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Texas Medical Spas Under Fire For Little Regulation
Medical spas offering Botox, laser hair removal or even liposuction are becoming more and more popular in Texas.
But KEYE TV uncovered there is little to no regulation. According to the Texas Medical Board, med spas are not regulated -- rather, they license the doctor who oversees it. And that doctor isn’t always required to do the procedure.
Botox is one treatment under scrutiny. That’s because it is not uncommon to see estheticians, who are experts in maintaining healthy skin, to be injecting patients.
“There is some debate about how far away the doctor needs to be if a treatment is going on. Should they be 70 miles away, is that ok? Or 200 miles?” said registered nurse Meredith Brethe.
Right now there is no answer for that. Because of that, Toccare Medical Spa is taking its own approach.
“When we have a new patient, generally the doctor wants to come over and meet the patient,” Brethe said. If there are any questions the doctors are next door.
That’s not always the case at other spas.
“It's not regulated, so people are quick to understand there is some money to be made,” Brethe said.
Every year the Texas Medical Board receives 7,000 complaints. Recently the agency sanctioned a Dallas doctor after two of his patients nearly died from liposuction.
“We learned in the course of the investigation that the doctor’s entire knowledge consisted of having read the manual that came with the liposuction machine,” said Texas Medical Board Spokesperson Leigh Hopper.
It may seem shocking, but there is little regulation for doctors who perform it.
“We don't require doctors to get any special permission from us to do liposuction, nor do they need to be board certified in plastic surgery,” Hopper said.
With patients being severely harmed, the board is in the process of re-writing and approving rules. They are tackling Botox first in the New Year.
In the meantime, its buyer beware.
“We are injecting medication and substances and that are ordered by a physician. So it just goes to stand with reason that there needs to be some oversight,” Brethe said.
For a list of all the licensed doctors in the state visit http://reg.tmb.state.tx.us/OnLineVerif/Phys_NoticeVerif.asp.
By Christie Post