Ask All The Right Questions Before A Medspa Treatment

With their coupons and convenient locations, it can be tempting to seek out cosmetic injections, chemical peels and laser treatments at a local spa. However, these are medical procedures and shouldn't be considered casually.

"Patients must do their homework when choosing where and with whom to have any medical procedure," according to Felmont F. Eaves, MD, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

To help potential patients make smart decisions about medically-based treatments performed in a non-medical setting, the ASAPS has provided the following list of questions, concerns and advice.

Is the medspa located within a physician's office?
While problems are infrequent, physician's offices generally have medical personnel available if a problem develops.

Is the medspa located outside of a doctor's office in, for example, a mall or salon?
If so, ask the name of the physician responsible for oversight and when they are available for consultation or questions before having any treatment. Also ask about the training of any other medical personnel.

Does your medspa have a physician who can help in determining your goals, provide a treatment plan and direct your care?

What are the credentials of the physician supervising the treatment in the medspa?
Injectables, lasers and peels should administered under the supervision of a board-certified plastic surgeon [or dermatologist]. Doctors in other specialties, designating themselves as "cosmetic medicine physicians" may lack the comprehensive training that is needed. Just as you wouldn't see an allergist if you were having a baby, it's in your best interest to see a physician who specializes in plastic surgery and dermatologic care when seeking cosmetic medical procedures.

Who is performing the injection?
Depending on the state, injections and peels may be performed by a nurse, physician's assistant or nurse practitioner. However, never allow a non-medical, unlicensed person to perform a medical procedure.

How effective are facial injectables and what is the right product for me?

Is the product FDA approved? Is it approved for this use?
If the provider is reluctant or does not directly answer this question, don't proceed with the treatment. Don't be afraid to ask to see the manufacturer's label for any injectable product.

Can a medication, filler, or a device be used for a purpose different from which the FDA originally approved it?
In the US, FDA regulations do not prohibit physicians from prescribing approved medications, fillers and devices for other than their original intended indications. Good medical practice and the best interests of the patient require that physicians use legally available drugs, biologics and devices according to their best knowledge and judgment. If physicians use a product for an indication not in the approved labeling, they have the responsibility to be well informed about the product, to base its use on firm scientific rationale and on sound medical evidence, to fully inform the patient that it is being used "off-label" and to maintain records of the product's use and effects.

Will injections last and prevent the need for a facelift in the future?
In most cases injectables are temporary solutions and will not give the long-lasting outcome of a surgical procedure.

Have I been fully informed of the possible benefits and side effects of the proposed treatment and have I been apprised of possible options?

Have all of my questions been answered and am I fully aware of the risk and rewards of the procedure?
All medical procedures, whether they are injections or surgery, carry some risk. If you are not fully informed of all risks and requirements for after care, find another provider.

What do I expect from my medical procedure?
Discuss your expectations with your provider. If you are promised unqualified, 100% success, it is probably best not to proceed.

Am I taking the procedure seriously?
Deep peels, fillers and Botox are not the same as getting facials or other superficial beauty regimens.

Am I basing my decision on the best treatment option and not on price?
Be sure you have based your decision on the credentials and experience of the practitioner, not on price.

Have I seen before and after pictures?
They can be very helpful in determining with your provider the right treatment for you.

What if I'm unhappy with the result?
A qualified practitioner can provide you with appropriate revisional or after-care. Make sure you ask this question before the injection or treatment.

Have you been told who holds financial responsibility for any revisions or if complications arise?

Remember, when it comes to getting the safest care with the best possible results, there's no such thing as a stupid question or asking too many questions.

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