Med spas are typically owned by people who are not trained in dermatology or plastic surgery. Credentials matter. Learn the differences in education levels among practitioners.
Some plastic surgeons have med spas as part of their practice, which is fine. If the medical spas' plastic surgeon is another state, he can't really be participating in quality control and supervision at the business location.
An esthetician or medical assistant should not be doing BOTOX® or facial dermal fillers. BOTOX® is a fairly easy procedure to learn, but it takes years to master. A chain may be #1 (based on the entire business' sales) but it still may have beginner injectors.
My nurses receive about 3-6 months of education and training directly from me before they are allowed to inject patients with fillers.
Dr. Marla Klein opened her private practice in 2002, and has an excellent reputation. During the recession of 2005-2009 her practice stayed open while many med spas went bankrupt and closed their doors overnight. When many med spas closed, they did it without warning and they took their clients' money with them and vanished.
There has been a 45% increase in the number of med spas in the USA in the last 2 years. We are starting another recession now. Many small med spas will go out of business. Klein Dermatology & Associates has had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau for 20 years.
As a cosmetic patient, you must be careful, check for red flags (Board Actions) at the Oregon Medical Board about the doctor in charge of a med spa before going there. To check on a Nurse Practitioner or Nurse one has to check with the Board of Nursing. There is virtually no regulation of med spas.
We do not encourage anyone to up-sell to our patients with the use of commissions, but most med spas do.
Spas that pay in the form of commissions, the injector's pay is determined directly by their ability to sell a patient more services.
Too often, I am asked to help someone who was treated in a med spa, who had a problem, and the med spa refused to treat the complication.
If you are thinking of going to a med spa for filler, ask these questions first:
1. Do you have hyaluronidase in the office? What is its expiration date? How many bottles?
Correct answers: Yes, always. Not expired. At least 8 bottles.
2. Did you know there have been cases of blindness caused by filler?
If they say no, or act surprised, then they don't know how to inject safely! They should be able to quickly list the danger zones for filler injection. Micro-cannulas have given med spa injectors a false sense of security. Cannulas CAN cause blood vessel occlusion, just like needles can. Cannulas do not make the procedure safer. Cannulas have much more swelling and tenderness after the procedure than needles do.
3. What parts of the face are the highest risk areas for causing blindness or stroke?
The answer is forehead, glabella (between brows) the nose.
4. Can you recognize and treat an infection? Med spas have a lot of trouble with this one. Yes, as a dermatology office, we can recognize (and know how to prevent) infections from cosmetic procedures.
Asking why you should go to a cosmetic dermatology office instead of a boutique med spa for a filler injection is similar to asking, "What is the difference between the cook at McDonald's vs. Chef Gordon Ramsay?" Think about it. Restaurants and construction workers are more regulated than med spa owners and their workers, yet permanent personal harm can result from poorly done cosmetic medical treatments.
A master in their field begins by getting years of formal education in that field and then spending several more years learning from the experts. What is "common sense" to an expert is not common sense to an untrained person.
Owners of med spas always claim they have "intensive training" in aesthetic medicine. This means that they probably went to a week-long "boot camp" in aesthetic medicine, don't be fooled. Hours of training is not the same as years of training.
Having been trained in anesthesia, pediatrics, geriatrics, cardiology, or emergency medicine means they have zero training in dermatology. Their "talent" does not replace formal training.