On a sunny Gold Coast winter’s day on Friday 3rd June, we saw the return of the Non-Surgical Symposium after a two-year break due to the pandemic. Featuring nearly 100 exhibitors and 650 delegates, the event was highly celebrated not just because of its return but also has reached its 10th Anniversary. The atmosphere was charged with excitement as eager doctors, nurses and dermal clinicians congregated to learn from an excellent array of topics and workshops delivered by Australian and world experts, sharing the latest technological advances and techniques.

The opening panel was delivered with heartfelt honesty as ASAPS leaders were invited to contribute to a discussion.  The panel consisting of Dr Naveen Somia, Dr Niamh Corduff, Dr Craig Layt, Dr Steven Liew, Dr Gabrielle Caswell, Dr Scott Ingrum, Dr Mark Magnusson, Prof. Greg Goodman and Dr Tim Papadopoulos, all shared their experiences over the past 10 years and the NSS legacy that is shaping the industry.

They discussed how during its infancy the industry was still relatively unstructured, however, the aim of the NSS was to deliver real unbiased education through a collaboration of various societies with a common vision to create a platform based on ethics and evidence-based education.  While their endeavours were rough at the beginning, the speakers all agreed that cosmetic medicine has grown up as a profession and can now be practised with greater safety and better outcomes.

Following the resignation of Dr Naveen Somia as the President of the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) with whom APAN had established a collaborative relationship, I scheduled a meeting with the incoming President Dr Robert Sheen and introduced myself and APAN.  Dr Sheen listened intently and invited me to submit a proposal to be tabled at the next ASAPS board meeting. 

I stressed how our industry now has three tertiary bachelor’s degrees for Dermal Clinicians and Clinical Aestheticians as well as other qualifications that provide formal trained in evidence-based practice to our practitioners. Additionally, I stressed the importance of our organisations to support and foster a greater understanding of the skills and scope of practice that both non-medical and medical practitioners can bring to ensure the best possible outcome for their clients and patients through mutual respect and understanding of the effective interfacing of our services.  While medical practitioners come under the regulatory requirements of AHPRA, there is a crossing over of aesthetics and cosmetic medicine as the lines that differentiate us are blurring and there is much that we can learn from each other.

I would agree that the industry is indeed maturing.  New technological advances are constantly on the rise allowing for safer and more sophisticated capabilities that can achieve higher levels of cosmetic enhancement.

The conference featured a strong emphasis on new advances in radiofrequency and ultrasound technologies combining multiple modalities to achieve improvement in treatment outcomes with a focus on both skin improvement and muscle toning.  There were several lectures that addressed the issue of lower face ptosis and how to target the origin of muscle detachments that need strengthening to improve lifting and remoulding of the jaw, neck and lower face.

Injectable procedures through the presentation of both lectures and numerous workshops provided insightful guidelines for new approaches and techniques. Our editor Dr Giulia D’Anna was also able to demonstrate her global techniques with fillers to a packed audience. 

There were also several body shaping technologies emerging as whole-body treatments are now becoming a growing trend.

In reviewing the dominant professional demographic, cosmetic nurses were strongly represented and were the key participants in lectures on injectable services and workshops demonstrating the latest in injectable techniques.

As dentists are moving into cosmetic injectable services it was interesting to note that when techniques for improving the mouth were presented, checking the dental structure first was highly emphasised as playing an important role in improving structural issues of the lips. 

I also enjoyed a couple of great lectures on how to deliver the consultation process with a new patient that included interesting psychology elements to improve trust and enhance engagement.

I was also invited to the gala dinner on Saturday night, but unfortunately, I was not able to attend, however, I believe it was a spectacular evening. The theme was the Arabian Nights including fire dances and even a dance with a python.

It is wonderful to see the industry once again coming together to invest in learning, networking and advancing their skills and knowledge.  This event delivers quality generic and sponsored education with a strong didactical focus on quality evidence-based information.

In a world that is strongly commercially driven when it comes to new advances in both technology and procedures, it is extremely important that practitioners benchmark their decisions on quality evidence-based education.  As we know, social media constantly glorifies and presents the charming and beautifying elements of new products and procedures, however, it fails to present the risks that are so important to practitioners who have a duty of care for the safety of their clients and patients.  

APAN looks forward to developing a strategic alliance with ASAPS as we advance through our common goals of enhancing evidence-based education through effective dialogue and productive collaborations for the continued raising of standards and the efficacious and safe delivery of our practices.

Thank you ASAPS for a very successful conference program. Thank you also to The Production House Events organisers and the amazing work of their team in staging this event. We look forward to supporting the next NSS which will be held in Brisbane in 2023.