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    Feminine Rejuvenation Market Growth Surges Via Energy-Based Devices


    Dissatisfaction with the appearance of the external genitalia can also lead to low self-esteem, lack of confidence and reduced sexual satisfaction. Labial remodeling is commonly seen as a cosmetic procedure, nonetheless there can also be medical reasons for treatment. Until recently the only option was surgical labiaplasty, which can be painful and invasive.

    According to Shelena Lalji, M.D., a board certified OB/GYN in Houston, Texas, most women believe these issues are a natural part of aging and feel hopeless about it. “It is such an intimate issue that many women are hesitant to discuss their symptoms with anyone so it is incumbent on physicians to begin these conversations with their patients,” she shared. “We need to realize that these are serious concerns for many of our patients and we now have effective ways to help them. Additionally, if male physicians are uncomfortable discussing these issues, this may be an easy role for mid-level female providers to assist patients with these esteem building and life-changing treatments. Too many women are suffering in silence, but we can now truly impact their sexual well-being.”

    As all women eventually enter menopause, the potential opportunity for this cash-pay sector is huge. In the U.S. alone there are nearly 46 million women between the ages of 50 and 80, along with more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors. Due to population size and the number of presenting symptoms post-menopausal women offer the largest treatment group. Furthermore, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey shows that 52.4% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 have had children, so the pool of post-partum women with vaginal laxity offers great potential as well.

    Generally, menopause and its associated symptoms, along with vaginal laxity are treated by primary care physicians. Other indications such as SUI may also be treated by urogynecologists. In many cases aesthetic issues of the external genitalia are also being addressed by cosmetic surgeons and other aesthetic physicians.

    According to Medical Insight’s January 2017 Annual Aesthetic Practice Survey of U.S. aesthetic physicians, approximately 21% of practices responding to the survey currently offer feminine rejuvenation treatments. Of those practices offering treatment, the majority are treating 1-5 patients per week, and charge around $800-$1,500 per treatment.

    For OB/GYN physicians that also provide aesthetic services, energy-based technologies for feminine rejuvenation are a natural addition to their practices. These physicians seem more comfortable with adding capital equipment. However, they differ from aesthetic practitioners in that they generally want more clinical data to understand the true effects of the technologies and devices indicated specifically for their use. This contrasts with aesthetic physicians that are generally comfortable with their own clinical practice as many cosmetic procedures are technique driven.

    Energy-based devices for feminine rejuvenation could potentially bridge both the aesthetic and medical provider, thus allowing the market to expand significantly in terms of the provider base. In addition, many patients seeking these treatments are new to physician offices so feminine rejuvenation could act as a gateway procedure bringing in patients across a wide age range, similar to neurotoxins and non-invasive body shaping.

    Due to the needs of these differing specialties, companies are focusing their efforts accordingly. Manufacturers are generally developing systems that can treat all feminine rejuvenation conditions. In 2008 the first non-surgical, energy-based system dedicated to feminine rejuvenation became available in Europe and today there are at least 19 different systems available globally, which utilize a variety of energy sources, including CO2, Er:YAG, radiofrequency (RF) and high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU).

    Ablative CO2 lasers have been utilized for some time to treat the vulva and perineum with the purpose of improving cosmetic concerns, such as additional unwanted skin, dyschromia and skin tags. Various studies have shown that treatment with fractional CO2 lasers helps return the vaginal mucosa to a pre-menopausal state by restoring epidermal thickness and inducing a rich dermal vascular supply. Alma Lasers (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) currently offers FemiLift, an FDA approved CO2 based system for internal resurfacing of the vagina. Other CO2 based technologies being used for feminine rejuvenation include MonaLisa Touch (manufactured by Deka and distributed in the U.S. by Cynosure), the patented GynoLaser applicator from Ilooda (Gyeonggi-do, South Korea), FemTouch from Lumenis (San Jose, Calif.), DivaTight from Quanta System S.p.A. (Samarate, VA, Italy), which is only available outside of the U.S., and CO2RE Intima from Syneron (Irvine, Calif.).



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