5 Reasons Why Minimally Invasive Surgery is Transforming the Plastic Surgery Industry

How Are Non Surgical Procedures and Minimally Invasive Surgery Changing the World of Aesthetics?

What do we mean by minimally invasive surgery or noninvasive procedures?


The types of aesthetic procedures that fall into the minimally invasive and noninvasive category can involve some minor forms of surgical incision yet are typically performed without general anesthesia and usually require shorter downtimes. These treatments often contain little more than a hypodermic injection and several are accomplished without any puncturing of the skin. CoolSculpting, Kybella, and the ever-popular Botox are just a few common treatments that can be labeled minimally or entirely noninvasive. While the nonsurgical fat reduction treatments in this category are relatively new to the game, other noninvasive or minimally invasive surgery options such as dermal fillers, injectables, and laser/light therapies have cornered nearly 80% of the aesthetic services market since 2008. And these types of procedures continue to drive the bulk of the growth in the industry.

What is causing the continued rise of these procedures?

Minimally invasive surgery and nonsurgical procedures are both increasingly on the rise within the aesthetic services industry and have been steadily growing for nearly 20 years. This trend is primarily caused by innovations in treatment technology, the adoption of newer surgical techniques, and increased patient demand for shorter recovery times, lower costs, and generally less intensive enhancement opportunities. Also, as more patients enter the aesthetic industry through modern medical spa treatments, the desire for these minimally invasive surgery options is consequently amplified.

Part of the initial interest that patients show for these medical spa treatments can be traced back to a growing trend toward preventative aesthetics vs reactive or reparative based procedures. This trend is common throughout the medical world as society becomes more attuned to treating maladies before they even surface. Just as is the case in the aesthetics services industry, technological improvements and a continuously developing understanding of the human body has pushed these types of trends forward.

Newer technologies offering less intensive and less costly treatments increases overall consumer awareness of the industry, leading to higher demand for non surgical and noninvasive alternatives to traditional procedures. This creates a type of self-perpetuating cycle in which innovative device manufacturers escalate consumer demand and this demand is subsequently met with attempts at accelerated industry innovation. The main result is a steady growth in all aesthetic enhancement procedures occurring throughout the industry with minimally invasive surgery and nonsurgical options at the helm. The overall effects on the industry are as follows:

1. Solid Projections of Growth in Aesthetic Services Industry for Next 7 Years


According to a recent market analysis report by Transparency Market Research (TMR), the aesthetic services industry is expected to see a CAGR of 7.7% from now until 2024. That correlates to a growth in market size from $14.4 bn in 2015 to an estimated $28.1 bn by the end of TMR’s prediction cycle. Rapid rises in geriatric populations, growing demand from male patients, and general increases in consumer awareness are all minor considerations in TMR’s report. As a whole, however, this market forecast is primarily based on the uptick in minimally invasive and noninvasive aesthetic enhancement options within the industry.

What’s interesting is that the other less substantial growth factors can usually be seen as falling under the umbrella of minimally invasive surgery and noninvasive procedures. That is, these factors are causally related and each feeds into the other. And this has increasingly shown to be the case for nearly two decades now.

The projected steady growth within the aesthetic services industry is reassuring news for all involved, and will surely spark interest in device and treatment manufacturers to continue to invest heavily in newer, sleeker enhancement options. You can expect to see more and more money being placed into the research and development of noninvasive treatments and minimally invasive surgical procedures. As this development becomes more streamlined, the sometimes stifling FDA regulations will hopefully ease-up and start to fall in line with the trend. This will in turn lead to a wider reaching "potential-patient-audience” and further kindle the flames of the expanding market.

2. The Stigma Surrounding Plastic Surgery is Slowly Vanishing

Christie Brinkley as the new face of Ultherapy 

Christie Brinkley as the new face of Ultherapy 

The long established social stigma against plastic surgery, particularly within the North American market, has acted as a slight hurdle to the industry’s growth throughout the years. This stigma is slowly dissolving for a number of reasons and its removal will provide a new influx and wealth of interested potential patients, talented surgeons and specialists, and eager manufacturers/treatment developers. One of the driving forces behind this dissolve is the rise of minimally invasive and noninvasive aesthetic enhancement opportunities. But why exactly is that the case?  

For one thing, these less intensive procedures are typically nonpermanent or at least less permanent than their more invasive surgical counterparts. Within reason, the perceived permanence of a plastic surgery procedure appears to have a direct impact on its public acceptance. This seems logical, as a nonpermanent cosmetic alteration or enhancement can be seen as analogous to receiving a haircut or even to the results from a diet. Nonpermanent life choices are inherently less consequential and therefore more easily tolerated, accepted, ignored, or even shrugged off by peers and onlookers.

This is why receiving MedSpa treatments like Botox and CoolSculpting is becoming akin to getting your nails done or having your hair cut. These procedures are easy, quick, and the results are not as impactful as traditional surgeries. While the outcomes of nonsurgical enhancements can certainly be life-changing, they don’t have to be. On the other hand, a rhinoplasty or breast augmentation will ultimately change someone's life, with or without the input of the patient who receives them.

Another factor that ties into this impermanence of these procedures is the subtlety of their results. Most noninvasive or nonsurgical treatments will have far less drastic or noticeable outcomes than traditional surgical options. This subtlety allows these procedures to sort of “sneak by” the public radar and makes them feel like fairly casual undertakings.

It’s also due to this subtlety and impermanence that celebrities are now beginning to endorse MedSpa procedures. The "MedSpa gateway drug", aka Botox, has just recently started to become socially acceptable in the realm of Hollywood, and now more similar procedures are following suit. The fat reduction wunderkind CoolSculpting is just one of these noninvasive treatments edging its way into the spotlight by leveraging star power. The company behind the fat freezing tech saw tremendous success utilizing actress Debra Messing as the face and voice of their growing brand. In similar fashion, Merz is launching an endorsement campaign with model/actress Christie Brinkley for their Ultherapy and Xeomin products.

The ability for celebrities to open up about cosmetic enhancements and even sign ambassador contracts with manufacturers is directly tied to the rise of minimally invasive surgery and noninvasive procedures. These stars are able to feel comfortable acknowledging and admitting to receiving aesthetic services primarily because the impermanence and subtlety of the procedures makes them so nonchalant. This newfound openness is leading to a severe reduction in the general public’s stigma against plastic surgery as a whole and the trickle down effect to everyday Americans is huge. It’s not far fetched to consider plastic surgery stigma to soon be a thing of the past.

3. Cycles of Improved Technology Leading to Increases in Awareness and Demand

CoolSculpting Treatment Device 

CoolSculpting Treatment Device 

We touched on this point earlier but it’s worth considering further. Without delving too deep into supply-side vs demand-side economic theories, it’s important to attempt to understand how much supply of new treatments is creating a patient demand and vise versa. As is the case in nearly all markets, new innovations in products fosters a consumer demand for similar products which leads to more development within the same manufacturing vein. This cycle can grow the market exponentially as newer tech attracts previously uninterested consumers and the demand increases even further.

In the case of the aesthetic services industry, manufacturers began recognizing a demand for less intensive enhancement options and proceeded to provide new tech and products to meet these requests. While Botox was one of the first treatments to truly see success in capitalizing on this growing consumer interest, patients now have hundreds of similar choices that fit into this paradigm. And now that patients have had a taste of the rising potential of minimally invasive and noninvasive procedures, the overall demand for newer and better options continues to expand.

In the coming years we can expect to see more dollars being spent in the research and development of MedSpa-type procedures, particularly those that focus on fat reduction and facial rejuvenation. The influx on these new products will likely create even more opportunities for patients to experience enhancements with lower financial burdens, quicker recovery times, decreased social stigma, and improved results. Newer less intensive products will continue to attract consumers who had previously avoided aesthetic services due to these concerns, creating exciting opportunities for market growth.

4. Growth Within the Industry is Increasingly Concentrated in Manufacturers


As the industry becomes more product-driven larger manufacturers will continue to control much of the growth. This has created a moderate yet intensifying concern amongst aesthetic services professionals that plastic surgeons will slowly and steadily be pushed out. While this is unlikely to be the case any time soon, the strengthening divide between surgical and nonsurgical treatments could create a sort of schism within the industry that leaves surgeons unable to capitalize on the market growth as a whole.

There will always be a need for plastic surgeons and the skill sets that they maintain, however as more patients opt for less invasive procedures over traditional surgeries, surgical expertise becomes increasingly less valuable. The industry capital that surgeons retain will likely dwindle and potentially disappear altogether if innovations in nonsurgical treatments continue to allow for the same results as their surgical counterparts. And if the manufacturers keep responding to the rising consumer demand for noninvasive options, it won’t be too long until their product and device developments are able to exactly replicate or even improve the outcomes traditionally seen by “going under the knife”.

Another interesting development in this ongoing rise of the manufacturers is their increased interest in marketing their products directly to consumers. Patients now eagerly go to a MedSpa or a plastic surgery center with the specific intentions of “getting Botox” or “getting CoolSculpting” rather than entering with an open and uninfluenced mind for body contouring and facial rejuvenation. This direct-to-consumer product marketing approach that many treatment device manufactures have been undertaking has been happening more and more over the last 20 years, and will continue to increase in intensity. This can be seen as allocating the MedSpa technicians and plastic surgeons to a somewhat demoted position of the “middle man”; Providing specific on-demand treatments to the patients with a diminished ability to cross-sell, upsell, or even consult via their expertise.

5. Industry Competitiveness Increases as Less Invasive Treatments Are Marked By Lower Costs and Less Need for Expertise


The final reason that the plastic surgery industry is being transformed by minimally invasive and noninvasive treatments is the lower costs and lessened amount of expertise needed to administer them. As is the case with any industry, the amount of competition in the market is directly correlated to the ease at which a product is provided to the consumer. So as these MedSpa-type procedures become easier to administer at a lower cost, the number of MedSpas, surgery centers, and other one-off treatment clinics will surely increase. This will create heightened industry competition that might actually grow faster than the expanding consumer base.

The ease-of-use and decreased cost of treatment devices and products is also leading to newer and more casual platforms for retailing and distribution of these procedures. There are rising numbers of MedSpas that specialize in one or two small procedures and extra-industry retailers, such as nail salons with Botox licenses, are becoming more common. This trend can be seen as a movement toward hyper-specialization within an industry that depends primarily on brick and mortar consumer interfacing. On the other hand, it also highlights a potential progression in the opposite direction, with more versatile establishments offering larger numbers of treatment options. The former trend could influence the possible growing schism between surgery centers and nonsurgical treatment facilities, while the latter would allow more cohesion within the industry.

In any case, there will almost certainly be a marked increase in competitors throughout this market space. As consumer awareness expands, there should be enough room for most of these competitors to grow together. Still, it’s difficult to say where the limit for market saturation is and if consumer awareness of MedSpa treatments will spillover to other elements of the industry. Interest and demand for traditional plastic surgery isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but eventually it might find itself in trouble as these other nonsurgical treatment facilities command the market.

How to Leverage this Industry Growth and Transformation with an Innovative Marketing Tool

New Look Now Visualizer Widget Example 

New Look Now Visualizer Widget Example 

As the aesthetic services industry becomes more competitive it will be all the more necessary for practices to find innovative marketing tools that can help them stand out amongst the rest. While providing a diverse and comprehensive list of available treatments is a good place to start, there are even simpler and more effective ways to start converting more patients at a lower cost today. The New Look Now treatment simulation visualizer is one cosmetic enhancement marketing tool that is both easy to understand and implement, and an incredibly powerful means to educate, engage, and ultimately convert new and returning patients.

Our visualizer works by providing realistic renderings of treatment outcomes on the actual photographs of a prospective patient. This creates an engagement opportunity for the patient to learn how a specific treatment could look on their actual body, which in turn acts as a type of carrot that dramatically increases the likelihood of them scheduling an appointment at your practice. The patient sees how they could look and they are subsequently far more easily convinced to commit to the procedure.

We offer a variety of implementation methods for your practice to utilize our treatment visualizer tool, including an API, mobile-friendly widget, and conversion portals through our site. This versatility of use is carried over to the number of virtual results for specific treatment options that we provide, allowing your practice to hyper-target audiences for individual procedures with our innovative tech. This makes our visualizer the perfect tool to help you capitalize on the growing demand for minimally invasive and noninvasive surgery by offering your prospective patients an engaging way to visually understand how effective these procedures can actually be. Put simply, you can use New Look Now to effectively leverage interest in MedSpa-type treatments, leading to more conversions for less marketing dollars.

Click here or email inquiry@newlooknow.com to schedule a demo with one of our account executives and we’ll walk you through the wide-variety of potential implementations of our treatment visualizer.