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81% of Chicago medical spas operate without an on-site doctor, study finds – NBC Chicago

Medical spas are a $15 billion industry that has seen tremendous growth since the pandemic. A new study found that most medical spas in Chicago don’t have a doctor on-site, which could increase the risk of complications.

Medical spas offer cosmetic services like laser hair removal, chemical peels and injectable cosmetics, but they remain medical establishments, said Alex Thiersch, CEO of the American Med Spa Association.

“Medical spas are doctors’ offices,” Thiersch said. “If you want to order medications or equipment used in a medical spa, you are legally required to have an affiliated physician.”

And, Thiersch explained, the list of people allowed to inject fillers and Botox in Illinois is short.

“When you begin treatment, it should be done under the care and supervision of a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant,” Thiersch said.

But experts said there’s a loophole in Illinois law that means you can’t be treated by a licensed medical professional.

“If you look at the way the Illinois law and regulations are written, they give the physician the ability to delegate to whomever they want, as long as that person is trained, qualified and experienced. So there is a little fault there,” Thiersch said.

So, who holds the syringe in your medical spa?

A new study published in the Dermatologic Surgery Journal and authored by three dermatologists found that of 127 medical spas in the Chicago area:

  1. Licensed nurses and doctors supervise or perform cosmetic procedures in approximately 53% of Chicago’s medical spas.
  2. Estheticians perform 66.9% of cosmetic procedures in Chicago medical spas.

These findings concern Brittony Croasdell, nurse practitioner and clinical director of Fulcrum Aesthetics.

“Aestheticians, holistically, have not taken courses in anatomy and physiology, nor have they been properly trained in the art of injection,” Croasdell said.

The study also found:

  • 81% of medical spas surveyed in Chicago did not have a supervising physician on-site at all, which our experts say could increase the risk of complications.

“Whether it’s a laser burn, some sort of infection or allergic reaction or the result of an injectable, there are things that medical providers who know how to handle that type situations can do and they can do them very quickly and that tends to reverse or eliminate most of the complications that can arise,” Thiersch said.

False warnings about Botox

News headlines highlight why this is important.

In a first-of-its-kind case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that five New Mexico women were infected with HIV after receiving “vampire face” injections at an unlicensed medical spa. The spa owner pleaded guilty to five counts of practicing medicine without a license.

Last month, the CDC and FDA announced that 22 people in 11 states had “harmful reactions” after receiving “counterfeit or mishandled Botox injections by unlicensed or untrained persons” in unlicensed facilities. medical, such as homes and spas.”

At that time, two Illinois residents were hospitalized in LaSalle County.

“There is unfortunately a large market (for fake Botox). We are constantly inundated with fraud, basically people trying to get us to buy their counterfeit product at a much lower price,” Croasdell said.

Key takeaways

  • Before your next medical spa appointment, do your research to make sure the person holding the syringe is a licensed professional.

    “What the consumer needs to (do is) go through the website, find out who the doctor in charge of that medical spa is or if there is a nurse practitioner or physician assistant who is in charge.” All of these licenses can be viewed on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation website.

  • The American Med Spa Association told NBC 5 Responds it is working with the state to potentially implement more regulations around medical spas in Illinois. But for now, it’s really up to you to protect yourself and do your homework.

NBC Chicago

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