Founded by Dr Ian Holten, the Faculty of Luminary Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, or “FLAPS”, holds A plastic surgical meeting every few years on the high seas.

The Faculty of Luminary Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (FLAPS) is a novel idea that marries honest and productive professional discussion with island hopping on board a sailing boat.

The idea of this type of conference started in Europe and was adopted by Victorian plastic surgeon Dr Ian Holten in 2003 – definitely a first for an Australian meeting.

Dr Holten got together with his peers from both Australia and the United Kingdom to establish a biennial plastic surgery meeting that welcomed open, honest and productive discussion in an intimate environment.

The catch? The meeting is held on a sailing boat, with locations ranging from French Polynesia to the Mediterranean.

“In these intimate surroundings, attending doctors are willing to share tips and discuss any surgical problems or business issues they may have,” explains Dr Holten. “FLAPS is regarded as one of the most productive and educational plastic surgery meetings because of the relaxed circumstances and freedom of exchange of ideas.”

Each plastic surgeon prepares three presentations for the conference, and each day the boat sails into a prearranged meeting spot where the talks are delivered. In some instances, the locations are so remote that the sail is used as the projector screen!

Family is welcome too, and the daily meeting spots are chosen for both conference facilities and options for family members to relax and explore the tropical surrounds.

The inaugural conference in 2003 was held in the Whitsundays, and again in 2007. Since then, it’s moved to Tahiti (2005) and Croatia (2009) and the number of delegates has grown, hailing from Australia, the UK and Europe. AMP

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If you’re interested in joining the next FLAPS meeting (either Thailand or the Caribbean) contact Ian Holten at

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