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Spas speed healing process

Article-Spas speed healing process

Colorado Springs, Colo.— Spas aren't just for pampering patients. Increasingly, medical spas are considered a crucial component for maximizing results of cosmetic procedures.

Dr. Saltz
Renato Saltz, M.D., a plastic surgeon in private practice in Salt Lake City and associate clinical professor, University of Utah, opened Spa Vitoria about two years ago. It's quite likely the only medical spa directly supervised by a board-certified plastic surgeon in his community.

Dr. Saltz says, "I always wanted a place where my patients could be taken care of in the early postoperative period. For example, if you do liposuction, they are swollen and bruised. We have some superb lymphatic drainage massage therapists here in our clinic. So, the second day after surgery, they start opening the lymphatic channels and helping the lymphatics to drain all the swelling. Having a medical spa component to the practice has helped the patients a lot in the immediate postoperative period."

It also gives Dr. Saltz excellent follow-up opportunities.

"If a patient has a facelift today," he explains, "she'll come back in 48 hours to get her face massaged. She'll also have some makeup done so the bruising will be hidden. Patients love that. Psychologically, it helps them a lot. Physiologically, it helps, too, because there's less swelling, bruising, edema and pain. It all goes together. So some of us are incorporating these medical, nonsurgical treatments for our surgical patients with very good results."

He offers the following guidelines for setting up in medical spa:

1. Keep staff in the clinical loop

"It's important they understand that this is really related to your practice," Dr. Saltz explains. " They're here to help my patients before and after surgery. Before surgery, we start treating their skin and preparing them for surgery. If they're going to have a major liposuction, they'll go through a nutritional consultation, and they'll start exercising. Then, after surgery, you can improve their swelling and bruising, and you go back to the skin care and nutrition issues so you not only enhance the results but help maintain them."

2. Capitalize on synergies

In this regard, he says, "My clinic is on one side of the building and the medical spa is on the other." This way, a patient returning one week post-procedure for a checkup can then immediately be whisked into a treatment room for a lymphatic massage.

"It allows us to do this back-and-forth flow," Dr. Saltz says. "Also, the massage therapist has been in the OR and watched the operation. So they're very familiar with what happens."

In fact, all of the spa's therapists (certified massage therapists, certified lymphatic drainage therapists, makeup artists and master aestheticians) observe procedures in the operating room. Therefore, they are knowledgeable in all plastic surgical procedures, invasive and noninvasive, and can better treat, advise and watch for potential complications with patients.

3. Be hands-on

"Patients will come to your spa if they know there's a doctor around," Dr. Saltz notes. "It's a unique situation here in Utah, because there's probably no other medical spa with a plastic surgeon around. Your credibility is right on the line. And you need to be involved 100 percent. So if you want to start (a spa), I strongly recommend building all the attributes of the medical spa around your practice and your training in plastic surgery."

4. Educate your community

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