Evidence Based Hype – Marketing and Evidence Behind Novel Aesthetic Devices
The demand for non-surgical procedures is rapidly increasing. The ASAPS statistics revealed that 9.5 million non-surgical procedures were performed in 2013 compared to only 1.8 million surgical procedures. This has fuelled development for numerous non-surgical devices with varying technologies to combat ageing and body contouring. A number of these devices have had strong marketing campaigns and media coverage. We explored a number of these devices comparing marketing claims in the media with results in peer reviewed scientific publications.
The press and media feature significantly more articles than the scientific literature on novel non-surgical devices (583 vs 63 articles).
The majority (73.4%) of press articles feature a specific provider or clinic, often promoting provision of services related to the device. Over a third (36%) of the scientific literature also declare some financial interest or conflict of interest declaration by their authors. This highlights some of these devices are driven by marketing either by the manufacturer or provider.
The evidence supporting these devices is of low level consisting of only case series. The results are also variable and there is variation of findings between studies. There is much need for higher level evidence studies in the medical literature exploring novel devices. The present published studies are all case series with short follow-ups.
There is a ‘evidence-marketing gap’ for novel aesthetic procedures and devices. The aim should be to provide more evidence to support the marketing claims of such procedures and reduce this gap.