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    Body shaping, skin tightening to show 'unprecedented growth'

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    National report — As baby boomers embrace cosmetic procedures and break down social barriers for future generations, the aesthetic industry is poised to boom in the next five years, according to the Global Aesthetic Market research report from Medical Insight.

    Total sales of aesthetic equipment, currently estimated at $1.2 billion annually, are expected to increase by 10.3 percent per year, reaching more than $1.9 billion by 2011, according to the report.

    Areas expected to lead the industry into unprecedented growth include body shaping and skin tightening, with sales of devices related to those improvements predicted to increase from $231.6 million in 2006 to $564.5 million in global sales by 2011.

    "Five years ago, skin tightening and body shaping were pipeline industries, embraced by forward-looking companies seeking to expand market share," says Michael Moretti, president of Medical Insight and editor of the study, in a press statement.

    Technologies in body shaping and skin tightening include liposuction and radiofrequency tissue tightening. More than 14 million procedures were performed in these areas in 2006, generating more than $4 billion in practitioner fees, according to the report.

    "By 2011, we'll see more than 36 million procedures in these areas, producing over $8 billion in professional fees," Mr. Moretti says. "U.S. fee growth will outpace that of the rest of the world as the U.S continues to support strong demand and high pricing."

    Bruce Katz, M.D., director of the Juva Skin & Laser Center in New York, says in terms of the increasing demand for body contouring and skin tightening, the report is right on the money.

    "There's definitely an increasing demand for these things," he says. "We have people coming from around the world for our body contouring and skin tightening technique."

    The technique, SmartLipo, is the first laser used for liposuction, Dr. Katz says.

    "We are using the same laser we used for liposuction for skin tightening."

    Topicals still on top

    In terms of aesthetic products, the report showed that anti-aging topicals remain the single largest market segment, with sales of all brands in 2006 reaching $6.2 billion, and sales expected to grow to more than $10.4 billion by 2011.

    Cosmetic procedures in general —including fillers, Botox and laser treatments — are, as a whole, advancing well into mainstream society, says Joel Schlessinger, M.D., director of the Advanced Skin Research Center in Omaha, Neb., and president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery.

    "It is all part of the trend in baby boomers to migrate to global rejuvenation rather than piecemeal improvements, such as happened in the '90s," he says. "These treatments have become much more mainstream over time, and have achieved a 'comfort level' with patients."

    One area that is falling behind, however, is chemical peels. According to the report, peels and microdermabrasion will see slower growth than other modalities, although the areas still will increase from combined sales of $97.1 million in 2006 to $130.1 million in 2011.

    The trend has actually been several years in the making, as the shift away from chemical peels dates back to the late 1990s, Dr. Schlessinger says.

    "Microdermabrasions were the first procedure to tread on peel's turf, followed by lasers such as CoolTouch and now the fractionated lasers, such as the Palomar 1540 and Fraxel (Reliant)," he says.

    "Nonablative lasers have little downtime compared to deeper peels and have much less risk for the physician, as well. But we still have many patients on the glycolic peels and various other peels, so I wouldn't give up on that segment yet," he adds.

    These treatments still play an important role in helping patients with melasma or other acne-related issues, Dr. Schlessinger says.

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