Philadelphia Medicine Summer 2019 - 24

p h i l a m e d s o c  .org

feature

Aesthetic Medicine
and Medical Spas
By: George W. Bodenger, Esquire

Introduction
Aesthetic medicine is a broad term that applies to any
specialty that involves the process of improving the physical
appearance and satisfaction of the patient - either to enhance
a person's face and body or decrease the risk of certain types of
diseases, including obesity. The specialty of aesthetic medicine
is no longer confined to plastic surgeons and dermatologists, as
physicians of all specialties seek to offer services to address their
patient's aesthetic needs and desires. Some aesthetic medicine
procedures are performed under local anesthesia while some
procedures do not require anesthetics at all.
From the physician's perspective, practicing aesthetic medicine
is very different from traditional medical practice. Virtually all
of the procedures are elective, and the purposes of the procedures
are not to cure an illness or condition. On the contrary, these
services are usually performed on patients who do not suffer
from illness. They are usually in excellent health, and simply
want a minimally invasive procedure to help manage the normal
effects of aging. The practice environment in aesthetic medicine
is, generally, far more pleasant for patients and the physicians
delivering the care.

medicine services offered through the entity are broadened to
include those furnished by non-physician clinical professionals.
Service Offerings
Although aesthetic medicine procedures are commonly
referred to as "cosmetic treatments," under Pennsylvania
law, any time the skin is penetrated by incision, injection or
abrasion, the procedure is considered a medical treatment. In
Pennsylvania, only physicians or approved licensed allied health
professionals acting under physician, supervision can perform
medical treatments. As such, any aesthetic medicine practice
(a.k.a. "medical spa") offering these services must be owned and
operated by duly licensed physicians. Examples of aesthetic
medical treatments include:
* Injections of Neurotoxins (i.e., Botox) and Dermal Fillers
* Chemical Peels
* Cosmetic Dermatology treatments
* Microdermabrasion
* Body Contouring and Treatment of Cellulite
* Nutrition

Aesthetic medicine can be quite lucrative and represents a
significant opportunity for entrepreneurial physicians and other
healthcare investors. From a physician's perspective, this area of
practice requires careful consideration of the various legal and
business issues that are involved.

* Hair Transplant

This article is intended to provide physicians with an introduction to certain key legal and business issues associated with
the "business" of aesthetic medicine and medical spas, in general.
These issues become more complex as the types of aesthetic

* Scar Management

24 Philadelphia Medicine : Summer 2019

* Hair Reduction/Removal
* Fat Grafting/Platelet Rich Plasma
* Laser and Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
* Venous Treatment
* Cosmetic Gynecology


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Philadelphia Medicine Summer 2019

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