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Spa 'teamwork' can foster mutual rewards


Dr. Maloney
Los Angeles — Medical spas are the fastest increasing segment in the spa industry and plastic surgeons should consider establishing relationships with their neighbors in the spa industry to reap the mutual benefits, says Brian Maloney, M.D., facial plastic surgeon and president of the Maloney Center, in Atlanta.

The medical spa industry has doubled in size in the last five years and will double again in the next two years, according to the International Medical Spa Association.

The time is ripe with possibilities for doctors and estheticians who are eager to work together, Dr. Maloney notes.

Skincare business

"Skincare treatment is complicated. Most patients do not fully understand it and neither do many plastic surgeons," he says. "Many of us are used to surgery and that is it. Once you sit down and discuss skincare treatments with an experienced dermatologist you realize how complicated it can be."

Times have changed in the industry and surgeons who make an effort to keep up are in a position to benefit.

"It used to be that plastic surgeons provided surgery and once the staples were removed that was it," he says. "However, now we have advanced to a point where other significant benefits are offered. Aligning with experienced dermatologists and estheticians can be an invaluable resource."

Surgeons are often faced with the dilemma of hiring an esthetician or aligning with medical spas in their regional area.

"If you hire an esthetician to work in your office be aware that then your practice will be looked at as a competitor by the medical spas in the community," Dr. Maloney explains. "Estheticians value their patients just as much as surgeons value theirs."

Dr. Maloney says that networking and establishing relationships is the way he likes to go.

"I feel it is a conflict of interest for plastic surgeons to sell so many skincare products in the office. Patients come to us for our surgical expertise. We do surgery there and then we discuss the current theories on aging and sun damage. I go over the various classifications of products, but leave the product-specific discussions to the experienced estheticians and dermatologists."

He recommends seeking out estheticians and other professionals who are committed to their patients, who value patient education, as well as skincare treatment in general.

Building relationships

Assembling a good local network takes time and can be a very slow process.

"Many plastic surgeons like instant gratification, and sometimes these relationships take time to blossom," Dr. Maloney says.

"It's important to give these relationships time and attention. As with life, relationships are one of the hardest things. They require attention and nurturing to continue, or they will not blossom."

Dr. Maloney adds that he often speaks with estheticians who are eager and excited to work to build relationships with plastic surgeons.

"I advise surgeons to look for respected estheticians and leaders in the community. If a doctor is too controlling and thinking me-me-me all of the time, collaboration with a spa owner will probably not work out. But if he or she is interested in a win-win situation and is looking to build a 'team atmosphere' with the medical spa owners then it is more likely to work," he says.

Surgeons should approach respected spa professionals in a diplomatic and friendly way.

"Some spa owners are very established and may have big egos. They want to know what will be provided for them, too, and how the situation will work to their benefit as well as yours," he says.

Networking and taking the time to establish a local team of experts will benefit patients as well as your practice, Dr. Maloney concludes.

"It is worth the time and effort. You just have to be patient."

Disclosure: Dr. Maloney reports no financial interest in this article.

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