The worldwide demand for body contouring treatments is on the rise, and as treatment innovations continue to advance, 2017 is at the crest of a wave. According to a 2016 report on the state of the body contouring market, the trends are striking.
Boutique body aesthetic treatments that take advantage of multiple technologies and devices are leading in 2017, as patients find that they can achieve more tailored results with similarly designer treatments. This also reflects a growing awareness among patients that their body aesthetic journey doesn’t end after a single session or procedure; as aesthetic medicine evolves, patients are capable of working closely with treatment providers to create complementary treatment plans.
Non-surgical body shaping and fat reduction is more common among men than ever before. From 2012 to 2015, the number of men who underwent non-invasive body shaping treatments in the US rose by 22.6% annually; in 2015, roughly 1 in 6 (or 16.7%) patients of non-surgical fat reduction treatments were men. According to a survey of American plastic surgeons, the number of non-surgical fat reduction procedures jumped a whopping 18.7% from 2014 to 2015.
Though the general trajectory is clear, these patterns can vary across markets, depending on local beauty trends. In South Korea, for example, more and more men are requesting body shaping treatments—both non-invasive and surgical—to achieve a more muscular appearance through targeted fat reduction. South Korean surgeons comment that visitors from across Asia make up a significant portion of their patient base, illustrating how willing patients are to travel in order to achieve their specific aesthetic goals.
Another trend in 2017 body aesthetics is the treatment of striae, or stretch marks. Striae are formed by dermal tearing due to rapid stretching of the skin, where collagen and elastin cannot form to adequately account for stretching. Striae are extremely common in cases of weight change, making them especially common during pregnancy, where people experience stretch marks in 90% of cases.
Recent innovations in striae treatment are proving promising. In 2015, patients saw a significant improvement in the appearance of striae after a combination therapy using PRP injections and microdermabrasion. In a 2016 study, researchers treated striae with NanoFractional radio frequency™ technology, diminishing their size by approximately 60% after 12 weeks of treatment, and encouraging the healthy proliferation of new collagen and elastin in the treated areas. Because historically stretch marks have been difficult to treat, these results point to significant potential for consumers to at last address this condition, and for practitioners to incorporate it into boutique body aesthetic treatments.
Liposuction was the most popular surgical procedure in 2016. According to a survey of American plastic surgeons, demand for liposuction rose by 134% over the last 20 years.
But when it comes to fat reduction treatments, liposuction is only the first step. Most treatments involve lengthy downtime, and can leave behind bruising, stubborn knots of fat, and loose skin, in addition to the risk of unreliable or adverse results. These concerns have encouraged many patients to opt for non-surgical treatments as a substitute for liposuction, or as an element of their post-liposuction treatment to help speed up healing, smoothen out the affected area, and tighten the leftover lax skin. Some of these effects are reduced with radio frequency-assisted liposuction, which has gained greater prominence in recent years.
There are two treatment strategies leading the pack in 2017: cryolipolysis and radio frequency. Cryolipolysis works by freezing and breaking down fat cells; while effective, these procedures cannot treat loose skin, and may end up disrupting the healing process if initiated too soon post-liposuction. In contrast, treatments using multipolar radio frequency technology can be safely used as early as two weeks or one month after radio frequency-assisted or traditional liposuction procedures, respectively.
These trends point towards a more flexible and more designer attitude towards body aesthetics, especially body shaping and cosmetic treatments that have expanded into non-traditional male markets around the world.
The demand for boutique body aesthetics treatments will only rise as treatment technology becomes more advanced and innovations enable more complex, complementary procedures tailored to patient demands.