Non-clinical settings may expose patients to unnecessary risks
New York, NY (August 19, 2013) – Recent reports of a Houston mother and her two daughters arrested for giving illegal Botox injections without a medical license at a medi-spa, a California obstetrician running a cosmetic surgery practice was charged with maliciously disfiguring 15 patients, and a Mississippi interior decorator facing trial for the deaths of two women who were injected at her house are just a few examples of why The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) is warning consumers to avoid the dangers of unlicensed personnel performing cosmetic procedures in non-clinical settings.
Unfortunately, these events are not uncommon. Many individuals have been arrested for performing illegal injections of Botulinum Toxin Type A and fillers at shopping malls and beauty salons or in their homes and hotel rooms without sufficient training or licenses. This widespread problem has caused concerns among clinical and public health experts. Cosmetic procedures, including tissue filler injections, laser therapies, chemical peels and skin resurfacing, should only be done under the care of properly credentialed and trained medical professionals using only products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“There are some misconceptions among patients about the true nature of non-surgical cosmetic procedures,” said Jack Fisher, MD, president of the Aesthetic Society. “Non-surgical does not mean non-medical. Patients deserve to know who is treating them, what their qualifications are, who the supervising physician is, and where the product is coming from. These are questions that all patients should ask.”
Over the last few years, there has been explosive growth in non-surgical cosmetic procedures, often performed in retail or spa-like settings. Unlike physician offices where clinicians oversee the treatment and maintain medical records, spa-type centers may have limited or no full-time medical staff and may lack the experience or training to handle more than routine beauty services. Patients need assurances that a qualified and trained practitioner will perform their procedure appropriately, under sanitary conditions, and with product where the quality and source is known and FDA approved.
“Physicians can appropriately provide oversight for patient care in a variety of medical settings,” said Michael Edwards, MD, president-elect of the Aesthetic Society. “Our concern is that physician supervision in non-surgical cosmetic procedures may be inadequate or non-existent.”
Often the individuals performing these cosmetic medical treatments lack adequate training to safely perform the procedures, and do not spend the time or have the training to conduct an adequate informed consent consultation. It is important for patients to do their homework when choosing a physician, and while spas and salons are convenient for cosmetic medical treatments, convenience should never outrank safety and expertise when having a medical procedure.
The Society will continue to be a vocal advocate and work collaboratively with other medical societies, allied health professionals, and industry to raise awareness of the dangers of such procedures being performed by unqualified or untrained professionals.