Are Medical Spas Safe?

Cosmetic procedures such as laser treatments, wrinkle fillers, and Botox have become more popular than ever, and it’s no surprise that many medical spas have appeared to take advantage of this growing market. However, as a result, many states are grappling with questions about the safety of medical spas and facilities. A recent article in the Boston Globe highlights some of the concerns about these spas that have driven a movement to tighten regulations in Massachusetts.

According to the Globe article, the number of medical spas has grown by 80% over the last 2 years. There are roughly 4,250 in the US, while Massachusetts has about 250. The state has been embroiled in an ongoing debate about the spas’ safety, with legislation to bring in tighter controls stalling in the State House last summer.

Dr. Matthew Avram, the director of the dermatology laser and cosmetic center at Massachusetts General Hospital, fears that many patients may not be aware of their treatment quality when they enter a spa. “A lot of people assume that the person treating them in a white coat is a physician, and they don’t ask,” he told the Globe.

Staff members at medical spas are subject to few regulations, as they are not required to be licensed by the state, so long as a licensed physician owns or is associated with the facility. However, under Massachusetts state law, the doctor is not required to be on-site, which means that staff members often perform cosmetic procedures while there is no physician present.

The possible complications associated with injectable fillers such as Juvederm, Perlane, and Restylane are minor compared to surgical procedures. However, there are still a number of risks, including infection, bruising, swelling, and unwanted outcomes, which can be minimized by a qualified plastic surgeon familiar with the art and science of cosmetic enhancement.

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