By Michael S. Kluska, DO, FAACS, FACOS, President-Elect, American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery
Remaining competitive is an increasing challenge for cosmetic surgeons in today’s world, in which minimally and noninvasive treatments are overtaking surgical procedures and doctors from multiple specialties are entering the field of cosmetics. Cosmetic surgeons must adapt by staying on top of the latest technologies and learning how to effectively market their practices.
The Rise of Less-Invasive Treatment Options
While surgical procedures have long been the mainstay of cosmetic surgery, it is in the noninvasive arena where growth in demand will be strongest. There was a 10% decrease in cosmetic surgical procedures between 2000 and 2015, while minimally invasive cosmetic procedures grew by 158% in that time period.1 The trend promises to continue in the next few years, with some predicting that minimally and noninvasive options will skyrocket 600% by 2020. Clearly, the cosmetic surgeon who doesn’t adapt is significantly limiting his or her practice.
There are a number of such modalities savvy cosmetic surgeons must become expert in, including:
- Vaginal rejuvenation – The tightening and rejuvenation of the vagina using laser resurfacing, radiofrequency, and other modalities is the most significant trend in cosmetic surgery today.
- Fillers – From hyaluronic acid to botulinum toxin to PMMAs (polymethyl-methacrylate microbeads in collagen gel), there are a wide variety of short- and long-lasting fillers on the market. A high level of skill is necessary as anatomical considerations can make them challenging to place correctly.
- Injectables – In addition to fillers, there are other injectable options, such as one that improves the appearance of submental fat.
- Combination procedures – Combining surgical and nonsurgical procedures – such as a variety of liposculpting techniques – can improve results, healing, and patient satisfaction.
- Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy – This method addresses hormone changes – whether from menopause or hypothyroidism – that can affect appearance.
Cosmetic procedures have become the Wild West of medicine, and treatments are no longer confined to specific specialties. Getting into this arena requires only a medical or dental degree of some sort, and there are many providers dabbling in the industry: dentists offer Botox, dermatologists do vaginal tightening laser resurfacing. This means marketing is key, including the following (you may benefit from hiring staff who specialize in some of these areas):
- Building a “brand” for your practice – There are many avenues to building a brand, from becoming a personality (consider Dr. Miami, popular on Snapchat and Instagram) to creating a reputation as the best in your region in a specific procedure.
- Using social media – There is a growing range of social media options that can help you spread the word about your talents, including Facebook (posts and ads), Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
- Employing search engine optimization – Your outreach will drown in a sea of Internet information unless you employ methods that help your message rise to the surface.
- Driving positive online reviews – Bad reviews can really hurt a practice, so excellent patient care – from the front office to the recovery process – is key.
- Developing a patient loyalty program – Patients are not only pleased by such programs, but this may lead to more “buzz,” as they may be more likely to pass the word to friends and acquaintances.
- Creating personal and professional development programs – Happy, more informed, and engaged employees means happier patients and, ultimately, increased revenue.
- Identifying the right patient – Learn to identify patients who are more likely to be loyal versus those who may be more problematic.
- Hosting events – Patient seminars and events at venues such as health fairs and hotels can raise awareness and drive business, whether focused on one procedure or many.
- Offering patient financing options – Because cosmetic surgery is typically not covered by insurance, patients appreciate having flexible ways to pay.
- Emphasize quality – Above all, consumers need to know they are being treated by a qualified provider. Cosmetic surgeons should ensure they have the appropriate credentials to safely perform procedures and deliver high-quality results. Your primary messaging during outreach should focus on your extensive education, training, and experience. The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) provides opportunities for specialists to receive additional education, training, and experience in cosmetic surgery, including a post-residency fellowship program with board-eligible certification in cosmetic surgery by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS). This ultimately enhances the physician’s credentials and makes the provider more credible.
Cutting-edge cosmetic surgeons will share their pearls of wisdom on these topics and more at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, February 9-11 in San Diego. This year’s theme is “The Competitive Edge of Cosmetic Surgery,” and the meeting features three program tracks: Non-invasive, Surgical, and Practice Management. Among the many presenters are extensively published and renowned lecturer Sebastian Cotofana, MD, and Michael Salzhauer, MD, aka “Dr. Miami,” who Snapchats cosmetic surgeries in real time to demystify the procedures. For more information, visit the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery.
About the Author
Board certified in Cosmetic Surgery, Plastic/Reconstructive Surgery and General Surgery, Michael S. Kluska, DO, FAACS, FACOS, pursued an undergraduate degree in Art at Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, Pa. He attended medical school at Des Moines University in Des Moines, Iowa, and then completed his internship and general surgery residency at the Cleveland Clinic Health System South Pointe Hospital. Further, he pursued a fellowship in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Ohio University, Cleveland Clinic Health System and South Pointe Hospital.
Kluska is a fellow in the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (FAACS) and the American College of Osteopathic Surgery (FACOS), a member of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association, the West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Association. He has served as an elite member of the Board of Trustees of the AACS and has co-chaired the Annual Scientific Meeting of the AACS.
Kluska, now serving as the president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) for 2017, currently practices at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, where he serves as the Medical Director for The Greenbrier Center for Cosmetic Surgery & MedSpa, The Greenbrier Ambulatory Surgicenter, and the Rejuvenation Center in Beckley, WVa. He is highly sought after for his expert advice and opinion about cosmetic surgery by radio and television and many cosmetic surgical publications including: Plastic Surgery Practice where he has served on the editorial advisory board, Cosmetic Surgery Times, and New You.
He is a routine presenter and instructor in many AACS and American Osteopathic Board of Surgery sponsored events and has been voted multiple times as one of the “Best Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeons” by Plastic Surgery Practice. In addition to his medical profession, Kluska is a devoted husband and proud father of three girls and one boy, all of whom he spends countless hours coaching in their respective sports, including tennis and baseball.
1. 2015 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report, American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Accessed December 8, 2016 at https://d2wirczt3b6wjm.cloudfront.net/News/Statistics/2015/cosmetic-procedure-trends-2015.pdf.
[Source: American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery]