The Integration of Aesthetic Medicine into Primary Care

The steadily rising number of cosmetic procedures performed in the United States, which grew by nearly a quarter million from 2017 to 2018, continues to rise as advancements in technology, increased availability and accessibility of treatment, as well as a social media-driven de-stigmatization of plastic surgery influence consumer demands. Expenditure on cosmetic plastic surgery exceeded $16.5 billion last year, and current estimates predict the global industry will surge to a valuation of $40 billion by 2023.

In light of dramatically increasing patient spending on and demand of cosmetic procedures – of which there were 17.7 million in 2018 – the industry of aesthetic medicine may soon require a helping hand. Researchers point to primary care as the potential partner to plastic surgeons and cosmetic specialists, with a growing trend of physicians adopting Botox injections and chemical peel treatments into their practice.

Supplementing Primary Care with Cosmetic Treatments

Noticing the rise in expenditure and prevalence, primary care physicians have already begun incorporating cosmetic procedures into their service offerings. For example, internal medicine and pediatric specialists Dr. Maryam Mortezaiefard and Dr. Mina Mortezai leveraged their board certifications and prior training to integrate aesthetic medicine into their practice. Incorporating both comprehensive medical services, such as blood pressure and cholesterol management, and cosmetic procedures, including laser hair removal, photofacials, and Restylane treatments, Dr. Mortezaiefard and Dr. Mortezai’s ABM Medical functions as both a medical clinic and cosmetic service.

Motivated by the growing patient demand, primary care practices are steadily adapting to a unconventional model of aesthetic medicine. ”Traditionally physicians have stayed in practices that are within their specialties,” Dr. Mortezaiefard and Dr. Mortezai told Forbes in an interview, “With the increased popularity of non-invasive cosmetic dermatology procedures such as injecting neuromodulators such as Botox and dermal hyaluronic fillers, more and more medical providers in other specialties than dermatology and plastic surgery became interested in providing these services for their patients.”

Providing both primary care and aesthetic procedures can benefit both patients and physicians, explain Dr. Mortezaeifard and Dr. Mortezai, “Many of our patients who initially come to see us for either medical or aesthetic care ultimately end up getting both as they build a trusting relationship with us.”

Financial pressure from overhead for primary care practices, stagnating income for internal medicine practitioners, and the growing burden of age-related disease is another factor contributing to the rise of cross-specialty practices. In addition to boosting the patient database, adding aesthetic solutions to a medical practice can generate new revenue and alleviate financial pressure as evidenced by the sheer popularity of such procedures. A growing list of FDA-approved indications for Botox and other common treatments – which are now frequently covered by insurance policies – have made them more accessible to both general practitioners and their patients.

Integration in Practice 

As part of their practice at ABM Medical, Dr. Mortezaeifard and Mortezai regularly perform a wide-ranging array of services, including: annual physicals, diabetes testing, vaccinations, hypertension treatment, osteopathic medicine, and women’s health. In addition to a comprehensive selection of cosmetic procedures, they most frequently provide Botox treatment for a variety of conditions – trabismus, blepharospasm, chronic migraines, cervical dystonia, as well as severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis. Injectors familiar with other indications of botulinum toxin type A also utilize the products in the treatment of severe muscle spasms or contractions, such as in the case of TMJ.

Multi-disciplinary practices such as ABM Medical are growing in prevalence, responding in part to shifting consumer behavior and patient demands. The integration of aesthetic medicine into primary care not only enhances convenience and accessibility, but it also gives practitioners the opportunity to provide long-term treatment and holistic patient care. As these cross-specialty practices continue to expand, clinicians looking to stay ahead of the competitive curve may consider integrating popular cosmetic procedures into their practice offering.

How to Integrate Aesthetic Medicine into Your Practice

As part of the 27th Annual World Congress, the expertly curated Aesthetics Symposium will take place in Las Vegas from December 13-14, 2019. Combining aesthetic medicine education from prestigious South Beach Symposium faculty, Mark S. Nestor, MD, PhD, and Michael H. Gold, MD, A4M’s leading anti-aging experts will focus on clinical best practices, novel products and technology, as well as hands-on treatment demonstrations. Secure access to the new 2-day educational event by registering for the 27th Annual World Congress today and discover how to seamlessly integrate aesthetic medicine into your practice.