Navroz Singh (far right) with Nirmal and Vasant Oswal (second and third left) and the other recipients of the Vasant and Nirmal Oswal Trainee Scholarship.
Navroz Singh, core surgical trainee at Kings College NHS Trust.
This year’s British Medical Laser Association (BMLA) annual conference was held over three days in a beautiful venue overlooking a sunny Cardiff Bay. It was attended by individuals hailing from a range of professional disciplines: dermatologists, surgeons, dentists, veterinarians, nurses, therapists and academic scientists, among others. The make-up of the BMLA, like the conference itself, highlights the broad applications of lasers and related technology in clinical practice nationwide.
The first day offered a host of courses delivered by experts in their field. Topics ranging from the ‘nuts and bolts of choosing the right laser for your practice’ to the management of paediatric vascular malformations catered to all learning requirements. The conference proper began on day two, with parallel sessions running throughout, reflecting the breadth of the BMLA’s interests. Guest speakers opened each session with an update from their field, followed by oral presentations delivered by successful abstract submitters. Some fascinating discussions were generated during these sessions, such as the role of photodynamic therapy in keloid management and the use of lasers to treat painful oral soft tissue conditions.
An interesting topic was the emerging population need for gender affirming surgical and non-surgical procedures – an area of interest for the many professional groups attending the meeting. One colleague explained the incipient practice of laser assisted voice adjustment using CO2 lasers in order to help a patient progress with male-to-female transition. Negating the need for traditional thyroid cartilage surgery for voice feminisation has incredible potential for this cohort of patients in the future. It would be interesting to evaluate patient experience through qualitative research on the impact of laser assisted voice modulation compared with the ‘cold steel’ approach of phonosurgery. Such topics were complemented with an array of sponsored stands demonstrating the latest in laser technology, allowing delegates to consider real world solutions for their professional needs.
It goes without saying that a strong scientific programme is only enhanced by the exchange of ideas across different professional groups. Herein lies the strength of a sit-down in-person conference, where interesting conversations and cross-pollination of ideas continue from the lecture halls to the coffee room and beyond. Networking events, such as the conference dinner, provided an invaluable opportunity for members to engage with each other, as well allow for a celebration of multidisciplinary learning and ensure the meaningful success of the association for years to come.
Navroz Singh was awarded the Vasant & Nirmal Oswal Trainee Scholarship Award for presenting the best trainee paper at the conference, with a paper on ‘Artificial Daylight for Photodynamic Therapy: The King's Experience’. These five trainee scholarships were generously provided by Mr Vasant Oswal, the ex-Editor in Chief of ENT & Audiology News, who is an Emeritus Consultant Otolaryngologist, Head & Neck Surgeon and a founding member and Vice President of The British Medical Laser Association. The conference encompassed courses and discussions related to the Core of Knowledge of Lasers and recent advances in laser technology, which were extremely valuable. A maximum of five scholarships will be awarded annually at the BMLA Conference to the trainees who submit and deliver the best oral or poster presentation.
Please refer to the British Medical Laser Association website (https://bmla.co.uk/) for updates on the date and venue of the 2024 annual conference.