Aesthetic Medicine- Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery

What is aesthetic medicine?

Aesthetic medicine is a section of medicine concerned with helping a person improve their physical appearance by using non-surgical techniques. Many of these methods focus on the skin and hair.

Who are aesthetic medicine doctors?

Aesthetic medicine doctors usually start off as general doctors who study further and gain certification in aesthetic medicine methods. They are not trained in surgical techniques like plastic surgeons. Rather, they focus on minimally invasive techniques.

When to seek help from aesthetic medicine experts?

Any person interested in improving their appearance using non-surgical methods should consult an aesthetic medicine expert. Aesthetic medicine is also useful for certain medical conditions, such as stress urinary incontinence.

What does aesthetic medicine encompass?

There are many procedures that fall under the category of aesthetic medicine. These are briefly listed and discussed below.

Botulinum toxin injections

A thin needle is used to carefully inject small quantities of Botulinum toxin into specific muscles of the face. This paralyzes the muscles and, in the process, removes wrinkles.

Dermal fillers

These are substances, such as hyaluronic acid or fat, that are usually injected into the face to even out wrinkled areas.

Chemical peels

The idea behind this is to rejuvenate the skin by removing the outermost layer, the epidermis. Some type of chemical, such as trichloroacetic acid, phenol, or glycolic acid is used to do this.


Microdermabrasion is a method of abrading (removing) the outer layers of the skin to help rejuvenate it, fix uneven skin tones, and help remove fine lines.

Laser methods

Aesthetic medicine lasers can be used for a number of reasons, including skin rejuvenation, hair removal, removing tattoos, and treating acne. Lasers can be used for skin resurfacing and to remove unwanted hair.

Intense pulsed light therapy (IPL)

This is a type of light therapy that helps remove spots, hair, and wrinkles that have developed on the skin.

Radiofrequency (RF) therapy

This method uses energy waves to heat up the skin and stimulate collagen production in the deeper layers.

Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP)

PRP involves an injection of a patient’s own platelets to help stimulate healing. It is thought to help with skin rejuvenation and may trigger hair growth.

What conditions are included in aesthetic medicine?

Aesthetic medicine can help treat conditions related to the skin and hair and improve the physical appearance of the patient. Often these conditions are a natural part of aging, but in other cases may be due to injury or medical treatment.

Surgical scars

Surgery includes cutting into the skin and tissues. While laparoscopic methods are preferable, there is still a scar, although the scars are not as big as those resulting from open surgery. Many people feel self-conscious about scars, which is why aesthetic medicine can be helpful in reducing the appearance of scarring on the skin.

Burn scars

Scars from burns to the skin can be unsightly, especially if they are on the face. Laser therapy can aid in reducing the appearance of burn scars.


Vascular birthmarks can be partly diminished by using low-level lasers that shrink the blood vessels. This may be helpful for children born with port-wine stain birthmarks which tend to darken with age.

Tattoo removal

People sometimes regret getting a tattoo and want to have it removed at a later date. A special type of laser can be used to help break apart ink particles of the tattoo, effectively removing the ink from the skin.

Hair removal

Hair may grow in unwanted places, like excess facial hair in women, due to hormonal changes. Methods like waxing or laser light can help remove this unwanted hair.

Helping hair loss

People with alopecia may seek treatment due to thinning hair and bald spots. Certain photo therapies and treatments with hormones or PRP may stimulate hair follicle growth.


Wrinkles are something we all develop as we age. Certain lifestyle factors like smoking and excess sun exposure increase the chance of developing wrinkles sooner. Botulinum toxin injections may be used to help remove wrinkles and fine lines.

Loose skin

People ften lose fat from the face due to age, illness and weight loss. To improve the overall appearance of the face, dermal fillers are sometimes used in these situations.

Brown spots

Brown spots develop due to long-term exposure to sunshine because of the damaging effect of UV radiation on the skin. Chemical peels and microdermabrasion or even light therapy may help remove brown spots.


Cellulite manifests as a dimpled appearance to the skin due to how fat is deposited. Lasers and sometimes dermal fillers are sometimes used to help with this problem.

Stretch marks

These are most commonly seen in women who have been pregnant, causing the skin to stretch. Microdermabrasion and RF are two of the techniques used to help with stretch marks.

Vaginal tightening

Radiofrequency therapy is a non-surgical option that is sometimes used to tighten the skin and tissues of the vagina.

Stress urinary incontinence

A further use of RF therapy is in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence. Results are promising for women who suffer from this condition, but more research is needed.


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  • Mezzana, P., Garibay, I., & Fusco, I. (2022). Vaginal Bipolar Radiofrequency Treatment of Mild SUI: A Pilot Retrospective Study. Medicina, 58(2), 181.
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About the Author:

Dr. Rae Osborn has a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington. She was a tenured Associate Professor of Biology at Northwestern State University where she taught many courses for Pre-nursing and Pre-medical students. She has written extensively on medical conditions and healthy lifestyle topics, including nutrition. She is from South Africa but lived and taught in the United States for 18 years.