New York — The greatest rise in the popularity of cosmetic procedures globally is undoubtedly in less-invasive procedures that offer the advantage of a quicker recovery time and leave no telltale signs of surgery.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), in 2004, there was a 764 percent growth in nonsurgical procedures versus a 118 percent growth in surgeries. The rise in popularity and consumer awareness of injectables and resurfacing methods and the increased accessibility of these treatments beyond urban centers are key drivers of this trend.
"We are seeing an increase in requests for smaller procedures and combination therapies," says Katie Rodan, M.D., adjunct clinical professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, Calif.
"Both women and men want treatments that will delay the knife for as long as possible, and will stick with easy, quick, and less costly procedures," she says.
ISAPS Comparison Per Procedure, female
Luiz S. Toledo, M.D., chairman of the public education committee of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), Sao Paulo, Brazil, highlights the trends reported by members from around the world.
"The U.S.A. continues to perform the most aesthetic procedures, and for the second consecutive year Mexico is in second place, which may have been assisted by the recent trend of medical tourism," he says. "Of all the procedures performed by ISAPS members in 2004, 25 percent are nonsurgical. Botulinum toxin remained the No. 1 procedure. Lipoplasty, which was for a long time the most popular procedure worldwide, has now dropped to third place."
Both patients and the media crave new treatment options. The advent of barbed sutures used to anchor descending soft tissues of the brows, face and neck has captured public attention.
"There has been an increasing level of interest in the placement of suspension sutures such as Contour Threads (Surgical Specialties), which allow a vector based correction of ptotic facial soft tissues," according to Malcolm D. Paul, M.D., F.A.C.S., clinical professor of Surgery, Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery Institute, University of California, Irvine, Calif. "With a sound basis on anatomy, appropriately planned placement can be used as a stand-alone procedure in younger patients and in those that have had facial aesthetic surgery and require modest improvement, and as an adjunctive procedure to face and browlifts."
However, new is not always synonymous with better. The proliferation of dermal fillers in the market continues to be a great source of consumer confusion. Emerging filler substances showing up in Europe include long-lasting synthetic gel polymers such as Bio-Alcamid (Polymekon) and semi-permanent hybrid products such as Dermalive (DermaTech).
As Nicholas Lowe, M.D., clinical professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, Santa Monica, Calif., warns, there are many complications with some of these new fillers because of a lack of safety and usage data.
"The particles are too likely to cause a chronic granulomatous reaction," he says. "Once the carrier has disappeared and the spherical beads which are not biocompatible are exposed to the skin, you get a reaction around them that becomes hard and almost impossible to remove, except surgically."
By merging biochemical advancements with the aspirations of youth and vanity, companies in the skincare arena have revolutionized the traditional personal care marketplace. The highest growth is seen at the upper end of the market, and skincare products that retail for $70 per unit and more are the new destination products driving consumers into the stores.