October 26, 2009

How far is too far?

Recently I was lucky enough to enjoy a spa day, thanks to a gift certificate I had received. As I browsed through the menu of services, I noticed a whole section of new procedures they offered performed by their “in-house” physician and medical staff. I know we have become a plastic society, but to me this is pushing it too far. Last time I checked this was a spa, not a doctor’s office.

Spas are becoming a one-stop shop, like the super Walmarts. In one day I could get Angelina Jolie lips (callogen and botox therapy), a massage, get rid of any sun spots or fine wrinkles with a blast of a laser (even that tattoo you thought was a good idea on your 18th birthday can be removed), and melt away my fat with Smartlipo. WHAT?! So basically I can ignore any warnings about wearing sunblock, eat whatever I want and and I don’t have to exercise?! Unfortunately these are the messages being delivered.

They reinforce that it is safe because it is performed by a physician or trained medical staff. With the simplest of procedures, there can always be a complication. On Good Morning America a few days later I saw a story about a Florida woman who is in a coma and brain dead after having liposuction (a routine procedure) at a spa. The doctor, who was fully licensed but not formally trained in this procedure, said there were no complications until the end. They suspect that the complication was due to the use of lidocaine, an anesthetic. It also turns out that the spa did not have the proper licenses to be performing liposuction and the doctor’s attorneys claim he was unaware of this.

In another story in NC a college student died from an overdose of lidocaine. She had received the prescription-strength numbing cream with no prescription, no medical exam and no medical directions. She applied the cream to her legs and was on her way to have laser hair removal treatments done when she had seizures and crashed her car and died.

A spa is not equipped, in my mind, to handle medical procedures. After doing some research about this topic I found that some spas will use a physician’s name to qualify as “medical” in which the doctor is awarded a percentage of the proceeds and the physician is not even present for the procedure and it is left to the estheticians with no guidance. Basically it comes down to being a quick money-maker for the doctor and the spa owner.

Forget about the quick-fixes from a pill, laser or scalpel and apply that sunblock, put the bag of chips down and get exercising! So I will never look as fabulous as our Metrostyle models, but at least I can enjoy my pizza and wine (as long as I take my dogs for that extra walk)!

By Izzy