Lindsay Bramson joined News4 in June 2016 as an investigative reporter. She currently specializes in consumer issues.

It's Valentine’s Day and no doubt some of you got gift cards to med spas. With more than 50 of them in the city, they've become popular for cosmetic procedures like Botox. But are they as safe as going to a doctor?

Consumer Investigator Lindsay Bramson checked it out.

The pursuit of youth is the storyline for plenty of comedies like Sex and the City and movies like Just Go with it. However, it’s also the cause of real life horror stories.

Botox, filler injections and laser treatments. If botched they can have these kinds of results.

“It's buyer beware,” said Nashville Dermatologist and Plastic Surgeon Michael Gold.

And med spas are popping up all over Nashville.

But what exactly is the difference between a med spa and a dermatologist or plastic surgeons office? Often times both offer the same kinds of services.

Here's the difference.

Procedures at med spas can often be cheaper. The law states every licensed med spa has to have a medical director. But the News4 I-Team uncovered that medical director doesn't even have to be in the spa.

Bramson asked,“Would you say you're just as qualified to do Botox as the dermatologist or plastic surgeon down the street? Absolutely. Plastic surgeon’s own med spas and dermatologists own med spas…we're all doing the same thing,” said Maegan Griffin who owns Skin Pharm. 

Griffin’s spa is one of 51 licensed medical spas in Davidson County. Everyone who works there is a nurse practitioner and is qualified to do Botox and lip injections.

In Tennessee you have to be a nurse to do Botox or lip filler. If you're just a getting facial, an esthetician can do that.

Dr. Gold is often used as an expert witness in lawsuits involving med spas. He says he's seen places not following the rules.

Bramson asked, “Are med spas dangerous for consumers? The right med spa is not dangerous for consumers,” said Dr. Gold.

When it comes to med spas, what should you look for?

Complaints on med spas aren't public but complaints on the doctors who run them are. So before making that appointment, look up the history on that doctor, their disciplinary record and whether they're licensed with the state.

Knowing the sensitive areas getting treatment....

“I definitely think it can be scary, “said Kailey Hall, a patient at Skin Pharm.

Do your homework and complications that could last a lifetime won’t happen to you.

You can click here to search for any doctor or med spa in Tennessee.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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