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Direct-to-Consumer Surgery: Non-invasive liposuction for the masses

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Not so very long ago, reimbursement was king in the world of medical devices. But the overnight success of injectible anti-wrinkle drug Botox signalled a change in the market. Now device companies developing liposuction alternatives hope to repeat that success, perhaps most importantly, in building their businesses outside of traditional reimbursement circles with a largely consumer-driven or self-pay market with new devices for cosmetic surgery applications.

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Aesthetics: Noninvasive Fat Removal Enters the Scene

New energy-based fat removal technology is emerging as the next frontier in noninvasive energy-based aesthetics, but questions remain as to its mechanism of action in treating fat or cellulite. There is no question that patient demand is strong, and there are a number of products and techniques under development.

LipoSonix: Addition by Subtraction

Raising money in medical devices is rarely easy; in fact, just getting past the front door can sometimes be a challenge. But not for ultrasound company, LipoSonix. The reason: LipoSonix is working on an energy-based alternative to liposuction, whose concept is easy to understand and its appeal immediate to both physicians and patients. Replacing what is now an often messy, painful procedure, LipoSonix offers a quick, painless procedure that allows patients to get up, walk out of the physician's office, and head back to work. LipoSonix still has challenges ahead of it. Having spent much of its time thus far on safety and mechanism of action issues, the company must now prove not only that the technology can achieve the kind of body-sculpting effect it hopes for, but that the effect is long-lasting. Moreover, adoption issues loom large. LipoSonix will have to convince both physicians and patients that their alternative justifies abandoning what is now a widely-accepted procedure. But if they can, LipoSonix' promise could be huge: a better approach to cosmetic surgery in a world where you can never be too rich or too thin.

Inamed and Medicis Change the Face of the Aesthetic Market

The $2.8 billion merger of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. a specialty pharma focusing on dermatology with sales of $303 million, and Inamed Corp., a cosmetic surgery company with sales of $384 million creates the largest plure-play aesthetics company focusing on physician markets, and a base for future consolidation in a fragmented and rapidly growing market.

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