Plastic surgery practitioners are touting name brand devices and products. But do these heavily marketed brands live up to their hype?
What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to the tools used in cosmetic surgery, it seems the brand itself has become more important than ever. More and more healthcare providers are offering branded tools and services – specifically cosmetic surgery offices that purchase laser-assisted liposuction machines with zippy names, like SmartLipo, Vaser, Zerona and AccuSculpt. The idea behind the popular purchases is to make the surgery offices stand out to prospective customers already familiar with these brands.
The manufacturers of these machines often provide extensive marketing resources – plus incentives– to the doctors who agree to use their products. The result is that, as in many other industries, some machines have become more popular and widely sought than ones that may be safer and easier to use.
Still, some experts are skeptical of the branding wave. Dr. Robert Singer, past president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the Aesthetic Society Education and Research Foundation, noted that there is no scientific data to support many of the claims made manufacturers that laser liposuction is any more effective than other liposuction technologies already in use.
Despite the lack of data, more and more patients may be looking to brand names for laser liposuction. Although the American Society of Plastic Surgery recently reported that liposuction surgeries are down 19 percent since the beginning of the economic recession in 2008, office-based cosmetic procedures have increased by 13 percent. And so, in time, the popularity of brand name treatments and the convenience of in-office procedures may drive more people to get liposuction, and offset the downward trend.
To this, Dr. Singer, who helped establish the Emerging Trends Hot Topics Task Force to examine developing trends in the field of plastic surgery more closely, noted that anyone can purchase one of the devices. To minimizse the risk of complications, patients should only seek treatment from a board certified plastic surgeon.