CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dr. Travis Love has a warning for people looking to have cosmetic medical procedures at medical spas or in a physician's office.
Research their outcomes before getting work done there.
"If you go in to see someone who's offering cosmetic procedures and they cannot show you before-and-after pictures of their own personal work, leave," Love said.
Love is a doctor of osteopathic medicine who works at Imagine Medispa, where he does injectable Botox and dermal fillers, as well as chemical face peels and other procedures used to improve patients' looks.
As with medical facilities, the state of West Virginia does not regulate medical spas as an industry, but they do regulate the medical professionals who work in them, Robert Knittle, executive director of the state Board of Medicine, said.
The board oversees medical doctors and physician assistants who perform procedures at medical spas and other facilities, but they don't inspect the facilities, Knittle said.
Across the country, there has been some debate over what regulations should be placed on medical spas, but that hasn't been the case in West Virginia, Knittle said.
"I know, nationally, there have been issues with things going astray with different types of medical spas," he said. "Frankly, we have not had a groundswell of issues and concerns dealing with practices in medical spas."
The BOM receives between 160 and 180 complaints each year about doctors, physician assistants and podiatrists, he said, "but I can't think of any in recent memory that dealt specifically with treatment received at a medical spa," he said.
Evan Jenkins, executive director of the state medical association, said despite the state's not having specific rules regarding medical spas, West Virginia has clear laws about the practice of medicine.
"How a facility is labeled is not as important as the issue of what services are being performed at that facility," Jenkins said. "And we have pretty clear laws about that. If, at that facility, whatever you call it, unlicensed people are performing services that are deemed the practice of medicine, we have clear laws that can prohibit those practices from occurring."
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has regulations that are specific to health-care facilities, Jenkins added. Local health departments also have some authority to inspect health-care facilities.
The cosmetic-procedures industry regulates itself to some degree, Love said.
Companies that sell Botox and filler products won't sell to people who aren't certified to do those procedures.