, focusing on safe injection techniques, proper patient facial evaluation and anatomy, safety protocols, pre- and post-procedure steps and more.
A venerable trademark of TAS is its multiple sessions on emerging technologies. This year presented a show-stopping array of relevant topics – from the increased use of robotics in medical aesthetics to the future of micro-fat and nano-fat in fat transfer procedures; as well as a review of how hormones affect fat mass, body composition and aesthetics in men and women; predictions of next-generation technologies; and a review of energy-based medicine to address issues of sexual health.
Speaking of sexual health, the Women’s Health Revolution session provided a full review of the new technologies and treatments being used to address women’s intimate health.
“Years ago, TAS was the first meeting of its kind to disseminate and promote the budding trend of feminine rejuvenation, and it continues to act as the standard bearer for emerging procedures and technologies in the aesthetic space,” reported urologist Red Alinsod, M.D., who moderated this session.
Whatever the subject matter, attendees came to TAS looking for innovative products and techniques they could take back to their practices.
“I’ve always brought home premium solutions and techniques that I can implement right away,” Dr. Chernoff stated. “All of the scientific sessions and workshops are geared towards what you can do to improve your clinical offerings and how to do them.”
All of these cutting-edge themes were offered in a friendly, open atmosphere that allowed physicians from a wide range of specialties to freely exchange information, tips and techniques.
At times, the discussions became contentious, noted Cheryl Whitman, owner of Beautiful Forever Aesthetic Consulting (Miami, Fla.).
“In the Regenerative Aesthetics general session, the debate got very lively between Charles Runels, M.D., and some attendees. It was great to hear the pros and cons of cellular-based medicine, with debates focused on how one should perceive this expanding field of evidence-based, anti-aging therapies,” she said.
In addition to providing a platform for valuable debates on various topics, TAS avoided carving its educational programs into separate surgical and non-surgical tracks, with little or no ability for crossover.
“For instance, if a medical dermatologist wants to know more about cosmetic surgery, or a plastic surgeon doing reconstructive work wants to learn more about aesthetics, they can pick up all of this new material under one roof at TAS,” stated Dr. Goldfarb.
TAS 2018’s success lies squarely at the feet of the exceptional faculty, which includes well-known anti-aging, cosmetic surgery and aesthetic medicine experts from around the globe.
“I was impressed with the exceptional quality of the faculty,” noted Leif Rogers, M.D., F.A.C.S., a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Calif., and one of the lecturers in the session titled, A Glimpse into the Future of Plastic Surgery. “Moreover, it is not just the faculty that put forth interesting views and approaches. TAS is the kind of meeting where attendees can get up and challenge the speakers with well-thought-out questions and comments.”
The TAS faculty is a blend of physicians from both high-level private practices and prestigious academic training programs across the country.
“They come with extensive clinical experience in their respective specialties, including plastic surgeons, dermatologists, aesthetic physicians and gynecologists, ensuring TAS program content will offer something fascinating and innovative for everyone who is fortunate enough to attend,” expressed Christine Petti, M.D., F.A.C.S., a plastic surgeon in Torrance, Calif.
In Dr. Chernoff’s experience, “TAS is also unique in that speakers and other presenting physicians will take the time to talk with attendees. Their willingness to teach even extends to offering them the opportunity to visit their practices back home and observe how they work and how they accomplish these excellent outcomes.”
After learning about new breakthroughs in clinical approaches during TAS’s scientific sessions, attendees could visit with nearly 200 exhibitors displaying their innovative products and technologies in not one, but two, expanded exhibit halls.
“Access to these companies is of great value to physicians, office personnel and other beauty industry specialists,” stated Dr. Petti. “The technologies and techniques on display offered novel solutions for non-surgical rejuvenation of the face and body, as well as practice management.”
Emphasizing practice building and financial strategies that work, TAS 2018 featured the award-winning Certified Aesthetic Consultant Program, a rigorous, but highly rewarding one-day lecture series that educated both physicians and staff on a variety of practice management fronts, including how to engage and grow demand for aesthetic services from existing clients, and strategies to develop patient loyalty and increase revenue.
Last, but not least, the annual aesthetic awards ceremony, hosted by Dr. Ordon, took place on the evening of Saturday, July 7, and introduced the rebranded TAG! You’re It! aesthetic award, along with new prize categories.
“These awards not only honored the very best outcomes in aesthetic medicine, but also recognized outstanding contributions made by practice staff and product manufacturers,” said Dr. Ordon.
Aesthetic physicians, professionals and product manufacturers were invited to submit their best work for review by a panel of physician and industry judges. “These awards have had a definite impact on our industry,” Dr. Ordon asserted. “Although we’re not the first to incorporate awards into aesthetic surgery, this particular award has always been held in high regard. First, it creates a healthy competition and second, it inspires people to do their best work. We get to see what our colleagues are doing, and then ask ourselves: ‘Do our results and/or developments match up?’ It is a friendly competition and a stimulus to continue improving our own patient outcomes when we return to our practices.”
Dr. Petti, who was one of the judges added, “It is fascinating and inspiring to see the innovative talent of those that submit their best work. The award categories are extensive and diverse. The elevated levels of excellence are both dramatic and highly desirable, such that they are a source of inspiration for other members of the faculty and anyone who attends this entertaining event.”
A highlight of this year’s TAG! You’re IT! awards ceremony was the Lifetime Achievement award, which was presented to skincare guru Zein Obagi, M.D.
“Achieving this honor is not just for my benefit. It is for everyone in the aesthetic and dermatology field, as a mark of excellence that we all have been working for, for the benefit of our patients,” Dr. Obagi expressed. “It shows that we are successfully delivering the safest and most effective results and technology for them.”
For all of the abovementioned reasons, TAS has evolved into the premier medical aesthetic-centric show in the country. According to Dr. Niamtu, “You have an advantage of being able to network extensively with people coming in from different disciplines. It’s not something you see every day in medical society meetings. For instance, if you go to a surgery meeting you’ll see a lot of surgeons. If you go to a cosmetic medicine meeting you’ll find people more interested in minimally invasive approaches. Some meetings are just about fillers; others are only about practice management. At TAS, all of that can be found in one place.”
Dr. Petti agreed, saying, “TAS 2018 was a melting pot of plastic and cosmetic surgeons, laser specialists, dermatologists, gynecologists, internal medicine specialists, registered nurses, aestheticians, staff personnel, practice management and marketing leaders – all members of the aesthetic industry.”
Many of them come back every year, she added, “Because TAS is a perfect blend of science, aesthetics and entertainment in a beautiful, warm and inviting setting. Attendees can gain a comprehensive overview of all aspects of aesthetic medicine, from cosmetic and plastic surgery to contemporary beauty industry innovations for the face, body, skin and hair.”