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Making a smooth transition

Dr. Nicolas Maragos retired from Mayo Clinic in Rochester in 2010 after 30 years as a head and neck surgeon. Now he performs aesthetic medical procedures at Refined Skin Medi-Spa in Red Wing. (Republican Eagle photo by Michael Brun)

For most of his 30-year career with the head and neck surgery department at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Dr. Nicolas Maragos helped people get their voice back.

Specializing in laryngology, Maragos said he treated patients afflicted with conditions ranging from neurologic disease to voice paralysis, including 20 years of injecting botulinum toxin — commonly known as Botox — into vocal cords.

Although he retired from his Mayo Clinic practice in 2010, Maragos didn’t stay out of the medical field for long. He now uses his years of experience at Refined Skin Medi-Spa in Red Wing.

“It took my wife nine months before she said I needed another job,” Margaos joked. He joined up with Refined Skin a short time later after speaking with business owner Dr. Kory Tuominen and touring the office located in the St. James Hotel.

“All of the work I was doing was inside people’s skin, so working outside the skin was just an easy transition for me,” Maragos said. “It’s a whole lot easier to inject Botox in facial muscles than vocal cord muscles.”

Although the nature of his work has changed, Maragos said he still finds a similar enjoyment out of helping people gain confidence and feel better about their body.

“They could have been born with a mole they don’t like or lesion, and taking care of that is very satisfying,” he said.

Maragos performs a variety of medical services at Refined Skin, including laser skin-treatments and VASER Lipo — a less invasive form of liposuction that uses ultrasound to loosen fat cells for extraction through a tube.

“The difference is it can be done in the office under local anesthesia,” Maragos said about VASER Lipo, describing the relatively new procedure as a “fine tuning mechanism” for stubborn fat deposits.

“The ideal patient would be somebody who is active and works out, but can’t get rid of a collection of fat in one place,” Maragos said.

It has some of the same risks as traditional liposuction, but they are less likely, he added.

He said one of the biggest differences he’s noticed working at Refined Skin is how immediate the results are compared to his Mayo Clinic practice, especially when using injectables to tighten skin.

“Patients walk out looking a whole lot younger right away,” he said. “It’s fun to see that happen.”

Medi-spas and safety

Medi-spas are a growing business trend combining traditional spa services with certain aesthetic medical procedures at a single location.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery said the number of medi-spas is increasing across the U.S., including into malls, store fronts and salons. But ASAPS says consumers should be wary of practices operated outside of a physician’s office or without doctor supervision, as there are no national standards or oversight organizations in place.

Before undergoing a procedure at a medi-spa, ASAPS recommends consumers get the name and credentials of the doctor in charge. The organization also says to make sure to check the background of anyone performing the procedure to make sure they have experience in the field.

Physician licensure, training and disciplinary information can be found through the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice website at

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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