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In just a few days, I will be heading to San Francisco to teach two courses at The Aesthetic Meeting 2014 – a continuing education conference for plastic surgeons hosted annually by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). My courses – “Advanced Techniques for Rejuvenation of the Neck and Lower Face†and “Aesthetic Eyelid and Forehead Surgery that Focuses on a Natural Result for the Patient†– ASAPSare intended to instruct surgeons on how to more effectively achieve a naturally-appearing enhancement for patients, using both surgical and nonsurgical techniques.

Three main goals I have for my upcoming courses are as follows:

  1. I hope to educate plastic surgeons on how to first evaluate their patients†specific issues, and then devise treatment plans  based on those individual concerns. For example, there are three common areas of concern that patients often share in connection with their faces: volume deficits, fatty deposits (particularly around the neck and jowls), and skin laxity. The key is to specifically address each one of these particular areas. So, in essence, itâ€s not just a face “lift†anymore, but rather, itâ€s addressing each issue individually for an improved overall outcome.  The treatment is specifically designed to address each personâ€s unique facial features as well as how the process of aging has affected them.
  2. The anatomy of the face and neck is very complex.  We have carefully studied the anatomy and the numerous variations in our laboratory here at Brown University.  We have published some, but not all, of our studies.  Therefore,  I hope to share my knowledge of this anatomy, including many of its potential variations. Because there are so many nerves, arteries, blood vessels, and other very important components crucial to facial function located in these areas, the surgeon needs to make certain you donâ€t damage any of those structures while performing surgery. Iâ€ve had patients come into my office having had procedures performed by surgeons who were either poorly trained, or who havenâ€t been adequately educated. Unfortunately, a number of these patients ended up with some very severe problems, many of which could not be fixed. My goal is to share my knowledge of facial and neck anatomy in order to help avoid these complications from arising in patients all over the country.
  3. I hope to help surgeons visualize how to achieve a beautiful, artistic result. Developing an artistic eye is crucial when envisioning what will  help achieve the most natural possible patient outcomes. There are many people who end up with “unnatural,†“overdone†results; however, itâ€s not that a surgeon necessarily intended for those specific outcomes to result, but rather that a surgeonâ€s artistic eye was never developed properly.  Therefore,  the patient may not have had the appropriate surgery performed on them. Each person has a unique face, my goal is to try to help surgeons better understand how to achieve more natural-looking results through the study of artistry.

Ultimately, I hope to teach surgeons attending my two courses how to technically perform sophisticated procedures, as well as help prepare them for all the anatomic facial variations they may potentially encounter. I hope to help surgeons to move away from a cookie-cutter approach to facial surgery. Instead they should be able to evaluate each patientâ€s individual needs and then advise them of an individualized treatment that will take all of his or her unique anatomical differences and asymmetries into account. With all the new developments in techniques and treatment capabilities available today, I am excited to take this opportunity to share my surgical knowledge and expertise in an effort to help patients nationwide receive the highest level of surgical care possible.

Dr. Patrick K. Sullivan, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

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