Day 1

Report: BAPRAS Congress 2023

We were so delighted for our first ever, very festive BAPRAS (British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons) Congress, which ran recently from Wednesday 29 November to Friday 1 December in the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead hotel. The trip down from Edinburgh was painless, the venue was beautiful and each morning we were greeted with clear skies, snow and a crisp and refreshing walk along the Tyne.

With the Presidential Welcome by Maniram Ragbir concluded, BAPRAS 2023 was officially underway, and we were incredibly grateful to Christy Kowalewski and her team who allowed us to pop in and out of sessions throughout the event.

Following talks on microsurgery and the first break of the day, we popped into the ‘Aesthetics in Collaboration with BAAPS’ session, led by Paul Harris and BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) President, Marc Pacifico.

The first talk of the session was delivered by Paolo Montemurro, MD, identifying ways in which surgeons can prevent complications in breast augmentation.

The ‘Professional Values’ session took centre stage after lunch, touching on subjects such as setting up a new plastic surgery service in the UK, bullying and harassment, gender disparity, and generational differences in the NHS workforce.

Chaired by BAPRAS VP Ruth Waters and Professor Aiden Fitzgerald, the takeaways from this session for delegates wishing to gain a wider understanding of professional practice and its development were numerable, and it was a pleasure to sit in on the insightful talks delivered by Parvathi Varma and Teniola Adeboye.

After a late-afternoon break, we sat in on the ‘BFIRST: Working in low and middle-income countries’ session chaired by friend of PMFA and co-founder of the REAL Clinic, Naveen Cavale. Joined by committee members Emma Murray and Deevyesh Sunder, the session included guest lectures and free papers on global activity, the LIONproject and microsurgery.

It was incredible to see trainees and consultants alike deliver their thoughts and projects for humanitarian and international work. We are excited to be working with BFIRST in 2024 to publish an update on their amazing projects so keep an eye on the print issue and our website for news on the feature.

In 2018, we published a deep dive into the work of BFIRST, which can be found here.

Day 2

It’s Day 2 of BAPRAS 2023 Congress’ main programme and while the floor was a little quieter in the morning after last night’s drinks reception and Deanery Challenge, it quickly began filling up for the day’s full schedule. Without pause we were eager to jump straight into the Gillies Lecture by Stuart Watson, titled ‘Trying to carry the torch’.

The Gillies Lecture, named after the father of modern plastic surgery, Harold Gillies, has been delivered since 1961 and Stuart’s contribution is well deserved, with a focus on innovation and, in his own words, “Trying to do the best thing for the individual patient.”

For a closer look at Gillies and the birth of plastic surgery as we know, check out our article from the first ever issue of PMFA.

During lunchtime, we took a moment on social media to thank BAPRAS. It might have topped all of our experiences of conference grub and felt taken care of through the entirety of our time in Newcastle, and our continuing gratitude goes out to Christy Kowaleski, Maria Revenco, Gemma Adlington and their colleagues, the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead for hosting, and all of the wonderful speakers who made the journey to Newcastle to deliver their brilliant talks.



After lunch, delegates were treated to the Hunterian Lecture by Matthew Murphy, entitled ‘The skeletal stem cell and its application in reconstructive surgery’. While we were only able to pop in for the first segment of the talk, it was great to see yet another large crowd in attendance, and incredible insightful to learn of Matthew’s research into the stem cells niches that populate our bodies and how one day, there may be an argument for regenerative instead of reconstructive.

The lecture today was followed by parallel sessions on ‘Research and technological innovation’, chaired by Rowan Pritchard Jones, and ‘Sarcoma’, chaired by Ian Smith and Robert Ashford.

Day 3

Opening up BAPRAS’ final day, we were honoured to join the initial talks in Friday’s co-event, Nurses Education Day 2023. Introducing the Session 1 were hosts Reena Agarwal, Claire Porter and Maniram Ragbir.

Maniram spoke to delegates on behalf of BAPRAS, while Reena introduced herself briefly before Claire kicked off the talks by taking delegates on a history tour from their first meeting in 2018 and highlighting their progression throughout the journey.

We all know how crucial plastic surgery nurses are to any clinical team, so we urge the voices of nurses to be as loud as their many professional achievements. Both BAPRAS and PMFA are committed to making a platform for these voices to be heard, so please reach out with your ideas, abstracts, articles and opinions.

After Friday’s morning break, we popped into the first couple of talks from the ‘Cleft and Craniofacial Session’. The enlightening presentations opened up by covering some broader aspects of the field and key figures in it, before narrowing their focus on more specific topics. We managed to gain insight from Hiroshi Nishikawa with an incredibly comical, and impressive, review of his career to date, followed by Sunil Gaba, all the way from India, with an in-depth talk on the management of cleft fistulas.



As we came to the end of our time in Newcastle, breaking down and packing up our banner and setup in the exhibition hall, we wanted to take one more opportunity to thank the BAPRAS team for putting on such a wonderful, full-capacity event.

The coffee breaks filled every inch of the floor with delegates; the sessions were full to the brim; and the BAPRAS Nurses programme was fully attended. All proof that this was the biggest and most successful meeting to date, and we can’t wait for next year.



Before you go, have you heard of The BAPRAS Collection? If not, check it out.

BAPRAS are developing an ‘online Virtual Museum’ which will include historical materials on events like conflict in the Middle East, the Falklands and Piper Alpha, along with narrative pieces, reflections and a gallery of historic medical illustrations and more.

To learn more about this exciting project and to get involved, reach out to: