Medical Board warns about lasers and injections without doctor supervision
They are all the rage for people hoping to lose weight fast: so-called lipolasers and fat burning injections.
But the state's top medical watch dog says they can be dangerous in the wrong hands. In an undercover investigation, News 4 Trouble Shooter Jaie Avila shows us what to look for to stay safe.
Weight loss lasers and fat burning injections can be expensive. If you come across a med spa offering those treatments at an unusually low price it might be because they aren't supervised by a doctor, which is required in the state of Texas.
Our undercover producer took a hidden camera to a business offering low price Groupon specials on weight loss laser treatments and fat burning injections.
The woman who books the appointment instructs us to text her when we arrive so she can unlock the door and relock it behind us. In the lobby, there are no signs of any supervising doctor, but the woman assures us she's qualified.
“I'm not a dietician or a nutritionist but I do develop a health and weight loss plan for you,” the woman tells our producer.
Then she shows her the Zerona laser she uses to melt away unwanted fat.
“It’s non-invasive, painless, takes no recovery time. You just lay there under the light and you don't feel anything," the woman says.
Next the woman shows us the needles she uses to give injections of vitamin supplements.
“You do the shots, right?” our producer asks.
The woman replies, “Yes, I do everything here I'm the owner and operator."
We interviewed two former customers who both filed complaints with the Texas medical board after paying the woman hundreds of dollars for laser and injection treatments. The women say they were never seen by a doctor and suffered exhaustion and joint pain after the appointments.
“I was just so drained. I could barely walk. I think if you had touched me I probably would have fell," says former client Jose Ochoa.
Texas regulations require a physician supervise the use of even low power lasers. The person actually performing the treatment must be a licensed nurse or physician assistant.
The woman operating the business we visited, Christina Alanis, does not appear on the state's list of licensed providers.
When I contacted Alanis, she gave me the names and license numbers of a local doctor and physician assistant she claims supervise her clinic. However, when I contacted the people she named, they said they did not know Alanis and have no connection to her clinic.
When I tried to ask Alanis about that she did not return calls or emails.
State rules prevent the Texas Medical Board from revealing whether they're investigating a business. But the executive director tells us it does have the authority to investigate such complaints.
“We can issue what is called a cease and desist order we can also notify law enforcement if someone is practicing without a license. If it is a physician that is just improperly delegating to their employees and mid-levels, that's something else we can investigate and potentially take action on," said Steven Brint Carlton.
“You think you're saving money but you're not in the long run, because your heath is so important," said former client Linda Batot.