When a resident must decide on what educational course to select, the constraints of finance and time are real making it critical that the course opted to attend provides the most “bang for your buck.” A myriad of factors influence this decision with the opinions of other residents who have attended the course in the past perhaps being most important. This year I had my sights on the 30th Annual Dallas Rhinoplasty Symposium. Not only had some of our residents raved about the course, but also knew that with Dr. Rod Rohrich chairing the event one’s time would be spent efficiently and effectively. After three days with the world’s rhinoplasty experts, I assure you this course is the real deal and must be integrated into every plastic surgery residency training curriculum.
On Friday morning, after a lecture by Dr. Rohrich on the “The 10 Essentials Steps of Rhinoplasty,” we headed to the anatomy lab to see if we could transform these steps into a reality on the cadaver. The surgical procedures of a rhinoplasty such as delivering the lower lateral cartilages that these experts make look so easy in their books and videos (see links below) proved much more challenging than expected. Anticipating this, the course provides a dedicated faculty member for each cadaver table enabling real-time tips and pointers to overcome the otherwise difficult maneuvers. For example, Dr. Bardia Amirlak assisted me in finding the appropriate plane to separate the upper lateral cartilages from the septum to reach what has been dubbed the “nirvana of rhinoplasty.” Baker Gordon Rohrich Rhinoplasty Video.
The cadaver lab enables one to become much more familiar and facile with gamut of cartilage grafts needed in the armamentarium of an excellent rhinoplasty surgeon. Moves that remain difficult to grasp for the first time on a cosmetic patient such as osteotomies or harvesting of septal graft can be quickly learned from the cadaver lab.
Following the lab, we embarked on a series of lectures by these rhinoplasty experts gaining valuable insight into how they achieve such outstanding results. The in-depth, high-yield lectures accompanied by schematics and videos complemented the cadaver lab perfectly. The videos proved to be a tremendous educational resource with the surgeon who created the video walking the audience through the critical steps of each procedure. For example, Dr. Bahman Guyuron illustrated how he rasped the dorsal hump in an oblique fashion rather than a caudal-cephalad manner to avoid damaging the delicate cartilaginous framework. If one had any questions from the lecture, these could be texted to a number provided by the course enabling immediate answers from these experts.
To drive home points further, the lectures were separated into different topics with each session concluding with a panel discussion. In my opinion, the learning one derives from these experts critically analyzing each other’s results is unparalleled. No panelist deterred away from pointing out flaws of his colleague with many jovial debates occurring frequently among Dr. Mark Constantian, Dr. Jack Gunter, and Dr. Rohrich. One event that stood out because of its similarity to the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest featured each panelist presenting his most challenging rhinoplasty case that was then rated in terms of degree of difficulty to address by the other panelists. Like the judges at the dunk contest, the panelists would raise a numerical card to rate the degree of difficulty of correcting the nasal deformity being presented; this was followed by a similar judging process of the post-operative results. Dr. Dean Toriumi, a Chicago rhinoplasty surgeon, did the equivalent of Michael Jordan’s famous free throw dunk, when he presented his amazing results on a patient with a severely distorted cleft nose that drew a huge ovation from the audience. This panel epitomized the course replete with didactics teaching an attendee how to deliver a better rhinoplasty.
Finally, this year commemorated the 30th anniversary of the symposium with a tribute to one of its founding members, the legendary Dr. Samuel Stal. Dr. Gunter, another founding member, delivered a heart-felt message about Dr. Stal describing his willingness to teach at all times. I share this because this is the attitude embodied and embraced by every faculty member at this symposium that ensures you will learn the art of a rhinoplasty. In short, The Dallas Rhinoplasty Symposium is a must for all residents who aspire to conquer the most challenging operation in all of plastic surgery: the rhinoplasty.