BACKGROUNDThe regulation of medical spas (med-spas) in the United States varies considerably from state to state with important ramifications for patient safety.OBJECTIVETo describe the current state of med-spas in the United States and degree of medical oversight in these facilities.MATERIALS AND METHODSDescriptive study based on web search and standardized phone interviews of med-spas in the most heavily populated cities in each state of the United States. Information obtained included the following: whether medical directors were listed; if so, whether they were advertised as being on site; medical directors' training and board certification; and services offered.RESULTSOf 247 medical spas reviewed, 72% advertised a medical director on their website, and 6.5% claimed that the director was on site. Of listed medical directors, 41% were trained in dermatology and/or plastic surgery. In phone interviews, 79% of med-spas endorsed the medical director to be board certified, and 52% stated that the medical director was on site less than 50% of the time.CONCLUSIONThere is significant variation in medical directorship and oversight among medical spas in the United States. Appropriate regulation of medical directors' training and the degree of oversight provided are warranted to optimize patient safety.
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