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Thursday
Nov302006

Want to make REAL money?

image_wealth.gifCosmetic medicine may not be the answer.

 
People both in and out of the medical field often comment on how much fun I must have at work.  And I actually do have a lot of fun.  I enjoy my job and I enjoy this field of medicine.  But it's still work.  And there are still problems as there are problems in any line of work.  But I always get a chuckle when people assume that since the office looks like a day spa and since our patients pay out of pocket, that any physician who works in cosmetic medicine must be rolling in the money.  I even hear that from other physicians.  My own ob/gyn is soon going to add cosmetic services to her practice so she "can finally get out of debt."  And while I think there are a few clinics out there that do exceptionally well.  For the most part adding cosmetic services to your current practice is like starting any new business.  For every Microsoft, there must be 5,000 others that fail.  Those odds of success and failure definitely apply to the field of cosmetic medicine.

Course most people think that all doctors are rolling in money.  I think most physicians earn a decent living, but when you take into account all the years in school, tuition, and the residency "stipend" that works out to be about minimum wage....well, I think there are a lot of easier ways to make that same amount of money.  Which is why I'm happy that I enjoy my work.  If I had entered medicine just to make money, then I might be disappointed that I didn't decide to become a plumber.  My plumber makes between $200 - $300 / hr and doesn't have to spend thousands on malpractice.  And he's so busy that his voicemail says don't even bother leaving a message if you are a new client.  He's already got all the work he needs.  And then he takes off to Mexico for 3 months out of the year.  Not that I'd want to muck around in some of the stuff he does.  But if you are only interested in money, then perhaps medicine isn't the right calling for you.  And if you are really interested in money, then cosmetic medicine may not be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that you think it is.

In fact, perhaps you should head straight onto Wall Street.  Monday's (November 27,2006 Lure of Great Wealth Affects Career ChoicesNew York Times had a front page article about a hematology/oncology physician who was making about $150,000/year in clinical medicine.  But then he straddled over to Wall Street and is now earning over $1-2+ million a year.  He launched from "decent" money to "insane" money.  

We often hear about Drs. X, Y, and Z entering this field from all different types of specialties.  And I'm sure they are lured by the predictable hours and lack of insurance wrangling.  But if they are drawn by the ideas of wealth and grandeur, they might be sadly disappointed. 

Reader Comments (6)

This article is so true! Medical spas are NOT get rich quick or easy jobs. Since we have been open (only a year now) I have seen at least 3 spas open and close in my area. Just look at how many are for sale on mergernetwork.com or similiar sites. Most are open less than a year and are forced to do a fire sale of assets.

I can't understand how people keep flocking to this thinking it's instant cash. It's so not true. It's just like any other business. Do not believe the hype. If I didn't really love it I would have quit so long ago. My hair dresser makes more money!
Aesthetic MD's right. Medical spas and/or cosmetic practices operate according to the same business rules as every other business. It's not a get-rich-quick scheme.
12.5 | Unregistered CommentersisMD
It's not a get-rich-quick scheme? Hey, the franchises say it is. Why isn't everyone rich here?
04.13 | Unregistered CommenterChicagoMD

APPLISONIX!!! Since I opened a medspa and entered this crazy world of aesthetic medicine in early 2003 I have been on the lookout for a technology that could disable hair follicles with insufficient melanin pigment and/or the competing chromophore of dark (especially recently tanned) skin. I figured that I would be an instant millionaire if I could come up with a device that could eliminate blonde, gray or white hair AND treat dark skinned - and even tan- patients. When I saw the recent news on the Internet about an Israeli company named APPLISONIX I thought that someone had beat me to the punch. These characters apparently use an ultrasound device to remove hair without concern about hair color, density or skin type -- and claim to achieve up to 38% average hair reduction compared to the untreated control area of their test subjects. Their press release compares their results to matching "the highest level of hair removal technologies" (and made references to laser and other light based technologies).

They apparently received an initial investment of about US$4 million and are now planning to raise even more money. What they do NOT tell you on their web site or in their press releases -- which I only learned through GOOGLE University a short time later -- is that their current technology apparently treats A SINGLE HAIR AT A TIME!! Just a small factor their publicist must have overlooked. Can you imagine that! I immediately told my bank to stop payment on the check I had just mailed in to purchase some of their stock!!! Harkens back to the miracle of microwave hair removal we all heard about a few years ago. I think Carl Engelmann Buckingham must have been the inventor of all these amazing technologies....

08.13 | Unregistered Commentermedspa guy

Medspa Guy,

Great catch! Do you have the link? Im embarresed to say that I signed up for the "keep me in the loop" section of the website.
Have you been following Ultrashape and whats your take on that? Its one of the future technologies Im keeping an eye on.
Regards,
Mark

08.14 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Mark: If you GOOGLE the name "applisonix" you will find the company web site and - more important - the comment which mentions that the hairs are disabled one follicle at a time. To accurately describe their current state of technology - based on what has been published so far - they should have been comparing their device to electrology rather than light based hair removal.

With regard to Ultrashape and their various competitors in the new "focused ultrasound" arena, I know that they have all been trying - unsuccessfully - to achieve FDA marketing clearance for quite some time. I heard a lecture by one of their clinical investigators in Europe about one year ago and I was shocked to hear how little actual data they had "proving" their efficacy at that time. Maybe they have more hard science behind their claims now?? Some of their competitors seem to have a lot more science supporting their claims (i.e., www.ulthera.com).

08.14 | Unregistered Commentermedspa guy

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