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Characteristics and emerging trends in modern aesthetic medicine

Feng, Long-Fei

Section Editor(s): Shi, Qiang

Author Information
doi: 10.1097/CM9.0000000000000679
  • Open

To the Editor: Aesthetic medicine aims to provide assistance to patients seeking aesthetic beauty by aiding the maintenance, modification, and reshaping of their bodily appearance and beauty. Aesthetic medicine includes aesthetic surgery, aesthetic dermatology, aesthetic dentistry, aesthetic traditional Chinese medicine, aesthetic medical technology, aesthetic healthcare technology, aesthetic clinical psychology, medical aesthetic techniques, etc.[1] All branches of aesthetic medicine originate from their parent discipline and share related objectives and aims. Aesthetic surgery originated from plastic, maxillofacial, eye, ear, nose, and throat, and orthopedic surgeries, including microsurgery, etc. Similarly, aesthetic dermatology originated from dermatology and aesthetic dentistry from stomatology.[2]

Addition of new connotation and essential characteristics has enhanced modern aesthetic medicine. Modern aesthetic medicine has five differences as compared to its parent discipline.[1] The target population is different: interventions are not aimed at traditional patients but healthy individuals who perceive themselves as having appearance and bodily defects and experience psychologic requirement for aesthetic improvement, so called aesthetic seekers. Aesthetic seekers and patients have different psychologic states.[2] The disciplinary aims are different: instead of saving patients, aesthetic medicine aims to enhance the appearances of aesthetic seekers using comprehensive techniques such as integration of clinical medicine and body aesthetics. Additionally, all parent disciplines of aesthetic medicine branches are highly functional repair oriented, which means that the patients have the pathologic changes from the medical view, and the basic objectives of any branch of clinical medicine are repair of function and saving patients, instead of morphologic beautification. There is no systematic indication to enhance and reshape human beauty.[3] The professional techniques differ: aesthetic medicine not only employs multiple clinically applied technical skills but also uses medical aesthetic capabilities and diagnostic techniques of aesthetic psychology. All applied techniques have to be practiced within the purview of aesthetic enhancements. Moreover, their effectiveness is evaluated according to body aesthetic standards and their development follows the principles of body aesthetic.[4] Different sociologic connotation: the principles and requirements of medical ethics, medical sociology, medical laws, etc, differ from those of clinical medicine.[5] Differences of social/medical requirements and services: all programs within aesthetic medicine can be considered as non-essential medical needs, whereas all branches of clinical medicine are considered basic medical needs.

With increasing demand for social aesthetics, the field of aesthetic medicine will continue to enrich. Moreover, new aesthetic medicine disciplines may arise with the advent in modern medical science, such as stem cell technology. Application of traditional Chinese medicine in aesthetic medicine will also become popular because of its non-invasive characteristics. The Chinese academician Dai-Ming Fan stated that holistic integrated medicine should encompass the latest theories and the most effective clinical/practical experiences, as well as adjust according to the social, environmental, and psychologic facts to confer superior health and enable better treatment of disease.[3] Therefore, the holistic discipline of modern Chinese aesthetic medicine will develop additional new branches, such as anti-aging healthcare aesthetic, endocrine rejuvenation, aesthetic homeopathy, aesthetic internal medicine, etc,[4] and aesthetic medicine might emerge as the fourth medical discipline after clinical medicine, preventive medicine, and rehabilitation medicine in the near future.[5]

Conflicts of interest



1. China National Committee for Terms in Sciences and Technologies. Medical Aesthetics & Aesthetic Medical Terminology [in Chinese]. 2015; Beijing: Science Press, 2.
2. Peng QX, Feng LF, Wang XY, Ouyang XP. Talks on aesthetic medical discipline [in Chinese]. Chin J Aesthetic Plast Surg 2015; 2:125–127. doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1673-7040.2015.02.021.
3. Fan DM. Exploration on integrated medicine [in Chinese]. Negative 2012; 3:3–12. doi: 10.13276/j.issn.1674-8913.2012.02.003.
4. Gao JH, Yuan JL. Discussion the basic issues of aesthetic medicine discipline again [in Chinese]. Chin J Aesthetic Plast Surg 2018; 29:190–191. doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1673-7040.2018.03.021.
5. Peng QX, Zhang QL, Gao JH, Feng LF. Discussion on modern aesthetic medicine discipline and its classification [in Chinese]. Natl Med J China 2016; 96:3862–3865. doi: 10.3760/cma.j.issn.0376-2491.2016.48.002.
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