Made to Measure

As quickly as body-contouring devices are slimming and trimming clients, the market for them is growing by leaps and bounds. According to the research and consulting firm GlobalData, the body-contouring market, including noninvasive and minimally invasive fat-reduction procedures, is predicted to rise from $671.8 million to $1.1 billion by 2022. The growth is largely propelled by rising client demand, more men seeking cosmetic procedures, and advancements in the availability and quality of nonsurgical procedures. “The global obesity epidemic is significantly increasing the number of people seeking body-contouring procedures,” says Brigitte Babin, analyst for medical devices for GlobalData. “While some patients choose to try noninvasive methods first, the noninvasive or nonsurgical trend is primarily driven by patients who would otherwise not undergo any form of fat reduction or body contouring. For patients with an aversion to unnecessary surgery, fear of surgical complications, or financial restrictions, nonsurgical options overcome all of these factors deterring patients from seeking body-contouring treatments.” If your medical spa is considering adding body-contouring services to your menu, recent statistics and market predictions indicate it is a smart investment. Here, industry professionals share their tips for entering this lucrative market and connecting with loyal clients.


Fab First Impressions

How do you introduce a new device to clients?

“I introduce them to clients through internal marketing and word of mouth. Most of my patients have had liposuction and have hanging skin and are looking for a non-invasive solution.”—Jane Scher, New York City-based certified nurse injector

“We educate clients on what the device can do for them. My clients know me and trust me and are open to new devices with my seal of approval.”—Jessie Cheung, M.D., dermatologist and director, Jessie Cheung MD Dermatology & Laser Center (Willowbrook, IL)

“Patients are constantly asking what new procedures are available to address their areas of concern, so we use treatment time in the office to introduce devices. We also send out email blasts to our patients introducing the device and providing some general information.”—Norman Rowe, M.D., board-certified plastic surgeon, Rowe Plastic Surgery (New York City)

“I introduce a new device to clients through both advertising and media, as well as in the center through signage and education from our staff.”—Jenny Sutter, marketing director, Ideal Image Development Corporation

“We are big believers in educating our team first and testing out new services or devices on them so they are excited and can share the experience with their clientele. Nothing is stronger than firsthand experience, and the staff’s buy in and recommendation is the best promoter for new services. Once the team has been properly trained, they see the results and benefits firsthand so they are genuinely excited to share the new services with clients.”—Rita Rroku, director, Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa (New York City)

“I usually roll out a new device or treatment protocol in waves. Longtime clients of the salon get the information about it way before we even get the treatment into the salon, so they can start booking. We do a lot of educating and talking about how things work with their current program.”—Joanna Vargas, founder, Joanna Vargas Salon (Los Angeles and New York City) and Skincare collection

Key Contouring Companies

The global body-contouring market is highly diversified with the presence of many global and local players. Technavio, a leading global technology research and advisory company, highlighted its picks for the top five vendors in its recent global body-contouring market report. “Most companies focus on providing solutions that reduce the risk, cost, and recovery time associated with the procedures,” says Amber Chourasia, lead analyst at Technavio. “They are adopting different techniques to cut costs and lessen the pain involved in the procedures while manufacturing devices.” Here are the noteworthy companies:

  • Alma Lasers ( designs, develops, and manufactures a wide range of energy-based solutions, including body-contouring devices for the aesthetic and surgical markets.
  • Cynosure ( develops, manufactures, and markets a variety of aesthetic treatment systems for plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and other medical practitioners. Its key body-contouring devices reduce fat through laser lipolysis.
  • Meridian ( established its presence in the global market through noninvasive and minimally invasive body-contouring solutions relying on laser lipolysis.
  • Syneron Candela (, along with its subsidiaries, designs, develops, and markets aesthetic medical products primarily under the brand names Candela, Syneron, and UltraShape. It is known for novel technologies and continuous product development, and some of its key products include UltraShape and VelaShape II and III.
  • Valeant ( develops, manufactures, and distributes an array of medical devices for body-contouring applications in addition to other pharmaceutical and aesthetic devices. The company also specializes in researching lipolysis.

The report also lists other prominent vendors that are expected to impact the market including: AART, Andrew Technologies, Asclepion Laser Technologies, BTL Aesthetics, Chromogenex, Cutera, Erchonia, Fotona, GlobalMed Technologies, HC Beauty, Human Med, ILOODA, InMode, Invasix Aesthetic Solutions, Jull Surg, Lumenis, Mentor Worldwide, Misonix, Sciton, Sientra, VCA Laser, VLCC Health Care, Wells Johnson Company, YOLO Medicals, and Zeltiq Aesthetics. According to the report, the Asia Pacific region is forecasted to be the fastest-growing region in the next four years. Many research-and-development facilities have been set up in the region, especially in China, and focus on developing energy-based devices. The increase in such facilities and manufacturing plants will drive the global body-contouring market in the coming years.

Maintenance Mode

The most popular body-contouring devices are only effective when taken care of properly. Just like a car or other major appliance, there are care schedules to follow to keep equipment in excellent shape. “Yearly annual maintenance is recommended for optimal equipment performance,” says Mihaela Ungur, director of scientific and regulatory affairs at Silhouet-Tone. “Keeping filters clean, using the proper products, wiping down your machines after each use, and making sure handpieces, hoses, and parts that come in contact with clients are kept disinfected and free of residue is crucial.” Skylar Burnworth, business development manager for Fit Bodywrap agrees and says sanitizing equipment is her number-one recommendation. She says, “We also recommend daily, weekly, and monthly inspections of equipment setup to ensure consistent and safe sessions are always being delivered.”

Careful Consultation

For Rowe Plastic Surgery’s Norman Rowe, body-contouring procedures make up 60 percent of his business. Here are the steps he follows to make sure a potential client is matched with the best service:

  1. Obtain a complete medical history and physical exam.
  2. Ask the patient to point out the areas that bother them while standing in front of a mirror.
  3. Follow up with specific questions to understand the client’s goals.
  4. Suggest surgical and nonsurgical options that best meet the client’s desires.
  5. Review the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the possible procedures.

Price is Right

The demand for body-contouring services may be high, but so is the competition, so a smart pricing strategy is essential to ensure these services and your medical spa are successful. Discounting to bring in new clients can be tempting, but it can devalue your services. Though discount sites like Groupon and LivingSocial made a splash, their influence in the medical aesthetics market has diminished. “These machines are very expensive, and we’re trying to keep them away from the discount sites,” says certified nurse injector Jane Scher. “It’s almost like a society, where the doctors won’t offer discounts to really keep it exclusive.” Dermatologist Jessie Cheung says she has avoided the discount sites because loyal clients will pay for expertise. “Price shoppers don’t tend to be loyal customers, and I want clients coming in for my expertise, not for a $100 discount,” she says. Spa owner Joanna Vargas agrees that the skill needed is part of her pricing equation, as is the exclusive nature of the machine. “They are not easy appointments to perform, and for that reason, they are a little pricey but totally worth it,” she says. The region and competition nearby also play a role when pricing services. Ideal Image’s Jenny Sutter recommends keeping up with the market trends and pricing accordingly.

Smart Shopping

What factors did you consider when purchasing a body-contouring device?

“I consider how painful it is, the before-and-after photos of the results, and if it is FDA approved.”—Jane Scher, New York City-based certified nurse injector

“I consider efficacy and the needs of our customer—do they want it, and will it work?”—Jenny Sutter, marketing director, Ideal Image Development Corporation

“The most important factor is efficacy—does the device really do what it promises? Then I consider safety, comfort, efficiency, and cost. Are there pricey consumables involved?”—Jessie Cheung, M.D., dermatologist and director, Jessie Cheung MD Dermatology & Laser Center (Willowbrook, IL)

“I first make sure that the device is F.D.A. approved. I then review the clinical research to see that the device does what it claims safely. I also look at other devices on the market to make sure that I am getting the best option for our patients.”—Norman Rowe, M.D., board-certified plastic surgeon, Rowe Plastic Surgery (New York City)

“It’s all about results. If I think a client will be blown away with a result while being safe, I’m going to want it.”—Joanna Vargas, founder, Joanna Vargas Salon (Los Angeles and New York City) and Skincare collection