AMERICAN ACADEMY OF AESTHETIC MEDICINE
WHAT DOES AESTHETIC MEDICINE MEAN?
Dr. Michel Delune, Dermatologist
President of the American Academy of Aesthetic medicine

THE PAST

Aesthetic Medicine is not that new.

In the early seventies, a French doctor, endocrinologist, understood several of his colleagues were more interested by the aesthetic side of their practice, without to neglect their basic medicine…… An aesthetic part can be found in most of medical specialties including general medicine. We can find plenty of examples of Aesthetic Medicine in any daily medical practice: some patients will consult their family practitioner to help them to manage their weight problems; a dermatologist will exam daily teenagers and young adults for acne problems. The female patients and even male patients are very concerned by their skin aspect. They want to treat the damage generated by years of sun overexposure, sometimes worsened by heavy smoking habits or just due to intrinsic aging. Aesthetic Medicine can concern more specific problems as well such as congenital malformations, portwine stains, strabism, etc… It is quite impossible to write down a full list of Aesthetic Medicine indications. It should be endless. I just wanted to show the multiple applications of Aesthetic Medicine.

Aesthetic Medicine is a branch of the medical field which becomes more and more important in each of its specialties.

On the same way, a few medical and paramedical professions such as registered nurses, physician’s assistants, beauticians, provide an efficacious help to the doctors practicing Aesthetic Medicine. Thanks to these professions, a true complementary value is offered to the therapeutic possibilities for our patients.

Aesthetic Medicine is therefore a medical discipline because of its multidisciplinary aspect: every problem in Aesthetic Medicine is resolved by comparing notes and collaborating with the various medical and paramedical specialists. For example, therapeutic problems of the lower limbs can be solved, according to the case, by calling in for consultation various specialists who are interested in the same problem: vascular diseases specialists and surgeons – angiologists, phlebologists, plastic surgeons, dermatologists, dieticians, endocrinologists, physiotherapists, gynecologists, bioclimatologists, orthopedists, physical education instructors, and rehabilitation therapists. The therapeutic solution to acne problem can also be found through the collaboration of the dermatologist, the dietician, the endocrinologist, the gynecologist, the psychologist, the cosmetologist and the beautician; aesthetics, therefore, represents only a small part of the problems for the single specialist, whether he is a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon, whereas the multidisciplinary collaboration of specialists within the sphere of Aesthetic Medicine is the answer to the totality of aesthetic problems.

Aesthetic Medicine exalts the association between health and beauty because beauty means to feel good under one’s own skin and to have a perfect psychophysical balance.

We all know the importance of the psychosomatic disturbances that occur in an individual due to aesthetic disorders that are badly accepted by the patient, and we cannot ignore the importance of aesthetics, from a psycho-sociological point of view, when today’s civilization no longer allows one to ignore the ever in-creasing interest accorded to the physical aspect of an individual.

More and more patients are in search of aesthetic doctors because they wish to improve their appearances, either to regain their self-confidence or even because of professional necessity.

Due to the above mentioned reasons, one by one, the National Society of Aesthetic Medicine in France, Belgium, Italy and Spain and, last but not least, the “Union Internationale de Médecine Esthétique” were created. It is therefore possible to bring together in a community program all physicians and paramedical experts from all over the world, of different specialties involved in the problems of Aesthetic Medicine, a new medical discipline, answering the needs of the community.

THE PRESENT

Associations such as AAAM (American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine) help providing practitioners with adequate teaching and training. However, such teaching and training, even if it is necessary for the proper practice of aesthetic medicine, does not belong to any individual specialty. Rather, it is multidisciplinary. For example, whereas a plastic surgeon will treat skin laxity, a dermatologist will treat skin texture, complementing each other. The patient needs both treatments for a successful result and faster healing process, both of which fall within the scope of Aesthetic Medicine. Membership to the AAAM is also open to GPs and other specialties because many of these treatments are narrow in scope, and the experience of the practitioner is the main driver in treatment quality. Accordingly, I know many GPs who are better at Botox injections than some specialists, only because of their experience with such non-invasive techniques. Also, in several European countries including France, Italy and Spain, the basic medical school teaching program includes some Aesthetic Medicine practices such as Mesotherapy. Historically, Aesthetic Medicine has been practiced across all disciplines since Dr. J.J. Legrand, a French endocrinologist, coined the term ‘Aesthetic Medicine’ in the early seventies and a consortium of doctors founded the UIME in 1975, which now counts over 4000 members from all across 25 national societies. Other scientific fields and organizations are multidisciplinary as well, such as ASLMS (American Society for Laser in Medicine and Surgery) and other societies focused on specific investigations and treatments (allergology, phlebology, etc...).

UIME understood that teaching and training are essential today. As chairman of the continuous medical educational program of UIME, I see too many doctors today who are proclaiming themselves as Aesthetic Doctors without having followed any specific formation. They are in fact self made specialists in Aesthetic medicine with no background or specific credentials. Some of them are even setting up societies of Aesthetic Medicine with, as unique goal, to generate money for themselves without any consideration for the health and benefit for the patient.

  • We have very high profile faculty members. Each of them being very well known in their own specialty.
  • We have dermatologists to teach dermatology, aesthetic surgeons to teach aesthetic surgery and aesthetic doctors recognized by their national society of aesthetic medicine to teach aesthetic medicine. We do not have, as speaker, doctors from other specialties proclaiming themselves “specialist in aesthetic medicine” although they have no background nor credentials in that field.
  • We have a worldwide faculty giving a wide information on aesthetic medicine, with speakers from all over the world. That means we are giving international courses in aesthetic medicine with international concepts in that field.
  • Our courses are the only ones recognized in Northern, Central and Southern America, and in Asia-Pacific by UIME (International Association of Aesthetic Medicine). UIME is made today of 27 national societies of aesthetic medicine around the world. Other US and Asian courses are not recognized by any society of aesthetic medicine.
  • Dr. Delune, President of AAAM, is a dermatologist practicing aesthetic medicine for more than 25 years. He is one of the four co-founders of UIME with more than 5000 members today.

AAAM has been invited by the EADV (European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology) to have a one-day pre-congress sister society satellite symposium in London, during the last EADV annual congress held in London, October 12-16, 2005. AAAM is the only society of Aesthetic Medicine in the world to have been invited to set up such a prestigious event.

THE FUTURE

The general population is becoming more and more concerned by their physical aspect and want to postpone the most they can skin and body aging symptoms and damages. Half a century ago, most of the female patients were thinking their aesthetic life will be over after the menopause. This conception is totally obsolete today. Women stay active longer with very busy social life. That’s why they are taking better care of themselves and they all want to look and stay young for a much longer time. So many ladies in the fifties and sixties are still looking very attractive. For some of these, it can be genetic but usually it is thanks to the development of the modern technology with so many devices and products available today on the market. Many more are under development. I am convinced the demand from the patient for a better looking and for prevention and treatment of aging will be increasing during the following decades thanks to a better information received from the qualified practitioners and to the endless development of the technology.

Finally, we can see an increasing amount of aesthetic doctors having their own medical spa linked with their practice in Aesthetic Medicine. That will allow the patient to receive complementary treatments delivered by doctors’ assistants such as registered nurses, physician's assistants and beauticians.

CONCLUSION

Aesthetic medicine went throughout 35 years of evolution to reach today a full success and to be considered as unavoidable if we want to try to stay young forever!

Since I am one of the founders of the concept and of UIME, I have been through all the steps to bring Aesthetic medicine at its today level.

I am convinced of the necessity and benefits of Aesthetic Medicine for my colleagues and first of all for our patients health and wellbeing.

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