In an exclusive interview with Dr Mauricio De Maio, he discusses the creation of the MD Codes and where he sees the industry going in the future
Growing up in Brazil, Dr Mauricio De Maio began his medical career at the School of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo. While he originally applied to the medical school to become a psychiatrist, during his fourth year, he became fascinated by plastic surgery and obtained a Master’s and a doctorate degree. “It was during this time that I saw how incredible a surgical transformation could be, and how making changes to a patient’s features that they were unhappy with, on the face or body, could lead to a change internally. I found this to be extremely powerful, so I decided to move into this area of speciality,” he notes. In the mid 90s, Dr De Maio noticed the rise in non-surgical aesthetic treatments, particularly injectables, and began to branch out into offering non-invasive options.
However, after working in the industry for several years, he found that there was a lack of a systematic approach to performing these injectables. Passionate about both aesthetics and education, Dr De Maio decided to create his own system. “The use of injectables was expanding, but I found that there was a gap. Many patients were unhappy with their results or presented unfavourable outcomes, such as overtreatment. So, the MD Codes were created to bring the awareness that injectables could become an alternative to surgical procedures,” he notes. The MD Codes system are specific anatomical subunits for the injection of HA fillers in the Juvéderm range. Each MD Code includes information regarding the target depth of injection, the proper delivery tool and delivery technique, as well as the minimum product volume recommended to achieve visible, reproducible results.
Dr De Maio also believed that proper education was needed to help other practitioners implement the use of the MD Codes, and so he also developed a curriculum alongside these. He explains, “Technical upskilling in this field is a long journey, due to the variety of patient faces, age groups, genders, and ethnicities. As a result, the MD Codes curriculum was built to provide support to injectors globally.” Alongside this, Dr De Maio travels around the world with pharmaceutical company Allergan, with whom he is a key opinion leader with, in order to train injectors and share his techniques through masterclasses and demonstrations. His constant travelling has led him to learn new languages, noting, “Learning different languages has enabled me to communicate with individuals from around the world without any barrier and therefore helps the MD Codes to become a universal language.”
In 2019, Dr De Maio launched new specific MD Codes strategies, including the 7/9-point Shape, MD Codes Lip, and MD Codes Look. In the future, he says he plans to continue to provide global education for the industry and notes the importance of all healthcare professionals (HCPs) educating themselves to improve their skills. “Aesthetic practitioners must learn the best techniques, as well as alternatives, and measure their success rate,” he says, adding, “I believe that this big change will happen when HCPs begin to understand their social responsibility, as it can have a massive impact on patients’ lives. It is also important to remember that no matter what emerges in terms of trends and demands in the facial aesthetics field, education and technical upskilling among physicians is key to achieving optimal outcomes for patients.”
Dr De Maio adds that in the next 10 years, he hopes that the aesthetics industry will become more mainstream. “A bit like dentistry, it would be a dream for me to see medical aesthetics become part of everyday life – just like the way we brush our teeth daily. A report published recently highlighted the inclusive and diverse direction the field is moving towards, making the field more accessible to all.”
On his advice to those starting out in the industry, Dr De Maio explains that over his time in aesthetics he has noticed the importance of practice and truly understanding each individual patient. He says, “Something that I have learnt during my career is that when patients come to our clinics complaining about the things that they don’t like about their face, it doesn’t mean they will be happy with the correction of these tiny details alone. It took me a while to understand that what is important is not to erase lines but to aim to change the unfavourable messages of the face, for example if the patient looks tired, angry, or sad. This for me is the formula for young injectors to start paying attention to and should not take decades to figure out like it took me!”
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