A medical spa is any place that performs or offers cosmetic medical services. According to the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, this includes “any service that uses biologic or synthetic material, a chemical application, a mechanical device or a displaced energy form of any kind that is capable of altering or damaging living tissue to achieve an aesthetic result.”
That said, why are medical spas dangerous? Given Nashville’s rapid growth and booming economy that has appeared with the influx of people moving here, more disposable income has been made available, which many are choosing to use to improve their appearance. The Nashville Ledger reports, however, that most experienced surgeons are weary of this growth in the plastic surgery industry. They are concerned the demand coupled with a complete lack of regulation has created a free-for-all situation. Essentially, these “medical” spas are opening up without any actual medical supervision.
What are the Risks Associated with Medical Spas?
These days, many doctors from other specialties are transferring into plastic surgery to reap the benefits of this growing industry. Although technically, many have their medical degree, many doctors such as dentists, psychiatrists and osteopaths have no business in plastic surgery. However, anyone with a medical degree is legally allowed to practice surgery without much regulation. So, technically, an ophthalmologist could perform liposuction on a patient with little training.
Moreover, most medical spa procedures are usually done by aestheticians (who have absolutely no medical training), physician assistants, nurses and medical assistants. In professional medical settings, however, none of these specialties are given the privileges they are allowed in medical spas. Moreover, all a medical spa needs to legally operate and perform procedures involving lasers, injectables or even small surgical procedures is a “supervising physician,” who is usually not involved in any daily operations. Many just come in to sign off on the procedure paperwork and receive their cut of the profits.
There have been two separate cases in which local Tennesseans have died during cosmetic procedure. Firstly, a 43-year-old woman died after the operating doctor perforated her smaller intestine several times during a liposuction procedure. She called the medical spa office multiple times and spoke to the assistants there. They were unaware she was reporting signs of infection, and the woman died when her bowel material leaked into her stomach. Separately, a 30-year-old woman died when a general surgeon (who had no business performing a plastic surgery procedure) punctured her bowel during a surgery to remove extra skin from her abdomen.
Tennessee Medical Spas Need More Regulation
At the moment, there are too many aestheticians, nurses, physician assistants, medical assistants and even doctors who are performing procedures they are not qualified to do. It seems credentials are not taken into consideration with these new, beautifying procedures. There is a difference between being certified and licensed. However, even licensed physicians do not necessarily have the experience in the field.
It seems Tennessee lawmakers need to pass legislation to regulate this industry. The procedures involved in the plastic surgery industry are dangerous. Chemical peels and lasers can severely burn, Botox is a muscle paralytic and surgical procedures come with a huge risk of adverse reactions to anesthesia and infection.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7