President's Word: Looking Back at My Fellowship Training in Cosmetic Surgery
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
By AACS President, Michael J. Will, MD, DDS, FACS.
This article appears in the 2015 Issue #2 of Surge
The AACS has offered formal fellowship training in various aspects of cosmetic surgery for nearly 30 years and is proud to be the country’s lead organization in this endeavor. I can remember researching cosmetic surgery fellowship training programs while I was in my residency in an attempt to pursue fellowship training myself. However, in the late 80s and early 90s, there were only a handful of cosmetic surgery fellowship training opportunities available. Now, the AACS certifies over 20 formal fellowship training programs in General Cosmetic Surgery and two Facial Cosmetic Surgery fellowships. We have all realized that our primary residency training programs exposed us to cosmetic procedures, but fell short of the comprehensive cosmetic training that would provide competency in all aspects of the specialty of cosmetic surgery. Our field has become more complex with new techniques and technologies introduced every year, making formal fellowship training and continuing cosmetic surgical and non-surgical education a necessity in delivering safe and predictable outcomes.
I remember being exposed to a fair amount of cosmetic surgery in my residency and contemplating the need for fellowship training. Once I entered my cosmetic surgery fellowship, I quickly realized how little I knew and was so grateful to be exposed to over a thousand cosmetic surgical procedures during that year. The AACS fellowships are now standardized and follow ACGME guidelines, qualifying graduating fellows to challenge the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS). The ABCS is a high-stakes certifying board that exceeds the ABMS standards and is the only board that certifies exclusively in cosmetic surgery. I highly encourage anyone interested in formal cosmetic surgery training to contact the AACS and to pursue fellowship training. The education is powerful and I know you will not regret the advanced training. Both your practice and patients will benefit tremendously from the experience.
Once you complete the training, challenge the ABCS exams and become a diplomat of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Those of you who have already completed a cosmetic surgery fellowship and now have thriving cosmetic practices, please offer your experience and skills to others by becoming a fellowship director. The experience of being a fellowship director is professionally fulfilling and rewarding and provides a real opportunity to give back to the specialty, ensuring that future generations of cosmetic surgeons are well trained and positioned to handle the challenges that will face them.
Speaking of what lies ahead, I anticipate a significant increase in the demand for cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures for our transgender population. The publicity surrounding Bruce Jenner’s transition to Caitlyn Jenner has already brought more awareness to the transgender community and may result in an increased demand for some of our services. The Academy is positioned to provide cosmetic surgical and non-surgical training to those cosmetic physicians and surgeons who desire additional training on how to help the transgender patient with their transition. You will see material from some of our esteemed members in this edition of Surge and at our Annual Scientific Meeting. If you have an interest or a specific skill-set in this arena, and would like to participate in or host a lecture, webinar, or workshop, please contact me or the AACS Director of Education, Moira Twitty, to get involved. This subset population of patients is very likely to grow and will need qualified and experienced surgeons to help them accomplish the goals associated with their transition.
The AACS still has several educational opportunities remaining this calendar year. Sign up and take advantage of these outstanding presentations in the comfort of your home or office in front of the computer. Visit the Education section of the AACS website to see what we have for you.
Michael J. Will, MD, DDS, FACS, is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and cosmetic surgeon in Maryland. He is a fellow member of the AACS and currently serves as its President.