According to Medical Insight’s July 2017, report, Energy-Based Body Shaping & Skin Tightening, North America is the largest single market for body shaping and skin tightening devices, with platform sales of about $405 million in 2016 and annual growth through 2021 anticipated at approximately 11%. During the same time period, rising consumer interest in these procedures is expected to expand by 14.5% per year. Disposable sales are likely to rise by a robust 19.5% per year as procedure volume swells.
Alma Lasers’ (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) vShape Ultra platform system for face and body treatments, features both RF and recently added ultrasound technology, as well as a unique stand-alone photo imaging solution to track patient results. With multiple revenue streams and zero disposables, vShape Ultra represents a robust platform that features JuVaShape technology and provides a total patient lifestyle solution. The JuVaShape treatment includes proprietary Unipolar and Bipolar RF therapies for deep and superficial dermal heating to treat conditions such as cellulite, along with a microablative RF needling module for fractional skin resurfacing.
Thermi’s RF-based platform incorporates various body shaping techniques, including those addressing cellulite. ThermiRF® and Thermi250® offer temperature controlled RF-based systems that are designed to produce outcomes via the application of controlled heat. ThermiRF combines temperature control with advanced real-time temperature monitoring to enable numerous non and minimally-invasive soft tissue treatments. These procedures can be performed in-office and offer natural looking results. Thermi250 is a high-powered, temperature controlled RF-based device emitting at 470 kHz. The platform is designed with a unique feature set to enable versatility. Ranging in size from 20 mm to 100 mm, the electrodes provide precision depth control. Treatments are non-invasive, non-ablative and require no downtime.
“One concept that is gaining traction in practices is the inside-outside approach to these kinds of therapies,” added Dr. Sadick. “Physicians might want to use the Thermi system, which is a targeted internal RF probe, with a modality that works externally, such as the Venus Legacy or any of the non-invasive treatments for tightening skin, reducing cellulite and improving wrinkles. Any of the newest cellulite reduction techniques can also be used synergistically with most other RF-based systems.”
Synergistic therapies are also a hallmark of the latest hair removal and transplantation therapies, reported Dr. Sadick. “For instance, energy-based microneedling devices can work well with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections,” he said. “In addition, watch for new technologies in this area that might end up being extra effective in terms of less transection of follicles.”
Currently, the trend in hair transplantation is the growing popularity of the minimally invasive Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) technique, in which hair grafts are removed one at a time from the donor area. Compared to earlier approaches, FUE is less painful and can result in faster recovery time with little or no scarring. “The era of FUE is here now,” Dr. Pozner reported. “Many people want it and the devices are getting easier to use and are much better than previous versions. The biologics are beginning to take off, as well. For instance, we have combined hair therapies with PRP, which seems to have potential uses in helping grafts take.”
Scientific studies of PRP use in medical aesthetics, particularly for hair restoration procedures, are beginning to show up, as well. As reported by Dr. Sadick, “A major study on PRP expected soon will look at the correlation of platelet counts, efficacy and the concentrate of the molecular simulating cytokines within the platelets.”
PRP is not a new technology but it is a hot area, Dr. Sadick continued. “The question is still, what is the best delivery system? Is it RF-based microneedling or fractional lasers that create random cutaneous channels, or is direct subdermal delivery via a needle the best way? We’re trying to iron out the exact treatment protocols for PRP,” he said.