Medi Spas Giving Plastic Surgeons a Run for Their Money

Getting a nip and tuck has long been considered the rich person’s way to avoid the dreaded clock of Father Time.  Over the last two decades, as more plastic surgeons went into business pricing became more competitive and a larger demographic was able to afford to go under the knife. As a result there has been a decade-long boom in the plastic surgery industry, but is all that getting ready to come to an end?

If European trends are any indication than all signs point to, yes.

Over the last year there has been a more than 40 per cent decline in plastic surgery procedures in the U.K alone. While many would like to believe the decline means that we have finally eradicated cellulite and wrinkles (we haven’t), the decrease is actually a result of the rise in popularity of non-invasive procedures.

In fact, non-surgical procedures are quickly outpacing their surgical counterparts across the globe, replacing the scalpel and operating room with cutting-edge machines and technology.

“The growth of non-surgicals is pretty much exponential,” said Renato Saltz, president of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS).

Non-Invasive Procedures Gaining Popularity

Using lasers, and other state-of-the-art innovations, patients can get the same results as invasive surgical procedures without the surgery, pain and recovery time.

“The technology, the money invested in research and development, is just mind boggling,” Saltz said earlier this year. “If you look at the industry, they don’t make money with a scalpel, but they do make money with machines.”

Non-surgical procedures are also more widely available and can be accessed at a medi spa (medical spa) often for a fraction of the price that plastic surgeons charge.

When it comes to minimally and non- invasive procedures one in particular is gaining a lot of traction and quickly becoming one of the most requested procedures across the globe, CoolSculpting. Thanks in part to the celebrity culture that North America thrives on CoolSculpting is becoming the body contouring treatment of choice, outpacing liposuction and other invasive body sculpting and fat reduction procedures.

Using Cold to Shape the Body

Developed by two Harvard-based scientists who realized that children eating popsicles developed dimples where the cold treats had destroyed small fat pockets in the cheek.

The doctors began researching the effect, called cryolipolysis, and realized they could use targeted and directed cold to easily and effectively freeze fat cells. The frozen cells then crystalize and die, allowing the body to naturally remove them as part of the waste and toxin removal system. Ideal for areas that are resilient to exercise and diet, CoolSculpting works best on stubborn fat in the lower abdomen, thighs, stomach, love handles and under arms.

“The advantage of this procedure is you can control the area, specific localized areas where you would like to get rid of the fat first,” said Dr. Dieter Manstein, co-inventor of the CoolSculpting technology. 

International Demand

In Canada, the demand for non-invasive procedures continues to grow and was a reported trend to watch for this calendar year.

“Often these less invasive procedures will do almost as well as a more involved surgery,” said Dr. Frank Lista, Canadian Plastic Surgeon.  “CoolSculpting (which targets and freezes fat cells and allows the body to naturally eliminate them) and Belkyra (removes stubborn pockets of fat that can form under the chin) are what we predict to trend this year.”

CoolSculpting is the only FDA-approved fat reduction procedure currently on the market, and has become a go to for patients who want the fat reduction and toning effects of liposuction without the surgery.

At Dr. Lista’s Mississauga-based clinic they are seeing a growing demand for specific non-invasive procedures as well.

“The trend in non-surgical body contouring has become increasingly popular in 2017, as patients of aesthetic medicine are constantly demanding non-invasive procedures with shorter down time,” said Dr. Lista.

The growing popularity of CoolSculpting, which has also been referred to as ‘non-surgical liposuction’ comes as no surprise to the technicians at New You Spa in downtown Toronto. The medi spa, which was the first in Canada to offer CoolSculpting, knew there would be a great demand for such a revolutionary procedure.

Nasrin Monamie Certified CoolSculpting technician at New You says her patients are always raving about the incredible body shaping results they see following their treatments.

“CoolSculpting is the only procedure available that truly freezes fat away, its amazing,” said Monamie. “I have used it myself and love the results, that’s why I am so passionate about it.”

Growth Expected Over the Next 5 Years

South of the border, FDA-approved CoolSculpting is the fastest growing non-invasive procedure and is gaining momentum with those wanting to avoid the knife, and medical professionals looking for modern services to offer. In Reston, Virginia more than 2000 medical professionals have been educated at the Zeltiq CoolSculpting Training Centre.

“It’s a privilege to support an innovative company like ZELTIQ,” said Dr. Scott Gerrish, the Medical Director of the center. “Their proprietary controlled-cooling technology is allowing medical professionals to bring a permanent, cost-effective, and non-invasive fat reduction solution to their patients with very positive results.”

Like so many Hollywood A-listers, including the Kardashians and Heidi Klum, actress and celebrity Debra Messing underwent a CoolSculpting procedure and liked it so much she signed on to be the global brand ambassador.

“To me, this treatment is like a miracle worker—it’s incredible,” The Will and Grace star said.  “It’s not a whole reshaping of your body and making you something that you’re not. It’s about being a better version of yourself.”

The current market for non-invasive aesthetic procedures is roughly $11.96 billion and expected to reach $13.29 billion by 2021.

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