What is Medical Aesthetics?
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What is Medical Aesthetics?

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These examples are intended to provide information and inspiration for your journey and are not a recommendation or endorsement.

Medical Aesthetics is the practice of performing medical procedures to help patients achieve their aesthetic goals. Many aesthetic procedures are quick, minimally invasive, safe, effective, and require little downtime.

There are dozens of Medical Aesthetic procedures available, but some of the most popular include:

  • Facial injectables (fillers and neurotoxins)
  • Photofacials (lasers, light, or photodynamic therapy)
  • Body contouring and cellulite treatment
  • Laser hair removal
  • Cosmetic surgery

The Industry Then and Now

Aesthetic medicine has come a long way in the past few decades. While efforts to achieve a patient’s aesthetic goals date back to Ancient Egypt, the options used to be limited to two ends of the spectrum: simple skincare treatments that offered modest results, and more involved procedures—possibly with hospitalization, anesthesia, and a lengthy recovery—performed by plastic surgeons and specialists.1

Today there is a middle ground, with a broad range of minimally invasive treatments—such as fillers, neurotoxins, laser technology, body contouring techniques, and other procedures—that offer dramatic results with low risk and minimal downtime.

These treatments have also come out of the operating room. They’re now being performed at aesthetic medicine clinics, medical spas, and doctors’ offices in every city, and by many types of healthcare providers (depending on state regulations), including dermatologists, plastic surgeons, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and even aestheticians.2

Growth of Medical Aesthetics

With more middle-ground treatments available and a broader range of healthcare providers who can offer them, aesthetic medicine has become much more accessible.

At the same time, it’s also become more socially acceptable.3

Increased Opportunity

Ultimately, with access and understanding comes normalization. As patients get better educated, they become less anxious about treatments and more willing to take the leap, which has led to explosive growth in consumer demand across generations, from Baby Boomers to Millennials. Millennials in particular (ages 21 to 35) are open to receiving aesthetic treatments, with 98% of those polled in 2018 saying they would consider professional treatment at some point in their lives.4

In 2020, people spent over $9 billion on aesthetic plastic surgery, according to the Aesthetic Society’s annual Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Statistics for 2020, which was compiled from the billing data of Aesthetic Society plastic surgeons.5 And in 2019, there was a 7.4% increase in aesthetic procedures over 2018, which is a greater bump than the 5.6% increase over 2017, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).6

ISAPS’ data show that the top five most popular surgical procedures are breast augmentation, liposuction, eyelid surgery, abdominoplasty, and rhinoplasty. The top five nonsurgical procedures are botulinum toxin, hyaluronic acid, hair removal, nonsurgical fat reduction, and photo rejuvenation.

The trends helping to drive up these numbers—a boom in video calls and more discreet downtime, not to mention increasing social acceptance and general awareness of medical aesthetic treatments—are likely to continue.

Based on all these factors, it’s estimated that the Medical Aesthetics industry will experience rapid growth of over 12% by 2025.7

That means an unprecedented opportunity for more healthcare providers to enter the Medical Aesthetics field, whether developing new products, procedures, and technologies, training providers in the best ways to use them, or using them to help patients meet their aesthetic goals.

Patient Safety is Number One

Medical aesthetics is built on the practice of medicine, the golden rule of which is do no harm.8

And although the field is constantly evolving—with new treatments, devices, tools, and medications, safety comes down to fundamentals, starting with anatomy. Understanding the relationship between facial structures, tissues, and other skin is essential for safe and effective aesthetic procedures.9

In addition to completely mastering anatomy, practitioners should never stop learning and improving their skills. By continuing medical education and attending professional conferences, healthcare providers can stay up to date on the latest techniques and procedures in order to offer safe and optimal clinical outcomes.10

Article - JDDonline - Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. (2019, November 21). Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://jddonline.com/articles/dermatology/S1545961613P0737X 

Aesthetic medicine - then & now PT1. (2021, May 26). Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://iapam.com/aesthetic-medicine-then-now-pt1.html 

Allergan 360 Aesthetics Report https://www.allergan.com/medical-aesthetics/allergan-360-aesthetics-report 

Allergan 360 Report, Percentage of the Total Global Aesthetic Conscious Consumers (n=10,694) who say they expect to spend money on a physician-administered aesthetic treatment this year. Percentage of the Total Global Aesthetic Conscious Consumers (n=7,326) who say they spent money on a physician-administered aesthetic treatment in the past year.

Aesthetic Plastic Surgery National Databank Statistics 2020. https://cdn.theaestheticsociety.org/media/statistics/aestheticplasticsurgerynationaldatabank-2020stats.pdf 

ISAPS International Survey On Aesthetic/Cosmetic Procedures 2019. https://www.isaps.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Global-Survey-2019.pdf 

Medical aesthetics market SIZE, SHARE, industry Trends, global ANALYSIS, 2027: MRFR. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2021, from https://www.marketresearchfuture.com/reports/medical-aesthetics-market-6807 

AAAMS. (2021, February 02). Ethics of Aesthetic Medicine: Unique Considerations for Practitioners. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://aaams.net/articles/ethics-of-aesthetic-medicine-unique-considerations-for-practitioners/ 

Beer, Jacob I.*; Sieber, David A. MD†; Scheuer, Jack F. III MD‡; Greco, Timothy M. MD, FACS* Three-dimensional Facial Anatomy: Structure and Function as It Relates to Injectable Neuromodulators and Soft Tissue Fillers, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open: December 2016 - Volume 4 - Issue 12S - p e1175 doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000001175 

Kumar, N., & Rahman, E. (2017). Effectiveness of teaching facial anatomy through cadaver dissection on aesthetic physicians' knowledge. Advances in medical education and practice, 8, 475–480. https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S139893 

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