Lauretta Cheek, former owner of the Altmed of the Triad spa in North Carolina, and charged with a misdemeanor for practicing medicine without a license, has been charged again with 20 felony fraud counts for using a Chapel Hill doctor’s name for trying to get a hold of prescription drugs. Cheek was charged in January for injecting three patients with SilSkin, a non-FDA-approved injectable filler. All three suffered kidney failure as a result of reactions they had to Silskin.
SilSkin is an injectable filler for lips, cheeks, lines, the lower eyes, and for sufferers of HIV who experience facial wasting. It is made from silicone oil. Once the oil is injected, the results are permanent and the filler cannot be removed. Though it isn’t FDA approved, there are some doctors who use it. Keyword: doctors. Lauretta Cheek is not a doctor, nor did she administer the Silskin with a doctor present.
This is simply another cautionary tale about asking your cosmetic surgeon about their credentials. Sure, they probably won’t tell you if they have an addiction to prescription medication, or are selling it on the side. But at least you’ll rest assured that you are in the hands of a professional cosmetic surgeon. This is also a story about where patients go to obtain their cosmetic work.
While many cosmetic surgeons run their practice like a spa because this is what sets patients who are spending a lot of money at ease, there is a difference between perception and reality. Just because the place looks like a spa, doesn’t necessarily make it so. Or, as Paulette Aga, an esthetician at Beneficial Skincare in Clemmons, N.C. says: “There is a difference between a spa and a medical spa, and that’s something the client and the consumer need to be aware of.” Aga goes on to state that, medspas “are in a gray area of regulation in North Carolina” and that the consumer needs to be sure the treatments they are going to receive are legitimate and safe. The key is to ask questions.
Asking questions is definitely something you’ll want to do if you are interested in cosmetic surgical procedures. While you may have noticed the local BOTOX® center down the road, and it looks all right, you need to do research to make sure everything is copasetic. Or check out several cosmetic surgeons in your area by visiting their websites. The best and most experienced expect you to ask questions. They also use only FDA-approved products.
If you are interested in cosmetic surgery, please contact an experienced cosmetic surgeon in your area. A little research on your part can go a long way to protecting your later health.