Top 10 tips to maximize the patient experience with injectable fillers

Top 10 tips to maximize the patient experience with injectable fillers

In the medical aesthetics industry, what you don’t know can hurt you, and if you’re new to the business, there is a lot you don’t know. The laws to which cosmetic surgeons and other medical aesthetics professionals are beholden vary from state to state, and they are typically quite complex. Failure to understand and observe these statutes might result in catastrophic consequences, so it is in your best interest to engage an experienced healthcare attorney as soon as you can.

Out of the Gate

Cosmetic surgeons and other medical aesthetics professionals can fall victim to legal stumbling blocks before their practices are even out of the starting gate. For example, a medical aesthetics practice’s ownership structure must conform to its state’s regulations that govern the ways in which a medical facility must be owned and operated; treatments must be administered according to state laws regulating supervision and delegation; and the manner in which the practice compensates its employees must conform to its state’s rules regarding fee-splitting— diverting part of a patient’s payment to an entity other than a physician or a physician-owned corporation. Violating any of these rules can result in licensure penalties and fines, which can cripple a medical aesthetics practice.

This might seem like a lot to take in, but if you engage an experienced, attentive healthcare attorney early in the process of creating a medical aesthetics business, you can avoid these obstacles. An attorney will typically tell you that it costs at least twice as much to fix a problem than it does to prevent that problem from happening in the first place. So although it might seem like hiring a legal professional is an unnecessary expense at a time when a business is likely on a tight budget, it will almost certainly result in significant savings over the life of the practice.

Staying Safe

Several types of situations cause problems for medical aesthetics professionals who haven’t consulted a healthcare attorney. For example, a person who wishes to open a cosmetic surgery practice may attempt to partner with business people and/or doctors in order to get the practice off the ground. In cases such as these, an attorney should help draft the partnership documents. As a general rule, attorneys consider the worst possible outcome for each situation and then draft documents to protect their clients as much as possible in the event that outcome occurs. When creating partnership documents, a lawyer will typically consider what would happen if the partners don’t want to be partners anymore. You wouldn’t necessarily consider such situations when things are going well, but they definitely need to be addressed, because if things suddenly aren’t going well, you’ll want to know what recourse you have and what you stand to gain or lose.

All this legal work needs to be undertaken as soon as possible. It does a practice owner or operator no good to ask an attorney to solve a problem like this after it arises. At that point, there’s only so much that can be done.

Get It Done

If you are thinking about opening a cosmetic surgery practice, you owe it to yourself to consult an experienced healthcare attorney who is deeply familiar with your state’s laws as soon as possible. In the long run, it will very likely save you a great deal of money and aggravation.

Alex R. Thiersch, JD is a Chicago healthcare attorney who represents medical spas, plastic surgeons, and aesthetic medical professionals. He is the founder and director of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa), which was created for the express purpose of providing comprehensive, relevant and timely legal and business resources for medical spas and medical aesthetic physicians throughout the United States. For more information about becoming a member or to learn about AmSpa’s upcoming events, log on to www.americanmedspa.org. Alex can be contacted at alex@americanmedspa.org

In 2015 there were over 2.5 million injectable filler treatments according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. In addition, this number has grown dramatically over the past 15 years, up over 250%. Yet the number of Botox injections far exceeds the number of filler procedures, well over 6 million. This is despite the fact that filler injections often provide a more dramatic correction and are typically much longer lasting.< So why is this? While I have not seen a scientific study, patients on a daily basis express concern about the injectable filler ‘experience’. They often have a story of an extremely painful injection treatment, or one that left a bruise for weeks. Unlike a Botox injection, which can be done over a lunch break with minimal downtime, the filler treatment raises the specter of a traumatic treatment session that requires a prolonged recovery.

For injectable fillers to develop the popularity of the neurotoxins, physicians and paramedical personal must work on improving the injectable filler experience. In that vein, here is my ‘top ten’ list to maximize your patient’s experience with injectable fillers.

1. Prepare the patient — From pre-op instructions to evaluation and discussion of the treatment plan, a prepared patient is more likely to be a happy patient

2. Numbing cream — No single item has improved our patient experience as much as the right numbing cream; find it, use it, and please don’t charge for it!

3. Pick the right filler — This could be an article in itself, but oh what a problem the wrong filler in the wrong spot can be — know your fillers

4. Take your time — This is especially aimed at surgeons like myself. This is not a 10 minute procedure. Taking your time means less swelling, bruising, discomfort and, most importantly, better results

5. Cannulas — If you are not a believer, you should be

6. Be prepared — Emergencies happen, make sure your filler emergency is nothing more than a close call and not a serious filler complication

7. Ice/pressure — This routine has so many benefits

8. Ocumend gel pads — Even if you are an Arnica skeptic, you and your patients will like these

9. Show them what you have done — Impress them with your good work after the injection by showing them in a mirror

10. Follow-up — As with all medicine, this completes a great experience for everyone and gives the patient a chance to ask questions.

Mark Hamilton, MD, FACS is double board certified in otolaryngology and facial plastic surgery