Top 20 advances in plastic surgery and aesthetic medicine in the past 20 years Part 3
11. The MediSpa movement It seems that nowadays there is a medispa on every corner, but the idea was revolutionary not all that long ago. The only place to get cosmetic medical treatments was in a doctor’s office, usually a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. Long waits for appointment times and a perceived lack of focus on cosmetic concerns were significant deterrents. When Calidora Skin Clinics opened in Seattle in 2005 (with me as the founding Medical director), this all began to change. Calidora merged with California-based Skin Spirit several years later. Skin Spirit is now the nation’s #1 provider of Botox treatments.
12. Anti-aging science comes of age Anti-aging treatments have become so commonplace that some people feel that the very idea of anti-aging is over the hill. But scientific advances over the past 20 years have given the idea some real credibility. Before, the best we could do was disguise the effects of aging with plastic surgery, whereas now we can intervene in the aging process itself on a molecular level. One example is resveratrol, the antioxidant from red wine that activates genes associated with longevity and health. It is now available in a variety of skin care products. (I developed one for Calidora and proved that it was the most potent antioxidant in a skincare product at the time.)
13. Ultrasound is ultra-cool Although the body contouring ultrasound platform Liposonix never gained hold in the market, when I joined the startup as the founding Medical Director I had the opportunity to learn a lot about ultrasound. Various forms of ultrasound are now used in a range of applications for plastic surgeons and aesthetic medicine providers. Ultherapy, which uses micro-focused ultrasound, became the first FDA-cleared technology for non-invasive skin lifting and remains a popular and effective option today. Using handheld probes that run off of a smartphone or tablet, imaging ultrasound is being investigated as a more convenient and cost-effective alternative to MRI scans for screening breast implants. At Calidora we helped develop the JeNu system, which uses ultrasound to enhance permeation of cosmeceuticals, accelerating their effectiveness. Ultrasound is entering the operating room now, where it is used to guide placement of long-acting local anesthetics such as the TAP block with Exparel for tummy tucks.
14. The Mommy Makeover It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the term “mommy makeover” became an everyday word, but there’s no question that it has become enormously popular. Because the mommy makeover addresses the changes in a woman’s body resulting from pregnancy, it typically includes a tummy tuck and some type of breast surgery, usually implants to restore volume and/or a lift. Early on, some questioned whether the combination of procedures was too much to be done at once, but in the right setting it has been shown to be safe.
15. Real Self gets real Since the inspiration for reviewing this top 20 list was our live plastic surgery webcast 20 years ago, we have to take note of how patients use online resources now to guide their decisions. No site has been more influential than RealSelf, founded here in Seattle by Tom Seery, former Director for Expedia.com. I asked him how it all started, and here is his explanation: "We started RealSelf in 2006 to unlock the real stories and insights about plastic surgery and aesthetics that was historically hard for consumers to find. When RealSelf launched, discussing plastic surgery was still very much taboo in most circles and consumers had access to very little information. Our purpose is to bring these real stories and insights to light to help consumers make smart, confident decisions and to connect with the right doctor."
This “online aesthetic community” has gone global, attracting millions of users per month from around the world. Seery notes that "As RealSelf has grown in relevance for consumers, the number of surgeons and doctors participating has also grown, today topping more than 25,000." I’ve posted more than 6,000 answers on the site.