EVERY Injector Needs To Spend Time in One of These

5 team members in blue scrubs with needles on table

You haven’t really lived as an injector until you’ve spent time in a cadaver lab.

SkinSpirit’s George Baxter-Holder (DNP, MBA, APRN, CANS), is the industry’s leading cheerleader for intensive anatomy and cadaver training in aesthetics. In fact, he’s so passionate about the subject, he takes time away from his practice to teach other injectors about cadaver anatomy.

“It’s not about money. If I stayed home and injected like six hours or eight hours, I’d make more money,” he explained. “I do it because I love it. I do it because I’m passionate about it. I love to teach. I love to watch the lightbulbs go on. I love to inject one of these cadaver heads, dissect things away, and watch people’s eyes open… because they had no idea.”

George’s Background

George has been in nursing for nearly 20 years, moving from the ER to cardiology to a bariatric clinic before discovering his passion for aesthetics. (It was actually while he was at the bariatric clinic that an Allergan rep set George up with his first Botox trainer, Lovely Laban, who later founded Injection U.)

Dr. George Baxter-Holden teaching a provider in a cadaver truck

“I went to this training, and injected my manager, and that was the first time I had ever injected BOTOX®,” he said. “I really gravitated to what it was doing—the science of it, why it did what it did. I just started studying that; I started studying fillers and started doing facial rejuvenation after extreme weight loss, and really enjoyed it.”

Even after George made the switch to aesthetics and his own practice, he continued honing his skills under the mentorship queen herself, Shelia Anderson, and through repeat visits to the cadaver lab. He thinks both made him a better injector, and he believes all injectors can benefit from cadaver anatomy.

Why Cadaver Anatomy Matters

When you scale injectables back to their bare elements, every treatment involves sticking an object (a needle) in a person’s face and leaving an implant (filler, etc.) behind. Even if it’s a temporary implant, George says injectors should take it seriously, making sure they truly understand the terrain before wielding needles without supervision.

Cadavers are one of the best ways to learn.

“It needs to be a requirement before you’re an injector. The only way to get there is for this industry to monitor itself. We all have to come together as an industry and say, ‘This is the minimum standard,’” he said.

George and his colleagues are starting to build that type of structured, anatomy-driven education with AmSpa through the Academy for Injection Anatomy, (AIA).

“It’s a whole different type of anatomy because you’re transiting through the layers. The only way to learn that anatomy is cross-sectionally so that you can see down through all the layers.”

We talked with Shannon Andrews, SkinSpirit’s head of Learning and Development, about cadaver lab training and she emphasized that cadaver training is unlike any other kind of training you can get in the industry. “The opportunity to work with cadaver heads is a confidence builder because [injectors] can soak in all of the information without the fear of making a mistake” Andrews said about the difference between cadaver labs and hands-on training with a model. ]

Andrews also raved about cadaver trainings as a boost to business, saying “the immediate value is the confidence building for providers. They are going to show up more confidently while speaking to their clients and helping their clients understand what they’re doing”

That doesn’t mean everyone has to jump straight into injecting cadavers; AIA has a warmup “foundations” course specifically geared to someone who may have never even picked up a syringe before, as well as virtual anatomy lectures, and an in-person advanced cadaver course.

A one-and-done training session is not enough to make you a great injector. If you want to be a superstar in this industry, you’ve gotta keep learning—and your first field trip should be to a cadaver lab.

You’re reading the (Sk)Insider – a weekly go-to for aesthetic pros curated by the pros at SkinSpirit! Subscribe here to get more (Sk)Insider posts in your inbox.