The IMCAS aesthetic conference, hosted in Paris last week, was attended by thousands of medical aesthetic professionals and industry specialists from around the world. Similar to previous years, our resident facial aesthetic and cosmeceutical expert Sana Siddiqui Syed presented at the Industry Tribune, sharing insights about key market disruptors within the facial aesthetics market. While at the conference, several emerging hot topics were discussed, including regenerative medicine, body shaping, genital treatments, and lasers and energy-based devices. During a very interesting presentation by Dr. Steven Dayan on “The Aesthetic Doctor in 2075,” he predicted that the future of aesthetics will see a rise in non-surgical procedures, an expansion to target new indications, an increase in personalized medicine as well as the emergence of psychoaesthetic medicine.

The focus of the aesthetics market has shifted over the past few years from facial rejuvenation to full-body treatments. As such, one of the trending topics at the conference this year was genital aesthetics. Similar to skin on the face and the body, genitals are also prone to tissue aging, which can result in dryness or loss of function. The field of genital aesthetics, particularly cosmetic gynecology, has been restricted by a lack of information and awareness, as well as stigma against the necessity for such treatments. Today, however, patients and physicians are more accepting of and open to talking about these procedures. The rise of minimally invasive procedures has fueled the development and discussion of several non-surgical options for genital aesthetics.

Women can experience drastic changes as a result of child birth, menopause, aging or even weight fluctuations, which can alter the physiological appearance and functionality of their genitals. This can not only lead to genitourinary conditions, but often affects their confidence and sexual function. In a survey conducted by OB/GYNs, more than 48% of women expressed concern about vaginal laxity—decreased sensitivity and tightness of the vagina. Lasers have gained widespread acceptance as an effective method for skin tightening and restoration in the field of plastic surgery and are now being examined in the treatment of vaginal laxity. Physicians at the conference discussed promising results with the use of RF and CO2 lasers to improve the tone of the vaginal wall. The use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in aesthetic medicine has also risen over the past few years, and its use in vulvovaginal rejuvenation is now being explored. Vulvovaginal rejuvenation combines vaginoplasty—tightening of the vaginal wall­—with labiaplasty—reshaping of the labia—to recontour the vagina and improve sexual function. PRPs stimulate stem cell growth, increasing vascularization and thereby increasing vaginal sensitivity. They are often used in combination with hyaluronic acid (HA) and lasers to rejuvenate the vagina. Vaginal atrophy—inflammation and dryness of the vagina due to the thinning of the tissues—is another common indication experienced by many women. One treatment option is the use of dermal fillers containing HA, which can help restore tone by strengthening the intravaginal muscles, improve sensitivity, and also decrease mucosal dryness.

Similar to cosmetic gynecology, male genital aesthetics is also a growing field. Penile size is a major concern for many men. Penile augmentation involves augmentation of the glans, circumference and length. Penile extenders and prosthesis are the first line treatment options available but HA injections can offer a minimally invasive option to help increase circumferential volume of the penis. Similarly, regenerative treatments with activated PRPs in conjunction with lipofilling can help increase penile size in the flaccid state. The emergence of scrotox—Botox injections on the scrotum—which allows the testicles to drop lower making them look bigger and smoother, is also driving the male genital aesthetics market.

Although the field of genital aesthetics is emerging and shows great promise, there is a lack of sufficient data to support its efficacy. Like all other treatments, these procedures come with the risk of serious side effects. Therefore, companies and physicians are now investing in large studies to test the efficacy and long-term effectiveness of many of these treatment options. In the next few years, we expect to see significant growth in both interest and clinical evidence in this market, which will support procedure growth and drive the overall expansion of the aesthetics market.

Follow Benazir Premji @BenazirDRG for more insights into the Aesthetics markets.

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