The use of lasers, radiofrequency (RF), and light-based technologies in cosmetic procedures has swelled in recent years, as device manufacturers explore the outer limits of safe energy-based approaches and physicians increasingly purchase new, clinically proven devices. Furthermore, people that normally would have avoided aesthetic procedures in the past – usually due to fear of surgery – are now much more open to less invasive non-surgical applications.
To further validate these trends, in 2016 the global market for all energy-based aesthetic device platforms and disposables reached over $1.5 billion (excluding skin tightening and body shaping systems), according to Medical Insight’s (Irvine, Calif.) recently released Energy-Based Aesthetic Devices market study.
As reported by Medical Insight, a major expansion of these types of systems is underway with solid growth in this segment. Over the next few years the total market for energy-based aesthetic devices, including disposables, are expected to expand by 5.8% per year to over $2 billion.
The most popular energy-based procedures, such as hair transplantation and removal, body shaping / skin tightening, facial rejuvenation, cellulite reduction and feminine rejuvenation, have advanced in high-tech sophistication and functionality, and practitioners are fully embracing these newer modalities. Many offer single session, no downtime treatments that don’t necessarily replace surgical results, but satisfy the needs of a growing patient base.
According to Jason Pozner, M.D., F.A.C.S., a plastic surgeon and medical director of Sanctuary Medical Aesthetic Center and Sanctuary Plastic Surgery in Boca Raton, Fla., “Multifunction platforms are also gaining popularity. For instance, we had been using only a portion of one energy-based system for a long time, even though it is capable of several modalities. In the past it was common for practices to utilize one device for this procedure and a different device for another procedure. However, increasingly patients have been asking for holistic, multiple treatments, so it made sense to exploit every capability of our energy-based platform.”
“Combining modalities and consolidating multiple functions in a single system, as well as joining those treatments with other approaches is the wave of the future,” Dr. Pozner continued. “Multiple modality methods are what is taking place in practices today.”
Cutting edge technology improvements and scientific breakthroughs also drive the market, noted Neil Sadick, M.D., a dermatologist and clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College (New York City, N.Y.). “For instance, a great new technology features a combination of useful picosecond ability with a special red lens that operates at 670 nm, which is very good in treating pigmentation, brownish tattoos and scarring. It also has both nanosecond and picosecond pulses,” he said.
Products that offer multiple tunable wavelengths are emerging, Dr. Sadick noted. For instance, Solta Medical, a division of Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America, is developing a new system based on TRASER (Total Reflection Amplification of Spontaneous Emission Radiation) energy, which is tunable to various wavelengths from below 532 nm to close to infrared, as well as varying pulse widths and changing pulse modes to attain very high fluences.
Other laser-based technologies include the NS-532 Laser System from NewSurg (Hilltown, Pa.), a compact, portable and affordable 532 nm laser that sets a new standard in the evolution of simple, efficient aesthetic treatments. This device can be used for the safe and effective treatment of pigmented and vascular lesions on all skin types.
NeoSkin from Aerolase (Tarrytown, N.Y.) takes skin rejuvenation to a new level via 650 microsecond laser technology. Using a multi-treatment approach with a single device and handpiece, NeoSkin delivers a comfortable, efficacious treatment that addresses a number of indications, including severe and cystic acne, neocollagenesis, spider veins, melasma, tone, texture and more. This system produces consistent results without per-treatment costs or consumables, and can also be safely used on all skin types.