Cultura, a medical spa in Washington, DC, is one of the first centers in the country that focuses on ethnic plastic surgery.

The center was founded 6 years ago by two African-American physicians—Eliot F. Battle Jr, MD, a dermatologist whose expertise is laser treatments, and Monte O. Harris, MD, a board-certified otolaryngologist who specializes in rhinoplasty and other facial plastic surgery.

Two thirds of the center’s patients are nonwhite, many of them black women who are interested in rhinoplasty and laser hair removal, which until recently were largely the province of white women. According to Battle and Harris, many of these patients are also seeking treatments that enhance—not obscure—their racial or ethnic characteristics.

Patients say minority physicians are more sensitive to their aesthetic concerns and have greater skill treating darker skin, which is more prone to scarring and pigment changes than white skin.

Although white women continue to dominate the ranks of aesthetic medicine, the number of black, Hispanic and Asian patients has increased dramatically in the past 5 years, according to statistics released by the ASPS and ASAPS. The growth reflects increased acceptance of such procedures within these groups, greater economic clout,  and larger numbers of minority specialists whom many ethnic patients regard as more attuned to their needs.

[www.mcall.com, June 5, 2007]