Dr Bernard Leung attends the first International Allergan Medical Institute meeting in London

I have just returned from attending the first International Allergan Medical Institute meeting in London. This was a meeting held by Allergan, the manufacturer of the most popular anti wrinkle injections and dermal fillers. It was an invitation only event for their top international trainers. Some 1000 doctors from all over the world attended the meeting, and there were 19 delegates from Australasia including two Australian speakers. Being the only doctor from the ACT, I was drafted into the NSW contingent, which consisted of Dr Cath Porter (board member of the Cosmetic Physician College of Australasia) and Dr Natasha Cook (celebrity dermatologist).

There was a stellar line up of international speakers, many of whom I admire greatly: Dr Mauricio De Maio from Brazil, Dr Koen De Boulle from Belgium, Dr Arthurs Swift from Canada, amongst others.

The format of the conference included plenary sessions attended by everyone, as well as smaller workshops running concurrently, where delegates were split into groups of around 150 based on their countries. We the antipodeans were grouped with the Canadians, French, and several other countries. Each workshop consisted of two international faculty members speaking. The first speaker led the discussion on a scheduled topic, and the second speaker performed live injections in a specially constructed booth (there was one in each room) and the proceedings were televised to the entire group. There were also international faculty members acting as ‘roving anatomists’. They went from room to room to demonstrate and discuss the pertinent anatomy of the area. New ideas regarding injecting techniques, particularly in reference to how to take advantage of the physical properties of the facial anatomy were demonstrated.

In the past, I have touched upon the history of facial rejuvenation in some of my articles. We started out with a single-minded focus on wrinkles and lines over a decade ago, and this has turned out to be an unsatisfactory approach in terms of the results that can be delivered. Over the past few years, much progress has been made and we now favour an overall approach to achieve an aesthetically attractive and natural looking result. This view has been very much reinforced by the leading experts in the meeting.

With the exception of USA, most people from around the world prefer a subtle and natural looking result. It may seem something of an oxymoron, to have a result that is completely invisible to others (no one ought to know that you have had anything done), whilst at the same time being completely obvious (Wow, you look good). This kind of result can only be achieved by undertaking a proper assessment for the facial anatomy and signs of facial ageing, and carrying out treatment that targets the changes revealed by the assessment to provide an overall improvement of the entire face.

Australia is an ethnically diverse country. I see patients everyday whose ancestors have come from all corners of the world. Does the same standard of beauty apply to different races and cultures? This issue was explored extensively in the meeting.

I have benefited greatly from generosity of the expert speakers during the three day meeting. I will share with you some of the insights that I have gained over the past few days in my forthcoming articles.