Medical Spa Press: Spa Lasers Could Pose Dangers

There are really only a few stories that the press runs. How something new is great and wonderful, and how something that we thought is great and wonderful is really deadly and hazardous.

If you're on the wrong end of the stick, you'll find it sharp and unpleasant. CBS: Dangers of Medspa Lasers Story.

But instead of spotless skin, she got second- and third-degree burns all over her back and arms and was in what she describes as "excruciating pain."

"I had no idea that I would be permanently disfigured, that I would have zebra-striped skin," Miles said.

Though the spa that inured Miles has gone out of business, Koeppen says, Miles still lives with the scars every day. She's too embarrassed to wear bathing suits, tank tops or even sun dresses.

"I feel like I would look like a freak at a sideshow," she says. "This has been a totally life-altering, life-changing experience for me."

Doctors have told Miles the stripes on her skin are permanent. 

My own opinion is that every patient undergoing a medical treatment should be seen by a physician, the treatment area examined by a physician, and the treatment conditions set or performed by a physician (or other medical provider, either a Physicians Assistant or Nurse Practitioner.) That is the only ethical, legal, and more importantly, safe way to run a medical spa.

Medical spas that are operating without real and immediate medical oversight are going to go out of business because:

  1. Patients want to be seen by and see a doctor.
  2. Regulation.
  3. Litigation.
  4. Competition.

While in many cases (IPL, lasers, etc.) the physician is not actually pushing the button, it's a medical treatment and the physician needs to see the patient. There may be technicians, estheticians, and RN's that can perform the treatment and are knowledgeable in the majority of cases, but that's not the point. It's not their medical license on the line.