The term “medical spa,” “med-spa,” or “medi-spa” describes a business that offers massages and facials along with medical services such as laser hair removal, facial rejuvenation, Botox and dermal filler injections, and chemical peels.
Growth in the spa industry has been a boon to the manufacturers and distributors of devices and drugs used for cosmetic procedures; physicians who order, use, and dispense these products; and spa owners who have joined with health care providers to profit from these services. Virginia Business Magazine reports there are more than 1,250 medical spas in the U.S. today, up 50 percent from a year ago, and about 24 of them are located in Virginia.
The FDA has reported two deaths related to the misuse of topical anesthetics in connection with laser hair removal procedures, and it recently issued a Public Health Advisory statement for these medications. Laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) procedures can cause permanent scarring, skin discoloration, burns, and the unintentional removal of cancerous lesions before they can be diagnosed and treated.
My Take: Do you homework if you plan to visit a medical spa. Ask the physician about the risks of each procedure and make sure the spa has a plan for emergency situations and that you can get to a hospital emergency room quickly if needed.