The IMCAS brand is now well established as a global leader in bringing together a multi-disciplinary, multi-professional approach to the world of ‘aesthetic surgery and cosmetic dermatology’. The first meeting was held in Paris in 1994 and was promoted as an International Master Course in Ageing Skin (IMCAS). The long form has almost been forgotten and the short form IMCAS has become synonymous with carefully crafted conferences held in a few select regional centres with topics of general interest but also topics of more regional concern. IMCAS China was the third such meeting held in the truly vibrant world city of Shanghai. The focus themes were interesting in that the first theme was ‘Practice management, Medspa and the Fake market’. It is this last topic that is causing considerable concern in China where there is a massive industry supporting the production of fakes, from handbags, to watches, from brand clothing to branded products. It was good to see both medical professionals and representatives from the industry talking together about ways of dealing with a problem that is of real mutual concern. Dr Benjamin Ascher, who had the foresight to begin IMCAS all those years ago, was proposing to launch an Asian coalition against the fake market.
One of the reasons for starting the dedicated IMCAS meetings in China is language. The official conference language is Chinese and there were readily available headphones through which simultaneous translations could be heard from Chinese to English or English to Chinese as appropriate. One point that was raised by an attendee from India is that it would be useful if there could be dual language PowerPoint slides as the translation and the visual presentation were not always in synchronicity. In all there were 650 registrants with almost 400 from Mainland China and 100 international registrants from outside the Asia region. As with all conferences with several rooms running at the same time it is a challenge for the individual registrant to work out which talks to attend. The impression was that the tendency was to stick to one’s discipline and so talks about eyelid surgery were well attended by surgeons whilst the dermatologists were more evident at talks on peeling. This can be considered as both a strength and a weakness of the IMCAS model but it is difficult to cater for all tastes in such a diverse ‘industry’ without some specialisation in topic areas. This may change, as it is apparent that the growth of the non-surgical, minimally invasive aspects of aesthetics is booming in response to patient / client demand.
The more holistic approach to anti-ageing was reflected in the sessions on cosmeceuticals which were fascinating as they covered not only what is cutting edge in the development of new skincare products but also the value of traditional medicines and products were discussed in detail. Throughout the meeting there were dedicated teaching courses and video sessions and there was the increasingly popular session with cadaveric anatomy teaching in the context of using injectables to alter the facial appearance. Finally, there were sessions on stem cells and lipo filling, the ninth focus theme of the meeting.
The IMCAS brand is continuing to evolve and it was fascinating to see the energy and dedication of Dr Ascher to teaching and education in the form of the IMCAS Academy. This is an e-learning platform that is going to allow an updating of high quality content so that the learning experience is continual and is not based on intermittent high-dose exposure to the experts at annual conferences.
IMCAS has set the benchmark for such a global brand and to maintain that status the meetings have to exceed expectations. Whilst this is a constant challenge for the IMCAS team they do seem to deliver and it will be fascinating to visit Shanghai next year to see how this organic meeting continues in its evolution.
The next meeting will take place in Shanghai, China on 14-16 April 2017. Visit www.imcas.com for further information.