What happens in Vegas…

by Raj Sawh-Martinez, MD

On May 2nd, 2015 legends in both boxing and plastic surgery will meet in Las Vegas.  Titled “The Fight of the Century”, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will face off in a long-awaited boxing championship fight.  This title fight that will pit two of our generations top pound-for-pound fighters in a battle of strength and wits for twelve rounds.  The world will be watching as these two champions make history.  The plastic surgery world will similarly be convening in Las Vegas from April 30th to May 2nd for the ASPS Aesthetica symposium to hear and learn from some of our generations top plastic surgeons from around the world.

As physicians, we may not all be as enthusiastic about violent sports given the injuries their participants may incur.  Increasing the safety of our athletes is a priority that has become important throughout our society in multiple sporting arenas.  In boxing, this may be a tall order given the directness of the injuries.  One key fact known by all plastic and reconstructive hand surgeons, is the misnomer of a “boxer’s fracture”.   This eponym refers to metacarpal neck fractures of the small finger metacarpal with a specific fracture pattern with apex dorsal angulation1.

This is a misnomer because trained boxers do not actually suffer these injuries.  As trained athletes, the majority of the force they generate gets placed on the index and middle finger metacarpals, and they ensure hand protection with layered tape and gloves to defray the impact.  These highly trained athletes do however suffer a variety of injuries, and as expected the majority of these are facial lacerations, contusions and hematomas accounting for approximately 45% of all injuries in a prospective study2.

The expertise to handle such injuries has been developed over centuries among plastic surgeons around the world. The development of this expertise, like the elite athletic abilities of boxers, relies on the dedication, work ethic and perseverance among highly trained specialists.  This upcoming weekend, elite plastic surgeons gather to demonstrate cutting edge techniques and share their knowledge regarding the many nuances of complex aesthetic surgery.  With an innovative program, the Aesthetica conference highlights the cutting edge of facial, body and breast plastic surgery from our own PRS contributors and section editors.Aesthetica

We hope everyone has marked their calendars and gears up for a tremendous weekend in Las Vegas, where superstars in both boxing and Plastic surgery will gather to display the very best these fields have to offer.   Unlike the common refrain, on this week, what happens in Vegas will surely be heard around the world from both the boxing and the Plastic Surgery worlds.



1. Evidence-Based Medicine: Metacarpal Fractures.  Bloom, Jacob M. P.; Hammert, Warren C.   Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 133(5):1252-1260, May 2014.

2. Injuries in competitive boxing. A prospective study. Siewe J, Rudat J, Zarghooni K, Sobottke R, Eysel P, Herren C, Knöll P, Illgner U, Michael J. Int J Sports Med. 2015 Mar;36(3):249-53.

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