Last year, when we addressed the concept of innovation in Modern Aesthetics®, we noted how the word itself might be overused and yet still be undervalued. In our industry, we are led to believe that so much is innovative. Of course, there is always buzz to give us something new to talk about. But it is important that we—as aesthetic physicians—also consider a “30,000-foot” view of aesthetics as a field, particularly how we innovate to keep ourselves relevant and allow room for expansion.

If we are to take a step back and consider a more global view of our field, we could learn from other countries that have taken the lead on innovating. Compared to the innovations occurring elsewhere in the world, the US can at times seem medieval in its approach to aesthetics. We are still largely chasing wrinkles and folds on aging women, and it has resulted in a narrow myopic market. In Asia, however, the goal is to make people of all ages ‘more beautiful.' This has resulted in the Korean market for cosmetic surgery being 35 percent larger per capita than the US market.

Ideally, a more philosophical approach to understanding aesthetics, and where innovation can occur within it, could be beneficial. However, the reality is that many of us in the physician community are overwhelmed managing our practices, keeping up with patient demands and changing regulations. There are so many areas that require our attention: the development of protocols for devices; Pharma regulations and relationships; integrating cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals into our aesthetic regimens; designing our business paradigms. We need to do all those things while staying grounded in science and ethics.

As we address the meaning of innovation in a broader context, let us use this opportunity to open a dialogue among our core cosmetic specialties. With a rapidly evolving market and regulatory bodies increasingly dictating conditions of treatment, perhaps it is time that the ‘aesthetic four core' work together to define who we are, what we do, and how we innovate as aesthetic physicians. If our message and promise isn't clear to us, how can it be to the powers that be, much the less the patients we hope to treat?

We are in the midst of disruptive period in US healthcare. Now is the time to act, to innovate, and to define who we are before others do it for us. Moreover, we must train the next generation to continue our ‘mission of excellence.'

We have a unique opportunity before us; Let's not let it pass. Let's not let others decide our future and fate… Otherwise we may one day look back and wonder what could have been.