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Tuesday
Sep232008

Medsurge. Advances?

First, I've never had any real interaction with Medsurge Advances. However, I know a number of physicians who have.


Medsurge Advances
have made a number of comments on this site which I applaud. It can't be easy defending your business form what are mostly anonymous sources and as I've always said, you should take all opinions with a grain of salt. Certainly there have been a number of cases on this site where commenters have posted under false names and obvioulsy been pushing a certain agend for their medical spa program, consultants, or technology.

That being said, I hazzard to guess that this poster has had some insight into what's happened at Medsurge Advances:

Here is a summary which should confirm many other posts and may dispute some others. It is definitely not biased towards MedSurge, but it definitely is all an inside look.

At one time, they had over 100 employees. Now, they have less than 40. They have gone through 3 or 4 layoffs.

They have customer service which historically didn't have the tools, parts or experience to fix all of their offered equipment properly.

They have struggled financially for almost two years and many employees have left due to the financial instability. Many customers have inquired about the stability of the company with specific concern as to who will fix their equipment if MedSurge goes out of business.

Consulting was created as a way to sell more lasers and this sometimes conflicted with helping the customer or giving him good advice. Sometimes this meant the sales rep had final say on the business plan (not the paid consultants) which left customers with over-inflated revenues to make them comfortable purchasing absurd amounts of equipment. Don't get me wrong, many of these consultants have helped a great number of medspas, but there is only so much you can do after you have purchased way too much equipment. This didn't occur with every customer. The sales reps were also guilty of convincing the doctors to think that grand openings would net them huge sums of money (which was not always the case) and sometimes would promise more than MedSurge would offer in the way of consulting. There were doctors that netted $70k plus on grand openings, but it was definitely not normal. The consultants had to take the blame for sales reps over-inflated pitches (even if they did their job well).

The equipment is mostly antiquated (with one new exception and more new pieces on the way). The MedioStar was a decent machine with bad software. The software took over a year to fix and most still don't have the upgrade applied in the field. Please note that this mostly resulted in low power (not burns). The Aramis never really worked. Many of these wouldn't last two weeks out of the box. The D-Actor was sold with little proof that it had any effect on cellulite. They never had a white paper performed before they started selling it.

They did have a spa in Plano, Tx. It was shut down due to lack of profitability. It was not a medspa, but a sort of hybrid fitness center medical spa.

It would be interesting to see if there is any recourse to MedSurge concerning the failing doctors. I think there is a decent amount of recourse for equipment that fails if each doctor approaches it correctly. For most doctors, it seems that they run out of money before they can go after MedSurge. It is hard to come up with money for a law suit after you burned $10 to $20k per month in cash on a failing practice that didn't last 18 months. Most doctors (as mentioned on this blog) just purchased too much equipment. In the end, however, it is my opinion that most doctors did not do their homework before they leaped into a medspa. The doctor is the one signing papers showing that he owes $500k in leases. There may be blame on both sides. I guess time will tell if anyone launches a law suit against MedSurge concerning the sale of a "bad business model".

Things at MedSurge are much different now than they were a year ago. For one, they don't sell the consulting services like they used to. They are more focused on this laser lipolysis machine and some other new equipment that is coming out. This means they are more like an equipment distributor than the hybrid distribution/consulting strategy they used before. The change had to take place (in my own opinion) because the medpsa market was completely oversaturated and there was just not much room for any more profitable spas until 20-30% of them went out of business. Hopefully their new equipment will work great and nobody else will get hurt financially with the medspa fiasco.

Do your homework and get at least 3 references on these new pieces of machinery. If they come out with a new piece of equipment that works and customers like it...you can probably get a good deal compared to competition. I hear they have some very interesting equipment coming out soon. Also, don't buy anything unless it has been properly researched. They have a few vendors that build equipment without thoroughly testing for its clinical efficacy. Sometimes this creates a machine that performs great in a lab, but very poorly in the field (references references references). Beware of their customer service. They do try to have customer service, they just sometimes don't have the resources. They have a lot of people that care about doctors...few of them happen to be sales reps or the top management (i.e. some people that post regularly on this site in favor of MedSurge), however. As with any business agreement...don't believe any verbal promises from their reps; get all agreements in writing (signed by someone outside of their sales department) and you should be fine.

Questions should always be asked about their financial stability. They have started selling a lot of new machines and have lowered their headcount dramatically. Hopefully they are now stable and can support their customers. Don't assume...ask them!

Many people were hurt in this industry in the last two years, not just MedSurge customers. In some markets, there were medspas across the street from other medspas. It didn't help that many of their customers took on a lot of debt, but until 2007, I don't think anybody realized the direction the industry was headed. You can still make money on aesthetic medicine. You can still make money in medspas. It is just much harder than it used to be. I believe MedSurge (for whatever reason) has seems to have adjusted to this new market by moving to a distribution method and moving away from helping customers open brand new spas

DO YOUR HOMEWORK! DO YOUR OWN SMELL CHECK TO SEE IF EACH PIECE OF EQUIPMENT WILL MAKE YOU MONEY AND COVER ITS COST AND DEBT! CONTACT AS MANY REFERENCES AS YOU CAN! MAKE SMART BUSINESS DECISIONS! EXPLORE ALL YOUR OPTIONS...EVEN MEDSURGE (IF IT WORKS FOR YOU.

Reader Comments (22)

It sounds like MedSurge was just in it for the money. They sold equipment that did not work. They did not provider support that they promised and they watched people lose their life savings and did not care. They sound EVIL. I would NEVER work with them. Period.

I have a great deal of experience with Carl Mudd and Dermacare. Same story, different company. Same mind-set.

09.25 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Joe

We have a medical spa, Ageless Remedies SouthPark, in Charlotte, NC. We have seen 2 new medical spas here fail, both "advised" by MedSurge.

This is a wonderful industry but an extremely complicated one. To be successful, you need to know/learn about many aspects of aesthetic medicine (sevices and products), basic business practices, customer service, and more. You must also be prepared for a great deal of hard work.

We have a medical spa too.

10.3 | Unregistered CommenterRender

In early 2004 my partners and I attended an "Empire" aesthetics seminar to start our aesthetic practice. (I can comment on Empire in another forun). MedSurge Advances was there to help educate and of course sell their equipement. Not having any experience or other knowledge, we signed on to by their Aramis laser, Viridis laser, Microdermabrader, and started package for peels and Belladerm products for resale. (In a separate transaction with one of their sales people that was also working for another company we bought a used Candela GentleLase.) Although we felt that MedSurge was actually sincere in wanting us to succeed, we quickly found their company to be chaoitc and their skin care products second rate. It wasn't long before we abandoned Belladerm for SkinMedica. We then bought a Syneron Aurora IPL/RF. (Initially John Ward of MedSurge was dismissing the "fotofacial" as not worhwhile but then MedSurge aquired their own IPL machine to sell.)

We have plugged along for the last several years and built a quality and profitable aesthetic practice along with our Internal Medicine practice. We thank Empire and MedSurge for initially showing us the way however we were naive and uniformed and I would recommened a different path for anyone else trying to enter the business. We still have the MedSurge Microdermabrader and it works fine. Our aesthetician has long since changed our line of peels from the MedSurge "industrial chemicals" as she referred to them. The Viridis is a fair laser but has limited utility. The Aramis is useless. It works only slightly for acne and it's wrinkle improvement is minimal if any (plus it hurts). We already have had it repaired (MedSurge orginally wanted $10,000 for a new rod) after only about 3 years of very light use. After much complaining they knocked it down to $3000. We did repair it but in retrospect we should have just taken it as a loss because it's just gathering dust. We've listed in for sale on a website but so far, no takers.

I have no experience with MedSurge as a hired "consultant" but I don't think I would recommend hiring any company as a consultant that has their own lasers to sell.

We thank Empire and Med Surge for initially showing us the way however we were naive and uniformed and I would recommended a different path for anyone else trying to enter the business.

Yup! As what we can see, these things are all about business, nothing personal nor even hard feeling. If people like it, it will grows, otherwise it will buried.

Yup, I totally agree with the comments as above. If you have a choice, never go with Medsurge. I love aesthetic medicine, and my practice is slowly growing. It has been a rewarding and fun experiece, and i would stlil get into this market. I have learned that it takes a good 3-5 years to build a solid aesthetic practice. (Not 3 months!!)
However, I would never recommend Medsurge to any physician. They don't understand the complexity of running a medical spa, the medicoloegal responsibility involved, and customer satisfaction. From my experience, running a medical spa is a full time job.
Also, Medsurge has no concept of honest sales and marketing and this shows in thier own company.
The equipment is average. I have learned how to manipulate the equipment to get some good results. The laser trainers are somewhat knowledageable. However, I have made many physician friends in the medical spa industry. I learn the most by talking to other physicians. The "trained laser experts" simply do not have the depth of knowledge regarding the physiology, anatomy, and pathphysiology of the skin like another physician.
Bellederm skincare is no good. It is just repackaged Bionet esthetics products that are just OK. We have another skin care line we are very happy with.
All in all, I would still get into this market, just not with Medsurge. Please, find another company!!
Good luck.

All the statements are right, i can agree with all the comments, and all this information is really interesting. thank you.

10.10 | Unregistered Commenteridbl

In the present study our purpose was to compare the efficacy and tolerability of 3 different doses of red light for ALA-PDT of AK. METHODS:

10.26 | Unregistered Commenterwebscutest

Great image for your post... where i can find some medical images please? Sorry for OFFTOPIC

10.30 | Unregistered Commentergamesman

Thank you for this important information, always look forward to your updates.

I opened my medical spa about 2 1/2 years ago and, like many others who have posted here, started by attending an Empire weekend conference. At that time Medsurge was not in the consulting business but just in the equipment business so I cannot comment on the consulting end of it. I do have some opinions on the equpiment and the company I would be happy to share.

I would agree that when I started, the equipment Medsurge handled was mediocre. I feel that their target market was the non-dermatologist, non-plastic surgeon that wanted to get into the aesthetic market but didn't really know much about it. They had okay (but not great) equipment but it was priced less than the bigger more well known companies which allowed getting started with less initial investment. I got a Mediostar which I felt was okay for most people, not great but did the job. Certainly not for types V & VI. I concur with other opinions about the Aramis. We did get some good results with acne but also using combination therapy with products, microderm and peels and Omnilux. Medsurge actually allowed me to trade my Aramis for a Viridis. We never really did nearly as much acne as I thought we would. I have a Prolite II IPL which I felt worked very well. The only drawback was the small spot size which took a lot of time when doing anything but the face. With experience I have since acquired some other equipment. I have a Sciton profile for hair removal and microlaserpeel. I also have a Sciton BBL which is a great IPL device.

That being said, I have bought more equipment from Medsurge. I feel Medsurge has restructured and is no longer focused on helping non-derms and plastics start a medspa but rather carrying high end equipment that can compete with other companies. I have trained in smartlipo but rather than paying $135K I have a lipotherme unit for laser lipolysis that is considerably less and I feel works just as well. I have been getting great results with it. I also bought an Arion, the alexandrite laser that Medsurge distributes. It is pricy but it is an awsome piece of equipment. After getting so-so results on very light skin types with the Sciton 1064 I felt I needed the alex and I'm glad I got it. It really a cool laser. Today, I tested a new C02 that Medsurge is distributing. The rep brought it in and we did two cases for severe acne scarring. The machine was very easy to use, the patients were comfortable and it is very fast. We will see how the results turn out but this laser has the same specs but is considerably cheaper than it's competitors. All in all, I feel Medsurge's focus is now much different than it was a few years ago. They are carrying high end equipment that may not have all the advertising of the bigger companies but performs just as well.

Even though I did not use Medsurge's consulting services I know a few physicians who did. My impression is that these individuals felt that if they bought equipment and hung out a sign that the crowds of middle-aged women who wanted to look younger would be just flocking in. They did not feel like they should have to market and did not treat their medspa as a business but rather more like a traditional medical practice. Those of us that have survived know that we cannot do that in this business. I am an ER doc by training (residency trained in both pediatrics and emergency med) and had never run an office. I learned pretty quick that this was about 70% business and about 30% medicine. The docs I know that went under never really learned this. I don't know what Medsurge told them but lets face it, their business is to sell lasers. Of course they should not lie but I have never found their hype to be any different than any other laser comapany out there. I would also like to say that my experience with their customer service has been excellent. I have not had many problems but the few I have had were solved quickly and easily. I have several of the top managers cell numbers including the CEO of the company, Scott Day. He and everyone I have come in contact with seem to be commited to changing the prior focus of the company and concentrating on high end equipment and good service.

I am not paid by Medsurge and have no other connection except having some of their equipment. As I stated, I have had some I was disappointed with and some I really like. I felt compelled to give an unbiased opinion because I think some of the other people posting gave such negative comments and that has not been my experience. I have no problem putting down my name and contact information so if anyone wants to contact me to get my opinion feel free. If I can help another physician avoid making expensive mistakes and learning from my experience I would be happy to do so.

I see from the MedSurge Website that their new fractionated CO2 laser is called the Exelo2. It's curious to me that there are so many fractionated CO2 lasers available. I was interested in the ActiveFX but the price is mind-boggling. I've seen some posts talking about a Chinese version this technology. I'd love to know if anyone has compared the machines head-to-head?

Is MedSurge taking trade-ins on the Aramis? I'd love to unload it. It's just collecting dust in my office.

11.21 | Unregistered CommenterInnovaMed

The CO2 laser from Medsurge that I tried out yesterday was not the Excelo 2. My understanding is that has not yet been FDA approved. The one Medsurge provided is made by a company called Sandstone. I was told the specifications are exactly the same as the "dot" laser. I did three patients and it was very quick and easy. We will see how the results turn out. The price I was given was $50k which is a lot better than any other C02 I have inquired about. I am in the process of investigating the company. Right now all I know is that they are in Austin, Tx and the laser is manufactured there.

Thanks for the info. I just saw an ad from Sandstone advertising their new fractional CO2 laser. We actually have a Sandstone Ultralight II (q-switched ND:YAG 532/1064) that we got earlier this year. So far it's been ok for tatoos but the results for other applications is disappointing. We have a Viridis (KTP 532) from Med-Surge that works fairly well for vascular lesions but the small spot size is limiiting. I've tried the Ultralight for red and brown spots (as they advertise) and it doesn't do much.

Sandstone as a company has been ok. The initial machine they sent was obviously used. When I complained, I was told we were accidentally sent the demo and a new machine was sent. They did sent someone to train us as promised and the machine hasn't given us any trouble so far.

Is Med-Surge now partnering with Sandstone???

11.24 | Unregistered CommenterInnovaMed

Yeah, if people like it, it will grows, otherwise it will buried.

12.1 | Unregistered CommenterIgra

My husband and I opened a Med-Spa in late 2005 and went through their whole process. We did find there information good and it helped us get a feel for what we needed to do to get started. Their training programs were fine and seemed helpful. That being said.....I too felt like I was totally taken advantage of. They did make it sound like we would be bringing in $80,000 in a couple of months. We have the Arimis, yes it is a joke and their Spider Vein Machine has been sitting in my kitchen for about a year now. I got tired of giving people money back because their piece of crap equipment didn't work. I like the Medio Star. Most people were happy with their results but it took 8 to 12 visits instead of 6. Last year we bought some Syneron Equipment so we could do blonde and grey hair and any skin type and of course they lied too! To put it bluntly I hate reps and don't trust them as far as I can throw them!!! Syneron is just as bad if not worse. The only thing they do better is customer service, but really all there customer service is a bunch of lies, so I guess the only thing they do better is lie. I have had very few people who have been happy with any equipment of Synerons. Blonde hair, grey hair, any skin type PLEASE! Just stop lying to us so we don't feel like we are lying to our clients. I am to honest so I just end up losing money. I am now looking to get rid of the Spa because I'm tired of people mad at me and having equipment sitting in my kitchen that I can't or I should say will not use. I guess my husband and I are just not business people, I can't just take peoples money when I know it's not going to work for them.. If I could file a class action law suit against both companies I would do so...... so many lies and so much of our hard earned money down the drain. I am however looking for a Dermawave Machine. If anyone has a used one they are selling I would be interested. Their facial I do think is the best and I would love that machine just for me. Please feel free to email me if you want to have one taken off your hands.

Sherri: If you provide your e-mail address I will contact you. I have a DermaWave system that is in excellent condition and rarely used and I will sell to you at a great discount. It is the original DermaWave and NOT the new "needle free mesotherapy" system but I think it is actually better because it combines ultrasound and electrical therapies.

We have a Syneron Aurora IPL/RF. We bought it mostly for the standard IPL features but were also interested in the 50% reduction in white and grey hair. After a year of trying with numerous patients, we no longer advertisie treatment of white/grey hair. If people have "mixed" hair color and insist on trying something, we use Meladine with our GentleLase. I warn them up front that it still very disappointing for the white/grey/blond hairs but there's nothing else out there (o/t electrolosys) for this type of hair. If anyone knows of any modalitiy that really works for white/grey/blond hair please reply!

I just recieved a letter from MedSurge announcing a change in management. Not sure if that is good or bad, but my guess is things weren't going peachy before the change.

12.19 | Unregistered CommenterStillSun

Beware of the company called Osyris now disguised under MedSurge. Still the same slimy company-a distributer of second-rate equipment. and now their m.o. is the laser lipo. I would stay away. Get aligned with a leader in the industry-a company that develops and sells the laser itself rather than a distributer.

Osyris is a company from France ran by a PHD in laser Physics

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