Learn more about VIO Med Spa and our services by browsing our frequently asked questions.
What is a medical spa?
The American Med Spa Association defines a medical spa as a hybrid between an aesthetic medical center and a day spa” with four core elements:
- The provision of non-invasive (i.e. non-surgical) aesthetic medical services;
- Under the general supervision of a licensed physician;
- Performed by trained, experienced and qualified practitioners;
- With onsite supervision by a licensed healthcare professional.
How do I know whether a medical spa is safe and compliant?
As a first step, here are three tips that will help you determine whether your medical spa is complying with the law.
- Ask if you can see the Doctor. The vast majority of treatments you receive at medical spas, such as Coolsculpting and injectables (Botox, fillers), are considered medical treatments. Because of this, prior to treatment, you should see a Medical Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant or certified practitioner. Compliant medical spas will schedule you for a consult before you get treated to ensure you are a proper candidate and that a proper treatment plan is in place. If you visit a new medical spa and can be treated without seeing a healthcare professional (Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, physician’s assistant or certified practitioner), you should probably look elsewhere.
- Make sure your medical spa practitioner is legally permitted to treat you. As a general rule, all medical treatments should be performed by medical professionals under the supervision of a physician. Most treatments you’ll receive at a medical spa, such as fillers, Botox, Coolsculpting, Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP), microneedling, and etc—are medical treatments that are regulated by the state the spa resides. Most services that are considered medical treatments require an in-person medical exam by a medical professional (Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant or certified practitioner) before the treatment can be performed.
- In the medical spa industry, experience matters. Internet searches can be done on everything from the spa itself to the physician, owner and practitioner you will be working with. Ask your friends, neighbors, hair stylist, personal trainer or virtually anywhere you know people invest in taking care of themselves.
Who should be administering medical spa treatments?
Not only should you make sure the medical spa you are visiting is one of high standing that offers a safe, clean, legally compliant environment for you to have your treatments, but you should also ensure that the professional performing the procedure is the right person for you and the job. Each state has different requirements in regard to the type of licensed professional that can do each type of treatment in a medical spa and medical aesthetics environment.
As a general rule, however, all medical treatments should be performed by medical professionals under the supervision of a physician. This is not always an easy distinction to make, however, as many treatments offered at medical spas are clearly not medical (European facials and Hydrafacials, for example) and some, at least at first blush, are sort of medical (i.e. microneedling and Coolsculpting). Legally speaking, most states consider any treatment that “affects” the living tissue to be a medical treatment, although there are exceptions to this rule, depending on which state you are in.
Does a Doctor always have to be on-site?
Not always. While a Doctor doesn’t always have to be on-site for every medical spa procedure; however, you should have a face-to-face consultation with a Doctor, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner or certified practitioner prior to each medical spa treatment. Once that happens, a Doctor doesn’t necessarily have to be on-site. However, most states require that a licensed medical professional (Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant) always be on-site to ensure proper treatment and supervision.
What constitutes a medical treatment?
A medical treatment is a treatment that impacts or affects the living tissue of the body. For example, most states believe that any treatment that affects anything outside the dead skin cells, i.e. the epidermis, is considered to be a medical treatment. There is some confusion about whether certain treatments constitute medical treatments, such as microneedling and dermaplaning. Most states do recognize these as medical treatments needing licensed medical professional oversight.
The medical spa I go to has a Nurse Practitioner on site, but no Doctor. Is this legal? Is this safe?
The answer to this question depends on your state, but as a general rule, yes, that’s perfectly fine. Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants are called “mid-level” providers. This means that they can do many of the same things that a Doctor can do provided they are properly trained and experienced. They can see new patients, make diagnoses, develop treatment plans, and even prescribe medication. Most states do not require the Doctor overseeing the Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant to be on site, although there are often distance and documentation requirements.
At the medical spa I go to a nurse, not a Doctor, performs Botox and filler injections. Is this legal? Is this safe?
It depends on your state, but as a general rule, yes, that’s perfectly fine. Most states allow Registered Nurses to inject Botox and fillers, with a few important caveats. One, you should always see a licensed medical professional (Doctor, Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant) before your first treatment. This is not only true for injectables, but all medical treatments, including microneedling. Remember, even after a licensed medical professional has seen you, the Registered Nurse performing the treatment must be properly trained, qualified, and experienced.
I have been invited to a "Botox party" at someone's house. Is this legal? Is this safe?
Typically, yes, but you should definitely do some research to make sure the event is safe and compliant. As a general rule, most medical boards don’t exclusively require Botox or fillers to be administered at a doctor’s office or medical spa. Provided all the proper protocols and safety measures are in place, they often can be performed anywhere, including at a private residence. However, all the requirements of medical treatments are applicable, even though the treatment is being done off site, which includes being seen by a Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant before you receive the treatment.
What is Botox and what is it used for?
The injection of botulinum toxin, commonly known as Botox, Dysport or Xeomin, has become very popular for reducing wrinkles and rejuvenating the aging face. Treatment typically takes 15 minutes and results last about 3-4 months in most people.
What are Derma Fillers and what are they used for?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, injectable dermal fillers help diminish facial lines and restore volume and fullness in the face. This minimally invasive procedure has been known to help plump thin lips, enhance shallow contours, soften facial creases, remove wrinkles and improve the appearance of recessed scars by injecting fillers into the face with a needle. Depending on number of treatment areas, treatments typically take 15-60 minutes to be performed. The continued aging of your face and variables in the absorption of fillers will affect how long your results last, but typically, you can expect results to last about 6 months to a year or so.
What is Dermaplaning and what is it used for?
Dermaplaning is a noninvasive skin care procedure that exfoliates the surface layers of the skin through the use of a scalpel, and reduces the appearance of deep, pitted acne scars, resulting in a smoother and more even complexion. Dermaplaning is designed to treat the small, but deep scars that sometimes result from cystic acne. Gentler versions of dermaplaning are sometimes used as exfoliating or hair-removal treatments. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to a full hour to complete the procedure, depending on the needs of the patient. Similar to microneedling, it is recommended that the procedure be done every 3–4 weeks, which coincides with a normal skin cycle of approximately 30 days. The results are typically long-lasting.
What is Microdermabrasion and what is it used for?
Microdermabrasion skin rejuvenation is used as a method of exfoliation, as well as to treat light scarring, discoloration and sun damage and stretch marks. Treatments include using a minimally abrasive instrument to gently sand your skin, removing the thicker, uneven outer layer. Treatments will last approximately 30 minutes to an hour and are commonly referred to as the “lunch hour facial. Guests should see improvements in their complexion after a single treatment, but lasting results are only achieved through a series of sessions performed over the course of several weeks.
What is Microneedling and what is it used for?
Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a minimally invasive treatment to rejuvenate the skin. A device with fine needles creates tiny punctures in the top layer of the skin, which triggers the body to create new collagen and elastin. Results can include improved texture and firmness, as well as a reduction in scars, pore size, and stretch marks. Treatment typically takes an hour with guests seeing results with one treatment, however, results will be even greater if you do a series of treatments. We recommend that patients have microneedling performed every 4–6 weeks, depending on the depth of their treatment and their treatment plan.
What is a Vampire Face Lift (Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment) and what is it used for?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment is thought to rejuvenate the skin through injections of a guest’s own platelet-rich plasma. To do this, licensed medical professionals draw a small amount of the guest’s own blood and place it in a centrifuge to isolate natural growth factors. PRP can spur collagen production and increase blood flow, which results in firmer skin. When injected into specific areas of the face, PRP injections reduce the appearance of wrinkles and result in a vibrant, youthful appearance. This treatment typically takes around 30-60 minutes, depending on the area treated. The treatment can be repeated, and better results are seen with a total of 2-3 treatments given 3-4 months apart. Patients can expect to see better results as they receive more treatments. With time, the results of PRP get better and better.
What is PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Hair Restoration and what is it used for?
Platelet-rich plasma hair restoration treatment is thought to restore the natural growth of hair follicles through injections of a guest’s own platelet-rich plasma under the skin on the scalp. To do this, licensed medical professionals draw a small amount of the guest’s own blood and place it in a centrifuge to isolate natural growth factors. Once injected under the skin on the scalp, growth factors, in a sense, play the role of messengers, signaling skin cells to function. These growth factors can “help stimulate the activity of the hair follicles and promote new hair growth. This treatment typically takes around 30-60 minutes, depending on the area treated. The treatment can be repeated, and better results are seen with a total of 2-3 treatments given 3-4 months apart. Patients can expect to see better results as they receive more treatments.
What is Coolsculpting and what is it used for?
CoolSculpting is a nonsurgical procedure that uses a controlled device to freeze and destroy fat. Fatty areas are gently pinched between the CoolSculpting applicator, which cools the area to a temperature that causes fat cells to crystallize and die. This treatment isn’t intended for massive weight loss, but for treating problem areas like love handles, stomach rolls, and arm fat. One CoolSculpting treatment takes 30-60 minutes per area treated. One area is typically about the size of your hand. Therefore, each love-handle would be considered one area, and the lower abdomen is typically considered two areas. For many patients, a second treatment in the same area may be beneficial since CoolSculpting removes about 25% of the fat cells per treatment. Typical results take about 3–4 months to be fully realized and, therefore, many patients schedule second treatments at that time. The results are long-lasting as long as you maintain a stable, healthy lifestyle.
*Disclaimer: The information and answers contained in this section provide a general guide to laws that apply to “medical spas” and the various treatments and services offered by VIO Med Spa. The information contained on this site is for general reference only. This information is not intended to provide legal advice, and it should not be relied upon as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Readers: You should not act upon this information without seeking knowledgeable legal counsel that takes the laws of your jurisdiction into account. All uses of the content of this site, other than personal uses, are prohibited. Some of the information provided was adapted from the American Med Spa Association.