This past weekend, I was invited to speak at the 8th Annual Oculoplastic and 31st Annual Breast Symposia in Atlanta, GA. The dual symposium is a special event hosted by the The Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (SESPRS). Founded in 1958, the SESPRS is composed of many talented board-certified plastic surgeons from around the Southeastern United States. Their annual scientific meetings create an unparalleled opportunity for intellectual exchange of ideas and are a model for professional surgical education across the country. Their motto of “Beauty and Function” was exemplified during a fantastic four day program!
Heading to Atlanta represented a bit of a homecoming for me. In 2008, I completed my Cosmetic Surgery Fellowship at the world-reknowned Paces Plastic Surgery. The Buckhead area of Atlanta is known for its historic mansions, its upscale commerce and its classy restaurants and nightlife. My visit was equally impressive. The fun began the evening before Thursday’s Oculoplastic Symposium. My dear friend, mentor and colleague, Dr. Mark Codner hosted a faculty dinner at the prestigious Cherokee Town and Country Club in the center of Buckhead, which was attended by a veritable “Who’s Who?” in Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. Thursday’s meeting concentrated solely on cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the eyelid. I had the opportunity to present on the challenging topics of lower eyelid malposition, highlighting a new technique using a small wrist tendon to reconstruct the lower eyelid. I was humbled to be a part of this program—standing in the shadows of oculoplastic giants such as Dr. Glen Jelks (New York); Dr. Sonny McCord (Atlanta) and Dr. Guy Massry (Beverly Hills).
Friday and Saturday’s program concentrated on the latest advancements in breast surgery. The program was highlighted by a live surgery telecast from Northside Hospital in Atlanta, which featured new and innovative techniques performed by some of the country’s best surgeons. The audience had the opportunity to interact directly with four live surgery cases in real-time, with live commentary on-line broadcast to attendees at the Intercontinental Hotel. Highlights included technological discussions on the use of texturing in breast implants (Dr. Codner), the use of shaped anatomical implants and the latest advances in fat transfer for cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery (Dr. Daniel DelVecchio from Boston, Dr. Dennis Hammond from Grand Rapids). My discussions, including video coverage, included a presentation of Latissimus Dorsi breast reconstruction, the effect of radiation in breast cancer treatment and a few insights on cosmetic nipple reconstruction.
On Saturday, the Breast Program Faculty and SESPRS officers were privileged to attend a special dinner hosted at the beautiful home of Dr. & Mrs. Codner. This special evening was marked by a delicious bespoke dinner in the most elegant of a modern French-style countryside retreat. The evening’s highlights were represented by all of SESPRS’ mission: an intellectual and social exchange among the brightest and most innovative of the country’s plastic surgeons. I had the chance to sit back and enjoy an evening with my lovely wife, as well as catch up with old friends.
Many thanks to SESPRS President Dr. Louis Vasconez and Program Co-Chairs Dr. Mark Codner and Dr. James Namnoum for the daunting task in planning such a landmark event. As I completed my training years ago, I was impressed by how much all the great teachers and mentors in my life had integrated their voices into my brain. As I performed my surgeries in the first few years of my practice, I heard those teachers in my mind… guiding my hands and following their example in the care of my patients. As plastic surgeons, we are life-long learners—always striving and innovating to do better. It was a great honor to be a part of that!
Salvatore J. Pacella, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.S.