The last few months have seen multiple arrests of medical providers in the field of aesthetics, in most cases for violation of regulations. In New Mexico, a medical spa was shut down after inspectors identified “practices … that could potentially spread blood borne infections”. At least a few people who had procedures at this spa may have been infected with HIV as a result. Another arrest in Texas involved a medical assistant who was injecting without a license, without direct supervision, and with injectable products illegally imported from other countries. Multiple arrests in Florida in the last 6 months have stemmed from unlicensed and unsupervised providers performing services such as botox, dermal filler, IV’s, and hormone injections that are not within their scope of practice and not performed under medical supervision.
There are a number of ways you can evaluate a potential aesthetic provider. It starts in the waiting room of course, as you look at the appearance of the facility, the staff and the potential service provider, but there are other things you can do help you make a sound decision.
Here are my top 5 tips:
- Do some “homework”– Review the information provided by the practice on their website. Who are the providers, and what are their credentials? How long have they been performing the services, and how much time do they devote to their aesthetic practice? A provider who injects once a week for example, and spends the rest of their time involved in non-aesthetic work, is not likely to deliver the same level of service as one who devotes themselves to aesthetics full time. You may elect to go to a novice injector, but if so you should at least know that up front to factor it into your decision.
- Check out their Reviews- Are there just a handful of reviews, or hundreds or thousands of reviews? A 5-star rating based on 5 reviews doesn’t tell me much. An occasional negative review is going to happen no matter how expert a practice is, but the preponderance of opinion should of course be very positive. Hundreds of overall positive reviews is good evidence that it is likely a seasoned, high quality practice.
- Know some basic regulations. In New Hampshire as in many states, an RN can inject botox and dermal filler or deliver an IV, but cannot “formulate the plan of care”. In other words, they cannot decide the treatment to be delivered and then do so without a Physician or Nurse Practitioner having been involved first. Contact with the medical supervisor can occur that day, even if via Skype or similar, or in the recent past in a consultation regarding the procedures. Having a medical director “listed on the website” does not meet regulatory requirements. The director must also be readily available in case of complication or need for urgent evaluation.
- Ask to see before and after photos of the provider’s results. Aesthetics is an art, and the skill of the artist will be more likely to determine the outcome of your procedure than the product in the syringe. This is not an unreasonable or unusual request, and you should be shown their own results rather than stock images from the manufacturer. If you are unsure whether an image on a particular practice’s website is a stock image, go to images.google.com. There you can do a reverse image search- in other words you upload the image through the search bar and Google will find where that image occurs in cyberspace. Typical stock images will pull up thousands of hits with this query since so many doctor’s offices use these on their websites as before and after examples.
- “Just say No” to Groupon– Groupon is simply not the place to be hunting for “a deal” on medical grade services. If you knew how their fees and pricing are structured you would understand why. Would you normally look for a doctor or surgeon on Groupon? Every week at Renew MediSpa we see new clients who have had a negative experience with these deals. In many cases it is just that they saw “no difference whatsoever” after their procedure, but in some it is unwanted side effects such as poorly placed dermal filler, which we then have to dissolve for them. So much for “a great deal”.
This is an exciting time in the field of Non-surgical Aesthetic Medicine. New technologies and devices are coming out on a regular basis, making it possible to achieve results that previously would have required a surgeon’s knife. It is important as a consumer that you stay well informed, and find a provider who will help guide your decisions with your best interests in mind, and with safety as a number one priority.