Life as an Allergan Medical Institute Trainer

Drs. Cara and Belinda at AMAC

24 . 7 . 18

Dr. Cara McDonald takes us behind the scenes as an AMI trainer

Last year I was honoured to be invited to join the Allergan Medical Institute (AMI) as a faculty member and trainer in cosmetic injectables. Allergan is a world leader in medical aesthetics and is the original maker of Botox®. Backed by science, AMI is dedicated to promoting excellence in clinical practice and improving patient outcomes.

As a trainer, I have joined a very small group of specialist injectors in Australia and New Zealand who have extensive experience and expertise in the field. Together, we are involved in educating and training aesthetic medicine specialists across the country to improve the quality and safety of cosmetic injectable treatments.

Over the past few years, Allergan and the trainers have been working closely with Brazilian plastic surgeon and renowned cosmetic injector Mauricio de Maio, who developed a unique injecting technique for facial rejuvenation, known as MD Codes. Mauricio tours the world demonstrating and teaching his approach, allowing AMI trainers to improve the quality of cosmetic injecting in their region.

My educational pathway as an AMI trainer began with an Anatomy Masterclass and Presentation Workshop in Singapore. I trained with a small group which gave me the opportunity to revisit facial anatomical dissection and focus on safety, optimal injecting techniques and teaching methods. This amazing opportunity highlighted the importance of obsessional attention to anatomical detail to ensure safe and effective cosmetic injecting.

Dr Cara McDonald in London

A few months later, I found myself in London for a whirlwind Train the Trainer Expert Forum. This event brought together the Allergan trainers from across the globe and provided an exciting opportunity to soak up the knowledge of the most experienced injectors and teachers in the world. At this meeting we reassessed the product science and clinical data, reviewed anatomy and the management of complications, and discussed the importance of effective education and engagement. All in the short space of 24 hours!

One month later Mauricio was in Sydney for Allergan’s Australasian Medical Aesthetics Congress (AMAC) and the MD Codes Distinction Tour. MD Codes is a tool which provides a language and formulaic way to achieve an optimal result to meet the needs and desires of patients. The 75 facial codes allow injectors to achieve reproducible, superior, natural results every time. The Distinction program focuses on the codes required to improve certain undesirable “looks” or “emotions”, such as looking tired, sad or saggy or to obtain certain defined improvements, such as looking slimmer, more feminine or younger.

Many patients can’t put their finger on what exactly needs to be “fixed” but can easily identify that they look tired or droopy when they look in the mirror. In most cases they believe that addressing certain lines or limited areas of the face will “fix” the problem, but they don’t understand how the face needs to be assessed and treated as a whole in order to address their concern.

MD Codes provides a revolutionary method of formulating the perfect treatment plan for every individual patient. Taking into account the patient’s treatment objectives, their areas of concerns, their pattern of ageing and their anatomy, the clinician can use the MD Codes formulas to calculate the exact method and volume required to reach the desired result. This pre-planned treatment can be discussed in a clear and transparent way with a patient.

Additionally, as an Allergan trainer, the codes provide a language to communicate and teach the art of facial restoration and beautification. Trainers are provided with effective and proven tools to educate more injectors across the country and improve the quality of injectable treatments available to all.


Dr. Cara McDonald is a highly trained specialist dermatologist. She is one of the directors of Complete Skin Specialists located in Sunbury and has been with the practice since 2010. Read more about Dr. Cara McDonald here.