To The Point

Dr. Samuel Shatkin Jr. MD- President- isamPro


Why Aesthetic Medicine?

The memory of my patient bringing a sign to my office, “Wrinkled was not what I wanted to be when I grew up” instilled an indelible mark on my mind and my practice.   A women in her 80’s presented with a significant challenge.   She wanted to look younger. She wanted the mirror to reflect how she felt inside. The year was 1998, and my practice was in it’s infancy. In addition, I had very few tools to use to create a clinical significant improvement. Sure, we could do surgery, tightened the skin and pull things up and back, but she had other problems contributing to aging. She had texture irregularities from excessive sun exposure. She had hyperpigmentation, course and fine rhytids and loss of volume. Fortunately, just a short time before, we added an aggressive ablative laser to our practice. It was a CO2 laser, which was great for ablating the surface layers of the skin much like an abrasion from a fall when one would skin their knee. The process actually followed a similar series of healing, with reepthelialization and eventually smooth red skin that gradually faded to normal skin tone. For that patient, the treatment was ideal. After years of damage, an aggressive approach was just what she needed to make a significant improvement. Unfortunately, most patients that come into an aesthetic practice for rejuvenation do not need such a deep skin treatment. This is especially true today. Aesthetic medicine has become much more commonplace. So much so that spas and salons are popping on what seems like every street corner. Perhaps we should credit the modern day diva, Joan Rivers (RIP) for the change in attitude and views towards looking your best. Or maybe it is because we are all living longer, and are tired of looking tired! Whatever the cause is, products and services are expanding in this multi billion dollar industry. Estimates currently suggest that by the year 2020, $3.5 Billion will be spent worldwide on non-surgical aesthetic treatments. The good news now is that products and devices specific to aesthetic medicine abound. New skin treatments for surface improvements are available and the science is backed up by results. It seems that almost on a daily basis new dermal fillers are available to smooth, fill, rearrange or eliminate aging changes. Techniques for botulinum injections are improving and the off label use of these neurotoxins continues to benefit the patients. We now have new and improved lasers that are essentially tunable, able to treat superficial or deep wrinkles. And new non-light based energy devices such as Radiofrequency, Ultrasound, Microneedling and combinations of these modalities allows for combination-rejuvenation treatments that promise to get even better results! And how about non-invasive body contouring? We now can freeze or heat the fat and reduce bulges that once required surgery. What a great time to be in the aesthetic industry! Riding the wave of technology and helping our patients achieve their goals has never been better.

When a patient comes to my office now, we have plenty of tools in our armamentarium to “turn the clock back”. Of course these new technologies cost money, but with advancement comes competition which hopefully will drive down the costs. In addition, knowledge in the field of nutrition, both topically on the skin as well as systemically can maintain good health and a youthful appearance. This is all part of the Aesthetic Medicine focus. Anti-Aging skin products are just as important (or perhaps more) in clearing the complexion and making a refreshed look.

One thing is certain, the health professionals who take the time to master techniques and procedures and learn about products through educational and collaborative societies like ours will stand out as experts in the field. Interactive training seminars and sharing ideas within our society will advance the industry of Aesthetic Medicine and allow us to capture our piece of this ever growing field.

Why Aesthetic Medicine? The answer is simple. That is what patients want. They are still thinking, “wrinkled is not what I wanted to be when I grow up” but now we have the ability to help slow down the aging process so that the reflection in the mirror is a youthful version of themselves.