Aesthetic medicine

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Aesthetic medicine is an extensively broad term for specialties that focus on altering cosmetic appearance through the treatment of conditions including scars, skin laxity, wrinkles, moles, liver spots, excess fat, cellulite, unwanted hair, skin discoloration, and spider veins. Traditionally, aesthetic medicine includes dermatology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, reconstructive surgery and plastic surgery.[1] Aesthetic medicine includes both surgical procedures (liposuction, facelifts, breast implants, Radio frequency ablation) and non-surgical procedures (radio frequency skin tightening, non surgical liposuction, chemical peel, high-intensity focused electromagnetic field, radio frequency fat removal), and practitioners may utilize a combination of both.[2] Although aesthetic medicine procedures are typically elective, they can significantly improve quality of life, psychological wellbeing and social engagement.[3]



Aesthetic medicine specializes in altering cosmetic appearance. It has diverse applications for dermatological and surgical conditions. It includes indications related to minimizing signs of aging such as skin laxity, wrinkles, and liver spots. Aesthetic medicine also plays a role in the treatment of excess fat, cellulite and obesity. Laser based therapies can be indicated for the treatment of scars, unwanted hair, skin discoloration, and spider veins.[13]

It is important that overall health is assessed by a physician to ensure that the symptom being treated (for example, weight gain and excessive hair) is not a sign of an underlying medical condition (like hypothyroidism) that should be stabilized with medical therapies. It is also very important for the medical aesthetician to be inclusive in providing a team approach for minimally invasive facial aesthetic procedures.

Techniques and procedures

Careers in aesthetic medicine

A career in aesthetic medicine can be approached from a number of professions. A multidisciplinary or team based approach is often necessary to adequately address an aesthetic need. To perform certain procedures, one must be a surgeon, medical doctor (Dermatologist/plastic surgeon/ENT surgeon/Oculoplastic surgeon) or maxillofacial surgeon /Cosmetic Dentist.[14] However, many of the procedures are routinely performed by trained Medical Aestheticians or facial aesthetic nurse-aestheticians nurses.[15] For example, Medical Aesthetician can perform progressive chemical peels. Medical Aesthetics requires specialized training and certification beyond a nurse license / aesthetic license. Counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists can help people determine if their reasons for pursuing aesthetic procedures are healthy and help to identify psychiatric disorders such as compulsive eating, anorexia, and body dysmorphic disorder. Reconstructive surgeons can help correct appearance after accidents, burns, surgery for cancer (such as breast reconstruction after mastectomy for cancer), or for congenital deformities like correction of cleft lip. Orthodontists work to improve alignment of teeth, often partially for aesthetic reasons, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons can perform cosmetic facial surgery & correct deformities of the mouth and jaw. Both orthodontists and maxillofacial surgeons can be assisted by dental technicians. American Aesthetic Association (AAA) providing all aesthetic diploma courses such as cosmetic gynecology, hair transplant, etc. for physicians and surgeons to enhance their medical practice. Aesthetic Medicine is often a subset of other practices of medicine, for example a family physician who is board certified by the (AAFP) American Academy of Family Physicians, may also offer aesthetic medicine treatments. Often physicians such as these will join multi-specialty associations, like the IAPAM (International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine) or ASLMS (American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery) to further their education.


  1. International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine, IAPAM.
  2. Statistics on Cosmetic Procedures Worldwide (PDF) (Report). International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-01-31. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  3. Statistics on Cosmetic Procedures Worldwide (PDF) (Report). International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-02-01. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  4. Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank Statistics (Report). The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2013.
  5. Britain sucks (Report). London, UK: The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-12-27. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  6. Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions (PDF) (Report). UK Department of Health. 2013.
  7. 10.0 10.1 Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank Statistics (Report). The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2013.
  8. Medical Aesthetics Clinical Skin Protocols 2014

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