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Medica: Making technological waves in aesthetic medicine

“Technology has come a long way in recent years. For example, the Venus Legacy uses multi-polar radio frequency to control the therapeutic temperature of the treated area, ensuring it targets the patient’s problem areas effectively. It uses proprietary technology to increase blood circulation and stimulate lymphatic drainage capable of delivering swift and remarkable results,” says Chabtini

Aesthetic medicine is a broad term that encompasses all medical procedures aimed at improving the physical appearance and satisfaction of the patient using non-invasive or minimally invasive cosmetic procedures.

The aesthetic medicine industry is known to be one of the most profitable in terms of cosmetic treatments for maintaining a youthful appearance. There are many treatment options available which are known to be less invasive than typical medical spa treatments, facial injections and non invasive laser collagen

remodeling for permanent improvement of wrinkles and skin tone. The demand for non-surgical cosmetic procedures have become exceedingly common and widespread with 794% increase between 1997 and 2004, according to American Society for Aesthetic plastic surgeons (ASAPS).

Often mistakenly thought to be purely for anti-aging or enhanced glamour, specialties also include improving cosmetic appearance through the treatment of conditions such as scars, skin laxity, wrinkles, moles, liver spots,excess fat, cellulite, unwanted hair, skin discoloration and spider veins, among other conditions.

Moreover, beauty and aesthetics practitioners in the region have been encouraged to ditch the one-size-fits-all approach to anti-aging and body contouring treatment and adopt highly-efficient patient-centric techniques to keep up with the rapidly growing demand.

Over the last few years, the number of patients seeking treatment for various kinds of physical injuries or enhancements have doubled with many opting for body-sculpting procedures to improve their appearance.

This surge in aesthetic treatment has further accelerated the growth of medico-aesthetics market to unprecedented levels.

The report, dubbed ‘Global Medical Aesthetics Market’, points to a compound annual growth rate of about 12.8% between 2017 and 2024.

The report findings, which were shared by beauty, aesthetics and medical solutions provider, Medica Group, are a clear indication that the market is driven by the evolving needs of patients who are now looking for cutting-edge treatments.

Ayesha Rashid of Mediworldme had the pleasure to speak with Elias Chabtini, CEO of Medica Group, a leading service provider of aesthetics, cosmetics and dermatology equipment and products across the Middle East about aesthetic medicine being a growing trend in modern medicine and what’s next in aesthetic medicine?

Why is aesthetic medicine a popular trend in modern medicine?

Unlike cosmetic surgery, aesthetic medical procedures are non invasive with minimal anesthesia or don’t require anesthetics at all. This undoubtedly contributes to why aesthetic medicine is such a popular and growing trend in modern medicine. Patients are embracing it as they not only want to be in good health, they also want to enjoy life to the fullest, and minimize the effects of normal aging.

These days more and more people are seeking non-invasive procedures with minimal downtime. So now we see aesthetic medicine is not confined to just dermatologists and plastic surgeons, as doctors of other specialties, such as dentists (with the rise of popularity in the Hollywood smile) and ENT surgeons (reflecting the popularity of nose and ear cosmetic enhancements such as rhinoplasty) seek to offer services to address their patient’s aesthetic needs and desires. This very lucrative business has seen many doctors expanding their own practice to encompass an aesthetic practice.

Technologies used in aesthetics medicine?

Technology has come a long way in recent years. We now see new technologies used in body contouring and skin treatments that were once inconceivable. For example, the Venus Legacy™ uses multi-polar radio frequency to control the therapeutic temperature of the treated area and to ensure it targets the patient’s problem areas effectively. It uses proprietary technology to increase blood circulation and stimulate lymphatic drainage which is capable of delivering swift and remarkable results. The technology, radio frequency and PEMF, or pulsed electro magnetic fields, enhance the effect of multi-polar radio frequency and has proven to be effective in triggering regenerative processes in the skin, featuring also the cutting-edge VariPulse™ technology.

Cooltech is another example of advanced technology that is highly effective (and therefore popular) in targeting localized fat reduction. Cooltech is a descriptive name for the technology which literally freezes fat cells and destroys them. Cooltech technology is used in combination with radio frequency technology to sculpt the desired results.

For facial treatments there is Ultherapy, which uses micro-focused ultrasound to deliver energy below the skin’s surface that targets the foundational layers of the skin. Ultherapy is the only FDA and CE approved non-invasive procedure that lifts the neck, face and décolleté in a single 45-minute procedure with no downtime with visible results that last 18 months and more

Aging and sun damaged skin is a major concern and treatment modalities used to address these issues have come a long way?

With the aging effects of sun damage, patients experience pigmentation issues, fine lines and reduced elasticity. And with ever greater emphasis on youth, people want to turn back the tide of skin aging and do whatever they can to preserve and enhance their appearance.

The Venus Viva brings about stunning results in resolving skin damage. It is the first and only NanoFractional RF™ system that allows operator control of ablation and coagulation for enhanced efficacy in resolving mild to severe skin damage. The NanoFractional RF™ applicator is equipped with state-of-the-art patented tip technology with up to 700 pulses. Patients report high levels of satisfaction and comfort levels when treated with this skin resurfacing system.

In your opinion are their sufficient scientific evidence and clinical research to prove safety and efficacy of the procedures?

Medica is diligent and conscientious about all the aesthetic medical equipment and services it provides. Every product, service or technology we provide has been properly researched, checked and verified by the FDA or CE. We wholeheartedly believe in the safety and efficacy of our products. All due diligence is taken at every step of the process to bring the safest, most effective and cutting-edge technology to the region. Medica is now a one stop shop that provides a 360-degree solution, supplying any clinic from concept to equipment, management structure, training & education, operations and marketing.

We are now the largest supplier of medical aesthetics equipment in the region because clinics and doctors everywhere know they can come to us and we will be able to provide them with everything for their business including training in the latest products, and how to market them across the region. From humble beginnings decades ago, Medica is now the leaders in the distribution of medico-aesthetic equipment and products in the Levant and South East Asia region.

Another issue that female clients struggle with is cellulite? What is that and do you do any other treatments as well?

Cellulite is caused by expanding fat cells that bunch up underneath the skin and fibrous bands (septa) that run perpendicular to the surface of the skin. The enlarged fat cells create small bulges while the tight septa cause puckering. The result is an orange peel effect on the surface of the skin somewhere on their body, although thighs and buttocks are most commonly affected areas.

Our product VelaShape, winner of the ‘Best Non-invasive Body-Shaping Device is a non-invasive, body contouring treatment for circumferential & cellulite reduction. It helps remove and treat cellulite from problem areas such as your abdomen, thighs, arms, buttocks, muffin tops and chin. It uses a combination of BiPolar Radiofrequency (RF), Infrared Light Energy, plus Vacuum and Mechanical Massage. It works on the principle of heating up the fat cells, breaking them down and increasing body’s metabolism to flush out the dead fat cells naturally.

truSculpt ID™ is another body sculpting technology that helps with body sculpting. It creates permanent fat cell destruction, with a 24% reduction in fat on average. Treatments are fast and results can been quickly which makes this one of the most popular body sculpting solutions for patients.

Technology in the aesthetic industry continues to advance, as new modalities become available it is crucial to decide what will or will not be most advantageous to the practice your opinion?

We are always first in the region with new technologies and cutting-edge products that get the kind of results customers want to see and our partners know this. Medica has built its reputation on this and so it is vitally important we keep abreast of all new developments in the field. We do this by working tirelessly globally to visit trade fairs, seminars and keeping in touch with researchers and manufacturers. I see where this industry is going, with constant advancements in products and technology and to be at the cutting edge of that, ensuring our partners are the first with the latest equipment, helping people feel good about themselves, as an industry and a service, I love it. I am passionate about what I do, and it’s a dream come true to work in an industry you love, that helps people, that is also in high demand.

The explosion in medical aesthetic has resulted in a market that is literally flooded with new products, devices and procedures all claiming to be the ‘latest and greatest’ or the ‘next best thing’ can you tell us in detail about this also?

This is one of the challenges facing our industry. Many products claim to be the latest, safest or the best, but we also know patients have been left facing the repercussions when these claims turn out to be false. It is an unfortunate fact that sometimes such claims are made, but they are unreliable or patently false.

It is a concern to me that too many patients do not understand what is being injected into their face or have no idea about the level of training that the therapist or doctor has had, to ensure they are the right person to do the treatment.

Appropriate experience and education are essential but often the consumer looks for the cheapest or most advertised clinic or product. We work on tackling that through our business model that offers integrated training and educational programs, as well as consultancy for business practices, marketing, aftersales and maintenance services for all our business partners.

That is also why we at Medica ensure that all our products are FDA and CE approved and verified. We also ensure our customers are highly trained professionals and we offer training and education on our products to ensure appropriate protocols are being followed and offer unparalleled sales and after sales service.

Which procedure is gaining more attention in the medical aesthetic industry and why?

Face tightening procedures are gaining great attention in the industry currently due to increased demand. This can be put down to all the reasons previously discussed such as reduced down time and rapid results. The Venus Viva can reduce scar pigmentation and also reduce the signs of aging with fast and effective results and this is proving to be highly attractive to patients. As does the Ultherapy, which has been performed over 1,000,000 times. Along with body contouring such as the Cool Tech and fillers such as Restylane, which are always in high demand, it is worth mentioning the rise of treatments for men.

When I first founded Medica Group in the late 1990s virtually no men were interested in cosmetics or aesthetics procedures. Nowadays men seeking corrective or enhancing medical aesthetics account for approximately 25-30% of the market. Many are particularly interested in dermatology treatments, in order help keep a youthful facial appearance, fillers and Botulinum Toxin are also increasingly popular, much as they are for the female market.

While we may market to this cohort and target them slightly differently, the ethos is the same. Looking your absolute best is not just a luxury extra for a privileged few anymore in this image conscious era of social media and celebrity, for many it’s become more of a necessity than an option.

The global aesthetic market report forecasts growth going forward, are you positioned to be among the winners?

I founded the Medica Group in 1999. After several years of experience and market studies, I turned the company from distribution into being the only one-stop-shop for dermatologists, plastic surgeons, aesthetic centers and s9pas. Medica provides a 360-degree solution, servicing clinics from concept to final operations, covering equipment, management structure, training, operations and marketing.

Over the years I’ve seen many medical aesthetics suppliers come and go but we are still here. Because I love what I do, I am passionate about the industry, I stay at the forefront of the business, meetings doctors and clinic owners to understand their needs. In this way I’ve built up a successful business.

Earlier this year I partnered with Gulf Capital, one of the largest asset managers in the Middle East. Gulf Capital identified Medica the dominant market leader which allowed Gulf Capital to capitalise on the growing consumer and healthcare trends in the region. We have achieved a lot so far, but through acquisitions and organic growth we plan to achieve even more moving forward.