Aesthetic or cosmetic medicine comprises all medical procedures that are aimed at enhancing the physical appearance of the patient using non-invasive to minimally invasive procedures. This field of medicine is not confined to dermatologists and plastic surgeons as doctors practicing different specialties seek to offer services to address the cosmetic needs of their patients. Almost all cosmetic medicine procedures are performed under a loco-regional anesthesia.
The exciting field of cosmetic medicine is now a new trend in modern medicine. The medical aesthetic industries are growing exponentially and the increasing acceptance, availability and affordability of several non-invasive or minimally invasive cosmetic treatments has named our time as the “Era of Glamour.” This era shows that medical aesthetic treatments are already part of an individual’s routine to maintain natural and healthy appearance. In fact, there were 23 million recorded cosmetic procedures worldwide from 2013 to 2014. In 2013, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Germany and Spain were among the countries who performed the most aesthetic procedures and most of them are non-surgical. This proliferation of consumer acceptance has resulted in a sudden rise of technological and cosmetic treatment advances, establishing cosmetic medicine as subspecialty. Core physicians including dermatologists and plastic surgeons account for 60.1% of all aesthetic procedures performed in 2006 while non-core physicians such as internists, obstetrician, gynecologists and family practitioners accounted for only 33.3%. This expansion has caused several state and regulatory boards to create uniformity in medical licensure and training requirements. In addition to this, standards for best practice are emerging to ensure the effectiveness and safety of all cosmetic procedures.
Emerging new medical societies and organizations such as British college of aesthetic medicine (BCAM), American academy of aesthetic medicine (AAAM), and anti ageing societies around the world also ensure the safety of all cosmetic procedures by teaching physicians who have clinical interest in exploring the aesthetic medical facet of their practice. These societies and organizations teach the art, science and latest techniques and procedures of aesthetic medicine lo licensed physicians, regardless of the area of their specialty.
The recent trend only proves that patients prefer minimally invasive procedures with minimal to no downtime. It also explains the current success of cosmetic medicine around the globe. The most common aesthetic procedures are:
Botox (Botulinum toxin injection): Botox injection works by blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles so that they no longer contract. This causes the wrinkles to relax and soften. It is most often used on frown lines, crow’s feet, and forehead lines. Getting Botox injection takes only a few minutes and doesn’t require any anesthesia. Full effect can be visible in 3 to 7 days. You may need to return to your doctor for regular Botox injections to maintain your appearance.
Dermal fillers: They are naturally-derived or synthetic material that is directly injected into the skin to plump the target area and to remove wrinkles, depression or fold. Depending on the type of dermal filler, the effects can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Do not confuse dermal fillers with Botox. Botox injection stop muscle movement that causes wrinkles but it doesn’t have any plumping and smoothing effect dermal fillers have.
Chemical peels: This treatment improves the skin’s appearance by creating a controlled wound to let new skin replace the old skin. It uses chemical solutions such as carbolic acid (phenol), lactic acid, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid to make the skin blister and peel off.
PDO Threads: This is one of the most popular and highly effective non-surgical procedures to lift and tighten loose, sagging skin as well as dissolve small fatty areas on the face and body. It makes use of a synthetic fiber called polydioxanone threads to stimulate formation of new collagen – gives our skin strength and elasticity, and helps remove dead skin tissues. Also, PDO threads have the ability to induce death of fat cells called lipolysis which is very effective in treating stubborn fat on the lower face and other body parts. The PDO threads are strong, non-allergenic and will dissolve after 6 months – this is enough to produce more collagen and skin tightness that can last for several years.
- Statistics on Cosmetic Procedures Worldwide. International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2014.
- Fellowship in Anti-Aging and Aesthetic Medicine. Available at http://www.docdatabase.net/more-fellowship-in-anti-aging-and-aesthetic-medicine-590833.html