Aesthetic medicine

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Aesthetic medicine is a 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. [1] Traditionally, it includes dermatology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, reconstructive surgery and plastic surgery,[2] surgical procedures (liposuction, facelifts, breast implants, Radio frequency ablation), non-surgical procedures (radio frequency skin tightening, non surgical liposuction, chemical peel, high-intensity focused electromagnetic field, radio frequency fat removal), and a combination of both.[3] Aesthetic medicine procedures are usually elective.[4]



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.[14]

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.

The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM), the UK's leading membership body for doctors and dentists practising aesthetic medicine, has defined the sub-speciality thus:

Aesthetic Medicine is a sub speciality of medical and surgical practice comprising a comprehensive group of health interventions, including preventative, minimally invasive and operative procedures involving human tissues, performed by duly qualified and registered medical, dental and advanced nurse practitioners, in order to maintain, improve or restore physical, psychological and/or social wellbeing of patients, using techniques which combine both medical and aesthetic considerations for the patient (September 2021).

Techniques and procedures[edit]

Careers in aesthetic medicine[edit]

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.[15] However, many of the procedures are routinely performed by trained Medical Aestheticians or facial aesthetic nurse-aestheticians nurses.[16] 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.


  1. ^ "Editorial". Aesthetic Medicine Journal. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  2. ^ "What is Aesthetic Medicine?", American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine
  3. ^ International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine, IAPAM.
  4. ^ Honigman, Roberta J.; Katharine A. Phillips, David J. Castle (2004-04-01). "A review of psychosocial outcomes for patients seeking cosmetic surgery". Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 113 (4): 1229–1237. doi:10.1097/ ISSN 0032-1052. PMC 1762095. PMID 15083026.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "Botched foreign cosmetic surgery leaves thousands of Brit health tourists scarred for life and NHS with £30million bill". Mirror. 11 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank Statistics (Report). The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2013.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions (PDF) (Report). UK Department of Health. 2013.
  11. ^ a b Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank Statistics (Report). The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 2013.
  12. ^ "Best Korean Plastic Surgery". Best Korean Plastic Surgery - Guide to Information and Facts. December 27, 2015. Archived from the original on December 10, 2019. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  13. ^ ISAPS (July 8, 2015). "ISAPS International Survey on Aesthetic/Cosmetic" (PDF). ISAPS. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 1, 2017. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  14. ^ Medical Aesthetics Clinical Skin Protocols 2014
  15. ^ Kaplan J., Volk A. S., Ashley J. R., Izaddoost S., Reece E., Winocour S. (2019). "A Systematic Review of Resident Aesthetic Clinic Outcomes". Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 39 (9): NP387–NP395. doi:10.1093/asj/sjz020. PMID 30715241.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ Holmberg C., Carlström E., Collier H. (2019). "Registered nurses' perspectives on medically safe practices and sound ethical standards in aesthetic nursing: an interview study". Journal of Clinical Nursing. 29 (5–6): 944–954. doi:10.1111/jocn.15158. PMID 31889344.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)