Experts to provide tips to improve surgical skills in three key areas

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Christopher James Miller, MD

Dermatologic surgery is a complex topic. The basic skills can be learned through typical instructional techniques, but many of the most important diagnostic and management skills require hands-on experience — or, a specialized forum at the Summer Academy Meeting.

“We will be providing expert advice in diagnostics and management in the three areas of dermatologic surgery — cosmetic dermatology, reconstruction, and cutaneous oncology,” said Christopher James Miller, MD, director of dermatologic surgery and assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania. “We have a dozen experts in these three areas who have distilled their topics of interest into the essential pearls that each considers essential to have a successful outcome with their patients.”

Dr. Miller is director for the Advice from the Experts symposium “Improving Your Cosmetic and Dermatologic Surgery Diagnostic and Management Skills” (S004) from 2 to 5 p.m., Thursday in Grand Ballroom West. The program includes 10 presenters who will help attendees optimize outcomes for common scenarios encountered with surgical and cosmetic patients. Each has developed specific office protocols for the optimal diagnosis and management of specific categories of patients.

“These three hours will not be the equivalent of a review article or a book chapter on basic technique,” Dr. Miller said. “These are the kinds of practical pearls you would get if you visited these specialists’ offices and talked with them about the common pitfalls and how to avoid them.”

The topics in cosmetic dermatology will cover four areas, starting with the all-important topic of how to align doctor and patient expectations for outcomes. There also will be tips for improved patient selection and procedural elements using light-based techniques for blood vessels, pigments, skin tightening, and wrinkles. Other areas include pearls for patient selection and optimal outcomes when using fillers and chemical denervation.

The reconstructive surgery section begins with a look at structured techniques to better assess outcome measures for skin cancer patients undergoing reconstructive surgery. Other presentations will focus on pearls for patient selection and optimal outcomes in skin grafts, sliding flaps, lifting flaps, and interpolation flaps.

The skin cancer topics will begin with a look at practical considerations for more effective triage that leads to more effective treatment and improved outcomes. There also will be presentations focusing on common pitfalls in the diagnosis and management of keratinocytic skin cancers and melanoma.

“These are the kind of management lessons that you are not going to find in a textbook or even a review article,” Dr. Miller said. “This is the kind of material that you learn from experience. We can help you leap ahead in that learning period by not only identifying the most common pitfalls, but pointing out some of the alternative strategies that are more likely to lead to improved outcomes.”

The symposium has been designed to focus on high-yield practice pearls that will help dermatologists optimize outcomes for some of the most common surgical and cosmetic procedures. “I can’t think of a better use of your time than to network with a group of experts from across the country on these topics,” Dr. Miller said.

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