I Just returned from a national conference in Las Vegas called the Aesthetic Show. I wanted to attend this conference because it is different from many other academic conferences. The technology is new, cutting edge and in some cases, not yet FDA approved. It’s kind of the “PIE IN THE SKY” conference of what is to come for our field of aesthetic medicine.
For those who need a little explanation of the term FDA approved...basically, when a product, technology or procedure is FDA approved, that means it has had medical studies to determine a correct and accurate dose, treatment protocol and best practice. When something is not FDA approved, it does not mean it cannot be done, it just means there are no studies to determine an optimal protocol for treatment.
For those who do a lot of work in our field with combined treatment modalities, trying new things together that never were thought to work, creating a new treatment or product from older technology or newer products, I salute them for being the explorers. I am glad there are people like them to test the waters before the rest of us set out to use that technology. I could not be that person but I am glad someone else is!
I’ve been cautious in life but that doesn’t mean I won’t try something new. Quite the contrary. I try new things all the time. New does not equal better. I want to see that the something new has more to offer than what is existing in order to incorporate it into my practice. Experience means something. (For example, we know and have a lot more experience with the effects of aspirin than we do with the Covid vaccine.) I want to know that there are supportive studies comparing it to the current norm. I want to see that those comparative studies show that this new item is actually better or does something additional to what we already have in place.
For example, many clinics now do microneedling. This is a common procedure now but a decade ago, no one knew what it was. I should know, I was one of those early pioneers of microneedling in our area. When I started this years ago, I could not find any other practitioners to collaborate with. Now, everyone does it. But, it is not all equal. There has been a wave of RF radio frequency devices now on the market to supposedly enhance the results of what microneedling already does. Well, guess what? There are no studies to show that RF microneedling is better than the type of microneedling we do in my office (which is different from others). Prior to Covid happening last year, I was in the process of designing just such a study! Obviously, that idea got delayed because of the events of the last year but I hope to restart that project at some point in the future.
I am optimistic that there will continue to be new techniques and devices to improve our anti- aging battles into the future. I love to be in the know, but I want to know that the treatments I will use on myself and my own patients are well established and provide a new or added benefit to what we are already doing.
Valerie Schneider MD