The trend started over a decade ago, noted by a prominent New York Times headline, More Doctors Turning to the Business of Beauty. The article looked at the rise of medical spas, pointing out that:
Five years ago, cosmetic medicine was primarily the domain of plastic surgeons, facial surgeons and dermatologists — medical school graduates who undergo several years of training in facial skin and its underlying anatomy. But now obstetricians, family practitioners and emergency room physicians are gravitating to the beauty business, lured by lucrative cosmetic treatments that require same-day payments because they are not covered by insurance and by a medical practice without bothersome midnight emergency calls.
This was in 2009. Since then, there has been more media coverage of the boom in this niche field and more people started noticing this wasn’t just a doctor’s realm anymore. Today more dermatologists, plastic surgeons, oculoplastic surgeons, aesthetic physicians, aestheticians, and a whole slew of office and support staff are entering the field than at any point in history, with even more growth expected. Entering the field can be a little bit intimidating and most seasoned practitioners admit that they wish someone had given them advice and guidance for a smoother and more lucrative launch. SCALE 2019 is set up to be a one-stop guide for new practitioners and this article will help you get ready to make the most of your experience there.
Alternatively, this can stand alone as a quick rundown of the things you will be glad you knew when you look back at your career as a veteran in the field.
What Is Aesthetic Medicine
Broadly speaking, aesthetic medicine is any process conducted to change a person’s appearance. This includes surgery and non-invasive treatments that range from injections to laser or other energy treatments [LINK TO BLOG ON ENERGY TREATMENTS]. Some of these treatments require a physician, some a nurse, and some a licensed esthetician. Most are performed in an outpatient setting, with a growing number done at medical spas or clinics in which those undergoing the procedure may also be treated to massages, hair and makeup, and other beauty and relaxation treatments.
There are basically 3 types aesthetic procedures.
- Reconstructive surgery, which occurs after an accident or illness to restore the patient’s appearance.
- Physical surgery, which is done on the body, usually the face, to enhance the patient’s current appearance.
- Non-invasive procedures, which occur without general anesthesia and surgery that can be used either to enhance an appearance or remove an unsightly blemish
Aesthetic Medicine is More Than Just Beauty
While most people associate this field with cosmetics, many practitioners actually end up involved in the all around health and wellness of their patients. This is because many medical issues that a person has, present outward physical symptoms that they seek to have addressed.
This includes the likes of acne, eczema, allergies, as well as symptoms of hormonal imbalances like excessive hair and weight gain. While dermatologists are generally well versed in the connection between skin and the whole health of the patient, there are many people successfully practicing in the facial and body aesthetics field who are not dermatologists. It behooves all to learn and stay up-to-date on the impacts of allergens, disease, fitness, and diet on the whole human body. It’s important to know the connections between these things and the things their patients seek to fix. This will help you treat the symptoms that people come to you about, and in turn, help them understand what is causing their symptoms. It is very well understood that health and appearance are linked, and that diet and exercise, as well as lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on the way you look.
There Is a Lot to Know About Technology, Methodology, and Injectables and the Surgical Suite
While there are practices that are very specialized, more clinics and medical spas are moving toward a broad range of treatment options available to those looking to enhance their appearance. The more generalized the offerings, the more there is to know. This means not only knowing how tools and technologies work, but being able to advise and counsel patients and clients before, during and after their procedures. Visiting with different vendors and attending presentations and workshops, as well as doing research can help you to stay up-to-date on both the tried and true methods and the emerging trends and technologies. This will allow you to decide if you are going to do that particular work.
For those setting up practices, there is also the learning curve that comes with opening a business, marketing that business and building a reputation with clients. This is complicated enough that even the National Institutes of Health has published advice on setting up an ethical and professional aesthetic practice. There is no lack of retrospective insight available to those who have gone down the road you are now taking. Learn from them and keep learning. This will make you a great practitioner and successful in your business.