Emerging And Continuing Trends In 2009 And Beyond The appeal of both aesthetic surgery and cosmetic medicine continues to spread, as plastic surgeons further tailor treatments to meet the distinctive needs of an expanding and varying populace. Disciplines such as Aesthetic Medicine have seen dramatic growth over the last decade and are predicted to increase significantly in the future.

While all the discussed trends are universal and so prevalent in the Middle East, they are adapted to reflect the different regions and countries. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) male surgery is a trend that has only emerged in recent years, the figures are outstanding; surging from 12 per cent to 17 per cent since 2005.

The most sought after male surgery in the UAE remains liposuction and this is a trend that is mirrored worldwide. Men are more conscious now and opting for an aesthetic procedure is no longer looked down upon. Even nationals are changing their thoughts on procedures; nearly half of the men who opted for surgery last year were UAE locals.

Non-surgical procedures and cosmetic fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane are becoming more appealing as products evolve and new companies enter the market with alternative offerings. Botox continues to be the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment but we may see other forms of Botulinum Toxin Type A or similar products begin to enter pre-market clinical trials throughout the course of the year.

We of course cannot ignore the current global financial crisis, which will also have its impact on plastic surgery, with patients looking for a bargain on cosmetic procedures. This will undoubtedly lead to an increase in cosmetic medicine and cosmetic surgical procedures carried out by untrained or poorly trained practitioners.

This is not something that I see as a continuing trend however; as the world is becoming better educated about healthcare the certification of plastic surgeons, and accreditation of surgical facilities will play an even more important role in helping patients to choose the right plastic surgeon, which in turn will result in eliminating unqualified practitioners.

Following on from this we will also see cosmetic surgery ?vacations? becoming less popular as educated consumers begin to understand the safety and risk issues related with travelling for surgery as well as the importance of good follow-up care.

As health issues such as obesity and, particularly in the Middle East, diabetes are addressed weight loss and body contouring procedures will see an increase in 2009.

Experimental techniques for non-invasive fat removal (Smartlipo laser liposuction) as an alternative or adjunct to liposuction (lipoplasty) surgery continue to undergo clinical trials and I think we will begin to see a shift towards these types of procedures.

In turn, as the popularity of non-surgical and minimally invasive procedures grows, surgeons and manufacturers will develop new techniques and products that advance the science, produce even better results, and lessen recovery time.

Beyond 2009, I see the main emerging trends as further research into Fat stem cells applications in many areas of Medicine and tissue engineering and improvements in Anti-aging drugs meaning a reduction in the need for rejuvenation procedures. Of course, we will always treat trauma and accidents, but less congenital diseases in the future, as intra-uterine examination and treatments become more popular.

Since 2004, The Patients Advantage is fast becoming the largest matchmaker of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world and is recognized as a leading information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery – matching over 9,000 people with plastic surgeons.

By pauline