Minor Cosmetic Services Deemed Safe, BUT . . .

November 7, 2014

More and more OB/GYN practices are supplementing their medical services with aesthetic services. New data show they are safe, but there's a caveat.

Perhaps not a trend but certainly more common is the expansion of services-namely aesthetic-offered at OB/GYN practices. Some of the more popular services seem to be injectable neurotoxins or fillers.

These popular noninvasive and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures are safe, with very few adverse events occurring, researchers reported in JAMA Dermatology. However, this safety determination is based on board-certified dermatologists performing the procedures.

Pertinent Points

- Popular cosmetic procedures are safe, with very low adverse event rates occurring, when performed by board-certified dermatologists.

- The adverse event rates are unknown when these procedures are performed by physicians with specialties other than dermatology.

The study followed the outcomes of patients who had minor cosmetic procedures performed by board-certified dermatologists. The research focused on common cosmetic offerings, including those that utilized laser and energy devices and injectable neurotoxins and fillers.

Researchers collected data from eight cosmetic dermatology centers over the course of 13 weeks. More than 20,000 procedures were included in the study, with only 36 procedures resulting in at least one adverse event, translating to an adverse event rate of just 0.18%. All total, there were 48 adverse events, with an associated adverse event rate of 0.24%.

The most common adverse events reported were minor and involved lumps or nodules, persistent redness or bruising, skin darkening, and erosions or ulcerations, the authors reported. These problems tended to resolve quickly, and there were no serious adverse events reported.

Procedures involving the cheeks were the most likely to result in an adverse event. Nasolabial and eyelid procedures were the next most common to end in an adverse event, the authors said.

“In the hands of well-trained dermatologists, these procedures are safe, with aggregate adverse event rates of well under 1 percent. Moreover, most adverse events are minor and rapidly remitting, and serious adverse events were not seen. Patients seeking such procedures can be reassured that, at least in the hands of trained board-certified dermatologists, they pose minimal risk,” the study concludes.

The study design did not include physicians who are not board-certified dermatologists, although other physicians, including OB/GYNs, are known to provide many of these common aesthetic procedures. The adverse even rate for such procedures performed by OB/GYNs is unknown.