Emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a preservation of overall demand for body shaping solutions in an industry which has largely managed to persevere through challenging times. Less about new technologies and more about the evolution of the industry, the wellness-based care paradigm and combination therapies are establishing themselves as hallmarks of an exciting year.
The effects of COVID-19 on the industry have been profound and interesting, according to plastic surgeon Lina Triana, MD (Cali, Colombia), who has been lecturing on the subject. “The market has been growing in a very healthy way for several years now and the industry weathered the pandemic very well overall,” she explained. “Before COVID we were seeing a more dramatic rise in the number of nonsurgical body shaping therapies versus surgeries. As the pandemic has transitioned to where we are now, we saw a significant increase in the number of surgical body contouring procedures as people became less concerned about pandemic-related risks. We expected to see this continue, but economic and geopolitical instability have each played a role in slowing this down. We will see how this plays out as we continue through 2023.”
The growth of the market lies not just in the number of procedures performed, Dr. Triana explained, but in the different types of procedures available, both surgical and nonsurgical, and how this can be reflected – for better or worse – in how the physician’s philosophy of care is presented to the patient. “The doctor-patient relationship and patient satisfaction are of great importance. Our understanding has evolved, and we more readily embrace this growing armamentarium individually and in combination,” she shared.
“Physicians offering body contouring procedures do better when they have a larger spectrum of alternatives available,” Dr. Triana indicated. “The era in which the doctor tells the patient what to do is gone. Now we must offer patients the best alternatives so they can make informed choices based on our expert guidance, making trust so important.” This is where the wholistic, or wellness-based paradigm comes into the picture. “In the 80s and 90s everything was surgical, heralding the emergence of valid nonsurgical procedures trending alongside patient desires for convenience with less risk and downtime,” Dr. Triana continued. “With so many tools at our disposal now, and a global view of treating the whole patient rather than just a particular problem, we see better results as well as a stronger doctor-patient relationship.”
“In 2023 we are seeing the emergence of the more natural body shaping result, after a good five years of moving away from surgical into the nonsurgical and less invasive,” added cosmetic surgeon Daisy Ayim, MD, director of Ayim Surgical Arts (Houston, Texas). She also homes in on the wholistic approach that examines lifestyle, including nutrition and exercise, before body contouring devices or surgery are employed. “My patients will tell you: I will turn people down when I get the sense that they will not have the lifestyle in place because they need to maintain what we are working for,” she expressed. “Once we are good there, I guide them toward technologies and adjunctive therapies best suited to address their unique body contouring concerns.” Dr. Ayim does not see surgery as excluded from a wholistic, wellness-based care philosophy. “To me it is not about non-invasive, although that plays a role; it is about longevity and sustainability of outcomes that affect patients in a deeply personal way.”
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