Friday, December 6, 2013
By INA PAIVA CORDLE The Miami Herald
MIAMI - It's hard to escape the lure.
Cosmetic procedures are posted on the door as wine is served during an open house this month at Dr. Patty’s Dental Boutique in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Dr. April Patterson’s business offers everything from conventional dentistry to injections and chemical peels.
Photos by Carl Juste/Miami Herald
Technician Tray Marotta displays her eyelash extension on her phone for clients at Dr. Patty’s Dental Boutique.
Radio ads for Sarasota, Fla.-based Venus Mini Med Spa tout the beauty benefits of getting facial fillers at the mall.
A Fort Lauderdale, Fla., dental spa invites women to a cocktail soiree to sip champagne, taste hors d'oeuvres, sample Botox and try eyelash extensions.
They are cashing in on the desire to turn back the clock.
Once strictly the purview of plastic surgeons and dermatologists, medical professionals of nearly every ilk -- from ophthalmologists to dentists to gynecologists, as well as physician assistants and nurse practitioners -- are now jumping on the youth-enhancing bandwagon.
Their medical spas offer nonsurgical -- and sometimes even surgical -- cosmetic procedures for women and men.
"It is a bit of a Wild West out there," said Dr. Leo McCafferty, a Pittsburgh plastic surgeon and president of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. "It doesn't mean that all med spas are bad, but it certainly behooves the consumer to do due diligence."
Without question, cosmetic procedures are soaring, rising 197 percent since 1997, according to the ASAPS. Surgical procedures have increased 73 percent, while nonsurgical procedures, like Botox, facial fillers and laser hair removal, have surged by 356 percent.
In all, Americans spent more than $10 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2011, according to the organization's tally.
Blame it on the baby boomers: As they are getting up in years, they are leading the charge toward cosmetic enhancements.
In fact, people age 35 to 50 had the most procedures last year, nearly 4 million, and 43 percent of the total. Those 51 to 64 had an additional 28 percent, according to the ASAPS.
"It's a large target market, and it's a market that is sensitive to aging, that doesn't like aging, and that wants to fight it," said Dr. Stephan Baker, a Coral Gables, Fla.-based plastic surgeon and a local spokesman for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. "That creates, obviously, a demand, and you see that reflected in the economic world. When demand increases, supply increases."
The ASAPS says medical spas "should be supervised by a physician, who should be on-site, and who should be properly trained and board-certified within their scope of practice, because problems can happen," McCafferty said.
"Something as simple as an injectable, a patient can have an allergic reaction, and if a med spa isn't equipped to handle that, a simple trip to a med spa can be disastrous," he said.
Laws differ from state to state, but in Florida, anyone with a medical license can practice in any medical field. And physician assistants and nurse practitioners can perform injections.
"The Board of Medicine has stated that lasers, laser for hair removal, Botox injections, collagen injections, and any other noninvasive injections of materials used as procedures to treat patients must be performed by a physician, a physician assistant under supervision, or an advanced registered nurse practitioner working under a protocol signed by a physician," Florida Department of Health spokeswoman Ashley Carr said via email.
Bill Clarke and his wife, Rita Clarke, a physician assistant, have created a growing chain of med spas in shopping malls, offering Botox, Dysport and fillers. Venus Mini Med Spa, headquartered in Sarasota, Fla., operates nine med spas in malls.
At a Venus Mini Med Spa, physician assistants or nurse practitioners do the injecting after they undergo intensive training. A group of plastic surgeons is available on call in case anything goes wrong, Bill Clarke said.
Parties and events are also becoming en vogue.
Dr. Leonard Tachmes' Miami Beach Plastic Surgery Center and Medspa recently teamed up with a hair salon, tanning salon and fitness company to host a Beauty Block Party, complete with music, drinks and a raffle for Botox treatments, blow-dries, personal training and tanning sessions.
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