ASDS procedure data available in latest survey

October 16, 2019

What were the treatment trends of 2018 according to ASDS research? Joely Kaufman, M.D., chair of the ASDS survey work group, explains.

In 2018, dermatologic surgeons performed more than 12.5 million procedures. At the top of the list were skin cancer treatments, energy-based procedures, injectable neuromodulators, injectable soft tissue fillers and body sculpting, according to the latest survey results from the American Society for Dermatology Surgery (ASDS).

That’s an uptick from nearly 12 million procedures in 2017.

“The ASDS procedure data has been a reliable source of information regarding what types of skin issues patients are coming to their dermatologists for. It reminds us that dermatologists are at the forefront of treating skin diseases such as cancer and the other results of UV radiation,” Chair of the ASDS survey work group Joely Kaufman, M.D., tells Dermatology Times.

In its seventh year, the 2018 survey reflects responses from 596 ASDS member physicians. Results suggest dermatologic surgeons performed 3,580,910 skin cancer treatments, most (3,352,905) of which were for nonmelanoma skin cancers. While the numbers of skin cancer procedures performed rose slightly from 2016 to 2018, melanoma treatment among ASDS members increased 56% in the last seven years and 19% compared with 2017. Nonmelanoma treatments have increased 33% in the last seven years.

The increase in skin cancers is alarming and reiterates the need to remind patients of proper sun protection and skin care, according to Dr. Kaufman, who is director of Skin Associates of South Florida and the Skin Research Institute in Coral Gables, Fla.

“In the aesthetic arena, the data shows that dermatologists are performing more and more cosmetic procedures, with the greatest increase in the body contouring arena - four-times growth, including procedures like Coolsculpting [Allergan] and radiofrequency treatments,” Dr. Kaufman says. “Laser and energy device technologies have also become more sophisticated and are now in widespread use among dermatologists. The survey showed a 74% increase in laser and energy device procedures over the last seven years.”

There were also big increases over the last seven years in injectable soft-tissue filler treatments (78%) and procedures in the laser-light-energy-based category (74%). In 2018, dermatologic surgeons performed 3,491,586 laser-light-energy based procedures; 2,124,921 injectable procedures with neuromodulators; 1,627,628 injectable soft tissue filler treatments.

ASDS members are using energy-based devices predominantly to treat wrinkles and sun damage, with facial redness, excess hair, melasma, scars, acne, tattoos and birthmarks that follow as reasons dermatologic surgeons reach for their lasers, light treatments and other energy-based devices.

Rounding out the most popular procedures among ASDS members are body sculpting, chemical peels, “other rejuvenation,” and vein treatments/sclerotherapy.

Of the 623,557 body sculpting procedures that ASDS members performed in 2018, more than 287,000 were with cryolipolysis. Radiofrequency devices followed at nearly 163,000 procedures performed. Deoxycholic acid demand has increased notably in recent years with 65,735 procedures performed in 2018.

ASDS physicians performed 135,084 sclerotherapy treatments in 2018, which is slightly higher than in recent years but notably less than in 2013 when the survey indicated ASDS doctors performed 223,764 such procedures.

In the “other rejuvenation” category, the survey results suggest microneedling was the most commonly performed rejuvenation option compared to platelet rich plasma (PRP), hair rejuvenation, female rejuvenation and the thread lift. Microneedling increased 45% from 2017 to 2018, with more than 262,000 treatments performed last year.