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MedSpas – Assess Carefully Before Entering!

The popularity of Botox, injectable fillers, and other non-surgical treatments has spawned an entire new cosmetic industry, known as the medspa or medical spa. Combining convenience of location, medical treatments, and a spa approach rolled into one facility, large numbers of these facilities have sprung up nearly everywhere. Medspas are the fastest growing segment of the spa or cosmetic world. Like Starbucks, there appears to be one on nearly every corner. While they may look visually appearing on the outside, what lurks inside can be downright scary.

Because they are outside of the traditional medical world, there are no regulations or oversight as to how they are run. They are outside of the jurisdiction of the state’s medical licensing board and a state’s cosmetology board does not really cover it either. (what does hair and nails have to do with sticking you with needles anyway?) As a result, how they run and, more importantly, who is doing the treatments is completely up to the owner.

The birth of the medspa industry, while obviously highly driven by consumer demand for cosmetic treatments, is also highly influenced by the drug, device, and laser manufacturers. They are, for the most part, entirely indiscriminate as to how they sell to. What is most important is the sale, not whether who they are selling to is even qualified to perform the procedure.

As a potential patient, here are the pertinent questions to ask of any spa or medspa that is offering medical treatments before entering the door:

Who is the owner? (physician or private entrepreneur?)

Who is the Medical Director of the facility and what are his/her
qualifications? (If they are not a board-certified plastic surgeon, ENT/facial
plastic surgeon, or a dermatologist………run!) Ask to see credentials.

Is the Medical Director ever on site or supervise any treatments? (if not…be cautious)

Who is actually performing injection or laser treatments? (only a licensed RN with
proper training is really qualified……everyone else (LPN, medical/nurse assistant,
aesthetician) is really doing it beyond their skill and qualifications level) Ask to see
their credentials.

If there are complications, who are they going to send you to for evaluation?
(this is where having a qualified Medical Director is really important)

Ideally, a medical spa is part of a plastic surgeon’s office or affiliated with a plastic surgeon that is close by. This is the ideal union of medical and spa services.

Dr Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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