New Study Shows People Seeking Medical Spas Over Plastic Surgeons


The latest aesthetic industry statistics reveal that people are turning to physician-run practices or medical spas for their nonsurgical procedures. According to an International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM) study, most women most feel that non-physician owned medical spas are unsafe. In addition, the IAPAM report also indicates that 78% of women rated medical credentials as very important when choosing an aesthetic treatment provider.

Botox injection, which is the number one nonsurgical procedure performed by plastic surgeons, was down 12.8% in 2007 according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) industry statistics report. That report, however, only includes members of the ASAPS, and Allergan, the maker of Botox Cosmetic, showed a 29% increase in sales over the same period. In fact, four of the five top nonsurgical procedures were all down between 4.2-16.5% from the previous year.

"It's quite obvious that nonsurgical procedures are no longer the domain of the plastic surgeons," says Jeff Russell, executive director of the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM). "The statistics indicate the public is moving away from requiring plastic surgeons to do their Botox injections," continues Russell. "You are as likely to find a Botox brochure in your family physician’s office as a plastic surgeons."

Another association, the International Medical Spa Association, says there are now more than 2,500 medical spas, up significantly from 250 in 2004. This confirms that the ASAPS statistics show not a decline in procedures, but a shift from the procedures being done solely in plastic surgeons offices to now also being done in a medical spa or an aesthetic practice.

Russell feels that this decline means the public is more accepting of non-plastic surgeons performing many of these procedures. Physicians with proper aesthetic medicine training are perfect candidates for filling the public’s desire for aesthetic medicine procedures like Botox and dermal filler injections, as well as laser and light based procedures.

"Aesthetic medicine continues to be a billon dollar industry fueled by more than 11,000 people turning fifty every day," says Russell. "As long as physicians treat expanding their practices with aesthetic procedures as a business unit, they will do very well in this environment."

"We're finding that many of our Aesthetic Medicine Symposium attendees are family physicians and OB/GYNs looking at targeting their existing patients for aesthetic procedures," says Russell. "The IAPAM feels that complete physician aesthetic medicine training is the most important part of a successful medical spa or aesthetic practice. Those physicians who thought all they needed was to attend a Botox training course, are finding themselves in very difficult times.”


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