Without a doubt, the field of medical aesthetics has transformed over the past decade. Once dominated by a focus on the face, today the field of body aesthetics is large and still growing. This evolution is due in significant part to technologic advancements that have made it possible to shape, tone, and smooth the body without surgery. In fact, data from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) show a three-fold increase in body contouring procedures between 2012 and 2017. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), non-surgical fat treatments were among the top five non-surgical procedures of 2017—up 25 percent from 2016.
It’s not an either/or proposition for patients. Facial injectables (up 41 percent since 2012) and minimally-invasive skin rejuvenation procedures (up 28 percent since 2012) grew at the same time body treatments were surging, ASAPS says. And ASDS members performed more than 3.5 million procedures with fillers and neurotoxins in 2017. Don’t forget that “facial” treatments these days often extend to the chin, jowls, and neck.
For aesthetic physicians, an opportunity still exists. The savvy practitioner can realize additional revenue with a single device clinically proven to deliver lasting results to both the face and body: the Profound system from Candela.
While there are numerous technologies available to treat facial wrinkles and/or the appearance of cellulite, there are few that offer the versatility of the Profound system.
Charlotte, NC-based plastic surgeon Peter Capizzi, MD says succinctly that, “the system works,” and has enhanced his practice. “It has allowed our practice to grow on the non-surgical side. This procedure doesn’t replace a facelift or a limited facelift, but it provides that niche of a non-surgical treatment—one time, clinically proven and delegatable procedure. In our practice, a nurse practitioner provides the treatment.” Adding the device has led to growth in skin care, injectables, and eventually surgery, he says. He also uses the device to treat cellulite.
The Profound system delivers temperature-controlled radiofrequency (RF) energy directly to the deep dermis where it is shown to stimulate neoelastogenesis, neocollagenesis, and hyaluronic acid deposition. It also delivers fractional RF energy to the subcutaneous layer, where it can target adipose tissue.
Initially FDA-cleared for reduction of facial wrinkles, the Profound system received an additional FDA clearance to improve the appearance of cellulite using the SubQ handpiece and cartridge.
Results of a multi-center study show that 94 percent of thighs treated with the Profound system had improvement in the appearance of cellulite (dimples and/undulation irregularities) at three-month follow-up, as rated by a blinded review. Results begin to become evident as early as one month after treatment.
As a treatment for skin rejuvenation, the Profound system is ideal for those with moderate facial wrinkles. The Profound treatment is associated with social downtime for patients, primarily due to bruising and/or swelling that ranges from five to seven days.
Despite significant advancements on the non-surgical front, surgical facelift remains the gold standard for improvement of wrinkles. However, when properly utilized, devices can come close. This is a welcome reality, given that surgery simply is not the best option for many patients. Some patients are not candidates for surgery because their wrinkles are not severe enough or other factors preclude them from going under the knife. Yet, alternatives like fillers and neurotoxins may not yield sufficient improvement. Aesthetic physicians need to understand the options available to flexibly and efficiently meet patient demand. There is nothing worse for an aesthetic physician than turning away a patient for lack of an effective intervention.
“It gives patients a subtle improvement in their overall facial appearance,” says Dr. Capizzi. “The ROI has been good. The device paid for itself in seven months.”
For the dermatologist looking to provide a non-surgical alternative to facelifts, the Profound system is a worthwhile option. Not only does it expand the range of patients that can be treated for facial concerns; it also extends the possible menu of treatments to include body treatments.
“Given the availability of other technologies and surgery, the Profound system is well suited for practices with patients who do not wish to undergo invasive surgery,” maintains Dr. Capizzi.
For the surgeon seeing patients who are not yet candidates for a facelift, the Profound system allows an opportunity to satisfy the patient’s needs and keep them in touch with the practice until surgery is indicated.
Noting that, “I never thought this would work so well,” Dr. Capizzi suggests that in his opinion, the Profound system is among the best non-surgical technologies on the market and can have a role in a variety of practices. “It is an excellent tool to have in our practice for selected patients.”