Plastic Surgery Predictions for 2010

Remember the old Johnny Carson sketch, “The Great Karnak”? Well, these predictions may prove to be about as accurate, but here goes…

1. Botox vs. Dysport. So far, this corporate shoot-out has been pretty low-key. But I expect the marketing and tug-of-war between the two corporate behemoths to increase significantly in 2010, as people (both patients and physicians) become more comfortable with Dysport. IMO, there’s plenty of room for both in the ever-expanding non-surgical market. Of course, the real game changer is Revance Therapeutics’ topical formulation – Botox cream. But that’s probably a few years away yet.

2. Market Consolidation. I expect two forms of market consolidation in 2010, continuing what we were seeing in the rough economic waters of 2009. Smaller product lines will either drop out, or be absorbed by larger corporations. Mergers and buyouts of small to mid-size aesthetic companies will continue, as we’ve seen in the laser industry in 2009.

3. Increasing regulation of medi-spas. It’s taken a while, but regulators at the State level are beginning to wise up that medi-spas are doing treatments and procedures that until recently, were only done in physicians’ offices or surgery centers. So, they should have similar safety regulations and oversight. The recent med-spa related liposuction death in Florida has added fuel to this fire.

4. Pragmatism towards current minimally-invasive procedures. When ever any new technology is introduced, there are 3 phases: an excitement / hype phase, a reassessment phase, and the final “here’s-the real-deal” phase. I’m hopeful that in 2010, we’ll be approaching the pragmatic phase about laser-assisted liposuction (LAL), and that we’ll see more good science about the degree of skin tightening that LAL really produces.

5. Continued interest in fat grafting. Especially once the technology for turbo-charging fat grafts with stem cells gets approved by the FDA, this is the next “big thing” in both aesthetic plastic and reconstructive surgery.

6. Will the “gummy-bear” breast implants arrive in 2010? Maybe in the second half of the year. The real question is whether American women will accept the trade-offs of larger incisions and the “super-firm” feeling of the implant for a possibly lower contracture rate and lower rate of gel migration. I think textured, standard gel implants will undergo a surge in popularity – especially for revisional cases.

7. More “me-too” products. Whether it’s in the injectable filler, botox, or laser arena, I think companies will try to introduce their spin on currently existing products, to gain a share in the lucrative cosmetic market. There will be more HA fillers, more fractional lasers, more liposuction devices – each touting that their product is “just as good as Brand X”. (The FDA 401 (k) equivalency process encourages imitation, rather than innovation.) This will, of course, be more confusing for consumers. If the new products don’t catch on rapidly, I suspect, prediction # 2 will take place, and the product will sink out of sight, more rapidly than before. Better then, to stay with the tried-and-true / market leaders.

That’s all Dr. F. has for now. Happy New Year, everybody!

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Plastic Surgery In Florida