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In the early seventies, French endocrinologist Dr J J Legrand, created momentum for French doctors engaged in the aesthetic side of medicine alongside mainstream healthcare. The movement grew into Belgium, Spain and Italy, and to the US and the world into what is today the practice and science of aesthetic medicine.
Initially encompassing simple skin care and facial treatment, aesthetic medicine borrowed extensively from mainstream medicine. Fat grafts in orthopedics found new life as compatible long-term fillers to flesh out wrinkles in ageing faces. Chemical peels scrub old cells freeing up fresh ones to glow and grow. Botulinum, a R&D outcome, took off as a popular injection for removing wrinkles and creases.
Today, effective aesthetic medicine, as a minimally invasive practice, is based on doctors having a safe and skilled pair of hands leveraging reliable leading edge medical technology in new lasers, chemical peels, fillers and injectables of natural or bio-ingredients. It spans surface treatments by chemical peels and lasers to minimally invasive procedures such as thread-lifts, botulinum type A injections, derma fillers, fat grafts and hair transplants.
Difference with Conventional Medicine
Conventional medicine, with hundreds or thousands of years' history, has the primary aim of healing or caring for the ill. Aesthetic Medicine has a history of only decades. The average person who seeks aesthetic medical treatment is a healthy consumer, whose sole aim is to improve their appearance. Today, demand for elective aesthetic procedures from healthy consumers seeking to improve their appearances or slow down the visible signs of ageing, is large.. Although the average consumer is unlikely to know the difference, aesthetic medicine is minimally invasive, quite unlike invasive cosmetic surgery which includes surgery for face-lifts, breasts implants and high-volume liposuction .
Aesthetic Medicine doctors are treating healthy people. The undeniable dilemma for aesthetic doctors, is that medical aesthetic procedures, no matter how minimally invasive, still carry some risks. As a result, it is ethically more challenging when practising aesthetic medicine as compared to conventional medicine.
More Than Skin Deep – A Mental Element
Aesthetic Medicine bridges the gap between beauty and health. It is important because beauty is not just skin deep. Beauty includes the need to feel good under one's own skin, in having a psycho-physical balance.
Aesthetic Considerations Concern Conventional Medicine
Aesthetic consideration in today's world is becoming a frequent consideration for many doctors in conventional medicine, even when the doctor is not directly dedicated just to treat healthy consumer-patients look better. Today, doctors across multiple conventional medical disciplines need an appreciation for aesthetic consideration more than ever before as today's patients do care about better aesthetics even when they are looking to be cured or healed of their affliction through conventional medicine.
Spontaneous Growth of Aesthetic Medicine
Aesthetic Medicine or AM came into being on its own spontaneously over the past decades and was not through the conventional medical academia. AM, being minimally invasive, and delivered in a clinic premises, was, is and can be learned by peer-to-peer, via courses sponsored by suppliers, or industry-training organizations. Aesthetic Medicine is practised by doctors ranging from family doctors to many disciplines in conventional medicine. It is largely self-regulated, with doctors deciding for themselves as to their own level of competence and ability. It remains the aim of AM doctors in the aesthetic medicine community to practise responsibly and ethically to the highest of standards so that the collective performance and urging of this community may over time receive some form of formal recognition by conventional medicine.
For AM Doctors, it's an Ongoing Personal Process
Until aesthetic medicine becomes a conferred medical specialty by conventional medicine, by conventional academia and institutions, or until it becomes a core curriculum in conventional medical schools, aspiring practitioners or AM doctors seeking higher competence of skills have to acquire or continuously work on their competence, on-the-job, or apprenticed or mentored by dermatologists and plastic surgeons, or by experienced aesthetic medicine peers and seniors or by courses with AAAM. For the foreseeable future, our community generates its own supply of aesthetic doctors from within the medical community.
However, just by taking courses or passing board assessment tests at AAAM or at any other courses or by peer learning, is not and cannot be the "be all and end all". Having met our Board standards or passing AAAM courses cannot and do not in any way imply that AAAM is constantly monitoring or taking recurring assessment of the practice competence or standards of its past graduates.
All AAAM courses, certificates or board certifications are not medical license to practice medicine. All doctors must seek to comply on an ongoing basis with all applicable licenses, competence requirements and approvals in their own jurisdictions.
As for AAAM memberships, doctors all over the world who maintain memberships enjoy privileges when attending our courses and medical congresses and receive our publications.