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Education in Europe!

2019 was a very great year of learning for us. 2020 will be no different and it started with a bang. It was with mixed feelings that we headed off on a European trip. It has been a distressing summer in Canberra, with record breaking high temperatures and draught, as well as the unprecedented bush fires affecting southern NSW and Victoria. In fact, bush fire was lapping at the southern suburbs of Canberra as we left. Abroad, uncertainty about the coronavirus in Hong Kong meant a late minute and stressful change to our travel itinerary. It was therefore with much trepidation that we set off; children left behind to start their new school year.

It is not an easy life being at the forefront of our profession. We have always pride ourselves on keeping up to date. In an industry that is evolving so quickly it is imperative that we continue to educate ourselves, despite both of us having attained the epitomy of our profession: fellowships of medical colleges that represent cosmetic medicine. The way we go about our ongoing education is to seek out the best and the most highly respected doctors worldwide in subspecialty areas of cosmetic medicine and ask them to teach us what they know.

I have taken on the role on the education committee of the Cosmetic Physicians College of Australia, where I will be responsible for writing parts of the curriculum for the registrar training program to train future cosmetic doctors, as well as becoming a prosector/trainer for the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery (ACCS). Jennifer has also been invited to become a prosector and trainer for ACCS in the coming year. We therefore want to be able to impart the most up to date knowledge and techniques to the next generation of cosmetic doctors.

We had planned to travel via Hong Kong to visit our friend and colleague, Dr Sky Wong, who is an international key opinion leader in many things dermatological, particularly in his knowledge of picosecond lasers. However, the outbreak of novel coronavirus put a stop to our Hong Kong visit. Instead we re-routed via the Middle East.

First stop Amsterdam. As you know, we have a deep interest in the intricacies of facial anatomy, and so we visited the anatomy museum. The display of plastinated cadaver specimens allowed us to visualise facial musculature and vasculature in details and put our knowledge in perspective. We caught up with our colleague and dear friend Dr Jani Van Loghem. Not only is he a brilliant injector, cosmetic doctor and scientist, he shares with us a fine appreciation of architecture and aesthetics. His practice is situated in a quiet street in Amsterdam and occupies two stories of an old building. It is very beautiful and special indeed.

Dr Jani van Loghem

Dr Tom van Eijk

We spent the next two days at the Cutaneous Ultrasound Course run by Dr Leonie Schelke and Dr Oscar Jansen. This is the main reason why we went to Amsterdam. Jennifer has been using ultrasound in her clinical practice for a number of years now, first in women’s health and over the past few years in the field of phlebology (vein treatment). Indeed she has taught me most of what I know about ultrasound. We noticed an increasing number of patients seeking us out, or being referred by their doctor, for diagnosis and management of dermal filler complications where the treatment had been performed elsewhere. Ultrasound is now emerging as the diagnostic tool of choice in the management of these complications. The world’s foremost authority in this field is Dr Leonie Schelke, a cosmetic physician, and Dr Oscar Jansen, a radiologist, both from the Netherlands. Over two days, we learnt how to use ultrasound to visualise the 3D anatomy of the face, to visualise the blood vessels to keep us out of trouble, and learn the huge variation in anatomy from one person to another. We will talk about this more in an upcoming post.

Dr Leonie Schelke

Course attendees

Dr Jennifer Leung

Dr Bernard Leung

Next stop Oxfordshire, UK. Travel rarely runs completely smoothly. Our flight from Amsterdam to London was cancelled because of a big storm over the North Sea. Fortunately we were able to arrange for train tickets at short notice and managed to get across the English Channel by Eurostar.

After spending a stormy night in Oxford, we spent a day shadowing Dr Ayad Harb in Bicester. He is a plastic surgeon with a special interest in non-surgical intervention of the nose and we have dubbed him ‘the king of non-surgical rhinoplasty’. He pioneered many techniques in the treatment of the nose using dermal fillers only. We came across noses of all shapes and sizes, with different problems and a number of post-surgical corrections. We do not know of anyone else in the world with such extensive experience in dermal filler treatment of the nose.

Dr Ayad Harb

We spent the last day of our trip with Dr Vanita Rattan. She is an amazing doctor and is unique in having a medical and a cosmeceutical background. Her family has their own laboratory and manufacturing facility! There isn’t much about pigmentation that Dr Rattan does not know about. We are hoping to work with her and bring her expert treatment to Australia in the not too distant future.

Dr Vanita Rattan

In upcoming posts/blogs we will write more about our experience with each of these international true opinion leaders.

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