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Who’s Treating You at your Local MedSpa?

In the past 6 months, I have been contacted no less than ten times by nurses and aestheticians for injector training. Some of these folks I have known or interacted with in the past through our local hospitals and operating rooms, others I have had no idea who they were. This represents a disturbing trend that has developed over the past few years, that of the medspa business concept, which has been largely made possible by the number of injectable cosmetic treatments which have become available in the past five years. Since treatments such as Botox, injectable fillers, and laser hair treatment, to name the most prominent, are fairly ‘easy’ to do (compared to real surgery), many medical and allied health personnel as well as day spas and hair salons want to jump on the bandwagon of what they see as easy money, is fun to do, and is part of their beauty business.

While there is much to be said as a plastic surgeon about this concept, our comments are usually viewed as self-serving, territorial, and economically defensive. Personally, I don’t care what others do, inside or outside of medicine. I have enough to worry about in my practice and I prefer to focus on honing my own skills and being the best that I can be. The cosmetic marketplace is not like traditional medicine…it is really let the buyer beware. There are few regulatory agencies or guidelines for a burgeoning field that is not behest to federal and private insurance rules of reimbursement. In this market, only the attorneys and the threat of malpractice and liability issues keep it from spinning completely out of control.

What I find most troubling, however, is the complete disregard or lack of concern about patient safety…..all in the pursuit of cash revenues. Here in Indianapolis, I know of aestheticians who regularly perform Botox in their own home, cosmetologists doing injectable fillers in hair salons, nurse assistants doing lipodissolve injections, and ENT surgeons doing breast augmentations in their own surgery centers. Providers that have little to no training, not to mention being well outside what their licenses and certificates would permit, treating patients essentially as study subjects. (when you are training on someone without supervision by a qualified provider….you are a study subject) And I wouldn’t call visiting someone for a few hours in their office or watching a DVD by a manufacturer bona fide training! I am not sure exactly what these patients think… it the allure of a more convenient or cheaper service…..or is it the appeal of a well-crafted advertisement or website?

Equally disturbing….and the genesis of this rant is……stop calling me to provide you with some training! I got my training to do what I do the old-fashioned way….I earned it through the proper channels. And what makes you think I would have any interest in doing it anyway? So you can get a free ride and benefit from my hard-earned experience?…..And no, you can’t pay me for this training either…..a few dollars is not equal compensation for years of effort and time.

Dr Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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