Medispa Tips: Knowing you are in the right place

Jay Calvert, MD

Article by
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

A Medi-Spa, also known as a Medical Spa or Medspa, is a medical practice focused on minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, such as Botox injections, laser treatments, and injectable fillers. The people performing procedures in a Medi-Spa typically operate under the supervision of a licensed practitioner, such as a medical doctor. In general, a Medi-Spa differs from a "spa" by its affiliation with a medical director who has the overall responsibility for the care and safety of the patients.

I recommend you consider the following things when choosing a Medi-Spa:

MEDICAL DIRECTOR: Ask if the facility is operating under the license of a medical director. Once you know a medical director is involved, make sure he or she has the appropriate credentials, such as a 4-year medical degree. Remember, the medical director is ultimately the person responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the patients under care in the Medi-Spa facility.

STATE LICENSING: Physicians operating as medical directors will be licensed by the state they are practicing in. Check with the state board of medicine to see if the medical director is licensed in the state where you are planning your procedure.

TRAINING: Verify the credentials and ongoing training of the person performing your procedure. A licensed practitioner should be able to show continued commitment to learning the proper and most up-to-date techniques through training certificates or coursework.

ASK FOR REFERRALS: Talk to your primary care doctor, plastic surgeon, family and friends, or patients you know who have had good Medi-Spa experiences. The best referrals come from trusted sources.

CHECK BUSINESS QUALITY: Find out how long the Medi-Spa has been in business and how long the practitioners have been practicing the procedures in that facility. Facilities that have been in business for some time will likely be around for your continued care and treatment.

CHECK EQUIPMENT QUALITY: If there is medical equipment involved in your procedure, check to ensure it has been inspected and is maintained properly. Make sure you are comfortable with the state of the machine being used to treat you. This is especially true for some older laser technology.

INTERNET RESOURCES: The Internet can be a good source to discover information about the procedures you are considering. Once you have the information you need about the procedure, ask your primary care doctor or plastic surgeon to see if they can refer you to a qualified Medi-Spa center in your area.

TREATMENT CHOICES: The trained practitioners at a quality Medi-Spa will be able to evaluate you and make proper recommendations through a consultation. Ask about consultations when booking your appointment to make sure your Medi Spa can evaluate your condition to make sure you are receiving the proper procedure.

MALPRACTICE COVERAGE: Verify malpractice insurance coverage. It is important to know if the Medi-Spa has made a commitment to patients by carrying some type of malpractice insurance.

MALPRACTICE HISTORY: Malpractice suits can be checked through a number of avenues, but may require that you make a trip to the county courthouse. You can check the malpractice status of any medical doctor serving as the medical director. In most states, this information is available through the Internet.

PRACTITIONER EXPERIENCE: Choose a practitioner who has experience performing the procedure you wish to have. Some practitioners may have more experience using lasers or injectables than others. Knowing the experience level will help you to get the result you desire.

CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION: It is useful to know if the people performing the procedures attend local and national meetings to keep up on the latest technology and techniques. A commitment to on-going education is a sign that the Medi-Spa has qualified, well-informed practitioners to perform the procedures.

ADVERTISING: Advertising has become quite common for Medi-Spas. The market is competitive and advertising is a way to spread the word. However, a large amount of advertising does not necessarily mean anything. The information given through advertising is often limited and can usually not be relied upon to make a solid choice about a Medi-Spa. You must still look at all of the items listed above and make your own judgment.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a disastrous beauty procedure, share your story below to prevent someone else from having the same experience.