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Home » Media

Dermatologists: Unrivaled pioneers


March 22, 2016, Rolling Meadows, Ill. – A first-of-its-kind scientific study reveals dermatologists are the premier innovators in 14 of 18 categories of non-invasive and minimally invasive cosmetic medical procedures.

The study – Who are the pioneers? A critical analysis of innovation and expertise in cutaneous non-invasive and minimally invasive cosmetic and surgical procedures – appears in the March issue of Dermatologic Surgery, the official journal of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

“This objective study provides powerful new evidence demonstrating the unmatched contributions dermatologists have made in pioneering and mastering non-invasive and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures,” said ASDS President Naomi Lawrence, M.D. “The data reinforce why the public trusts dermatologists above all others for cosmetic medical guidance.”

As the number of cosmetic medical procedures increases each year, this unbiased analysis of the medical literature will help consumers decide which specialist is their best choice for these procedures, said ASDS member and study lead author Omar A. Ibrahimi, M.D., Ph.D., who undertook the assignment as an ASDS Board-directed research project.

Ibrahimi said that aggressive marketing has been done by other specialties in an attempt to position themselves as leaders, and he believes this new research can counteract such misconceptions.

“The numerous options available to the lay person seeking non-invasive or minimally invasive cosmetic treatments can create significant confusion as to which physician specialist might be the optimal provider of a certain procedure,” said Ibrahimi, who serves as director of the Connecticut Skin Institute in Stamford, Conn.

The study’s data show that dermatologists have performed the overwhelming majority of innovation and pioneering research for non-invasive and minimally invasive cosmetic medical and surgical procedures. 

Study highlights  

Two scoring systems were used in the study, generating a citations score and a weighted score. Among the notable results:

  • A citation score of 705.33 for dermatology in the use of botulinum toxin to treat skin aging, more than double the next closest specialty.
  • A citation score of 1,425 for dermatology in laser hair removal, with researchers the next highest score at 198.
  • A citation score of 1,316.33 for dermatology in chemical peels, dwarfing the next closest specialty – plastic surgery – which had a score of 190.
  • A citation score of 60 for dermatology in cryolipolysis followed by researchers at 9.33.

In addition, dermatology ranked highest for:

  • Calcium hydroxylapatite fillers for rhytides
  • Collagen fillers for rhytides
  • High-intensity focused ultrasound
  • Hyaluronic acid fillers for rhytides
  • Laser rejuvenation
  • Laser resurfacing
  • Laser tattoo removal
  • Microfocused ultrasound
  • Poly-l lactic acid fillers for rhytides
  • Tumescent liposuction

Cosmetic medical procedures: Who are the pioneers infographicThe other category winners were neurology for botulinum toxin to treat hyperhidrosis (dermatology placed second), plastic surgery for hair transplantation (dermatology placed second), plastic surgery for liposuction (dermatology placed second but placed first for the less invasive tumescent liposuction) and vascular surgery for sclerotherapy (dermatology placed third).

Ibrahimi said detailing the leading role dermatology has played in innovating most of the procedures also demonstrates dermatologists’ ability to provide superior patient care.

“The more you know and understand about something, the better it is you can perform that procedure,” he said. “Because dermatologists have innovated many of these treatments, we’re the ones at the forefront of knowing the best way to optimize outcomes of the procedures.”

Dermatologists keep their skills sharp by performing millions of procedures each year. According to the 2015 ASDS Survey on Dermatologic Procedures, ASDS members performed about 6.7 million cosmetic medical treatments last year – ranging from neuromodulators and soft-tissue fillers to laser, light, and energy-based procedures and body sculpting.

That wealth of experience resonates with the public. The 2015 ASDS consumer survey identified dermatologists as the No. 1 factor influencing consumer decisions to pursue a cosmetic medical procedure.

Ibrahimi said with “an endless buffet” of medical providers looking to perform cosmetic medical procedures, it is important the public understands the distinct qualifications dermatologists possess.

“Making sure you see someone who is highly trained and who is an expert on the procedure that is being performed is the best thing not only to optimize outcomes but also to make sure you have a safe treatment,” Ibrahimi said.  

About the study 

Two scoring systems – a citations score and weighted score – were applied to each procedure. Keywords using the Medical Search Headings Database were used to query in the Thomson Reuters Web of Science Database. The 25 most highly cited studies were sorted and the authors’ specialties were identified. Each study then was scored using two systems: a citations score and a weighted score. The full study is available online at http://journals.lww.com/dermatologicsurgery/Fulltext/2016/03000/Who_are_the_Pioneers__A_Critical_Analysis_of.8.aspx  


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