Some ob-gyns switching to cosmetic medicine clinics

Some ob-gyns, as well as other physicians, recently have left their specialties to practice cosmetic medicine, including acne treatments and Botox injections, at medical spas, the New York Times reports.

According to the Times, the cosmetic medicine field is attractive to some ob-gyns and other physicians because it normally results in same-day payments because treatments are not covered by insurance, and it allows doctors to set their own hours and avoid emergency calls.

Robert Huckels - vice president of marketing for MedSurge Advances, a Dallas-based company that provides cosmetic medicine training and equipment - said, “It works well for emergency room doctors seeking less stress and for gynecologists who already have a ready-made female audience.”

A survey published in the July issue of Modern Healthcare magazine says that obstetricians earn $219,000 to $302,000 annually. Huckels said physicians recently have increased their concern about income, especially as malpractice costs have risen, adding that the average medical spa brings in $40,000 per month, the Times reports.

Cosmetic medicine “is another part of women’s health that we can contribute to without managed care telling us that they are going to pay us $90 per visit, regardless of what gets done during the visit,” Oyenike Kilanko - an ob-gyn who in January opened a Dermacare Laser and Skin Care Clinic franchise in New York City with another ob-gyn - said.

Some doctors have criticized the practice, saying cosmetic treatments cannot be safely preformed by physicians without special training in dermatology or plastic surgery, according to the Times.

Some doctors from other fields entering cosmetic medicine say the cosmetic procedures are less complicated than caesarean sections or other procedures.

In addition, they say they can learn the fundamentals of cosmetic medicine in continuing education classes, the Times reports (Singer, New York Times, 11/30).

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Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD