Ahead of the Curve

At Coastal Spa MD, the physicians and nurses give patients a new lease on life by helping them both look and feel their best.

By: Kathleen Naderer
Photos by: Darklab

Tucked inside Crossroads Shopping Village, Coastal Spa MD provides cutting-edge aesthetic care for the Coastal Bend. Started a year ago as a side project by four coworkers, Coastal Spa MD is the only aesthetic spa in town with three physicians and an advanced practice nurse on staff.

The team consists of Drs. Mark Wilson, Anna Hagler and Mary Lou Roper, and Ashley Wilson, all of whom specialize in anesthesiology. Despite running a successful new business, these four highly trained professionals continue to practice fulltime at the same local hospital where they first met.

Their years of experience giving patients injections, nerve blocks and intravenous central and peripheral lines at the hospital have given them a solid foundation in aesthetic procedures. What began as performing aesthetic injections for family and friends soon led them to realize their expertise could benefit the greater Coastal Bend community.

“In the anesthesia field, we see firsthand what people go through during surgery and invasive procedures,” Ashley Wilson said. “What some people don’t realize is that there are many safe, non-invasive or minimally invasive alternatives that may be able to accomplish what they are looking for without surgery and anesthesia.”

The final deciding factor to form their own private practice came with their discovery of CoolSculpting. CoolSculpting is an effective FDA-cleared, non-surgical, non-invasive process of contouring a person’s body by freezing away unwanted fat.

“Coolsculpting was an idea for a little side business,” Roper said. “I originally called about the technology on a whim … then [ZELTIQ] called me back because they really wanted someone in the area. I knew I was too busy to do it by myself, but it’d be possible with some folks working together, and the spa just grew from there.”

Although managing their own business has presented challenges, the team agrees that it has been an overall positive learning experience. “Every time you overcome a hurdle, you have a sense of accomplishment,” Hagler said. “You’re dealing with clients in a market that changes all the time. We have to stay on top of the newest releases in product and the newest advancements in equipment in order to keep providing our patients the very best.”

The team at Coastal Spa MD prides themselves on their ability to stay ahead of the curve by researching the latest products, technology and techniques in their field. In addition to offering the highest-quality injectables, including BOTOX Cosmetic and Juvéderm, they carry two lines of physician-grade skin-care products: ZO Medical and Neocutis.

The team was the first to bring platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to Coastal Bend aesthetics patients. PRP uses a patient’s own growth hormones to rejuvenate areas of the body. Other services they offer include microneedling, Ultherapy (a non-invasive facelift) and various laser procedures for skin resurfacing, hair removal and acne treatments.

They are also one of the only places in the area to offer IV Nutrition Therapy, a method of delivering vital nutrients, amino acids and minerals directly to a person’s body via the bloodstream. This technique has been shown to provide strength and support for allergies, fatigue, dehydration, depression, lowered immune system, athletic performance and more.

Most of all, Coastal Spa MD prides themselves on their hands-on involvement and their patient retention. Developing a personal relationship with patients is an aspect of spa business that they truly enjoy. “We’ve got a small place here,” Mark Wilson explained. “It’s not a factory. We don’t try to shuffle tons of people in and out of here. Instead, we try to develop a long-term relationship with those people.”

“In anesthesia, we see the patient awake for a very short amount of time, and then we put the patient to sleep,” Ashley Wilson added. “What makes this place special to me is the continual patient interaction. Once patients come for the first time, they tend to come back again and again!”

Although some people may have a preconceived notion that aesthetics has direct ties to vanity, the Coastal Spa MD team knows that aesthetic procedures affect more than just the outside appearance of a person’s body. These types of procedures can greatly improve a person’s self-confidence and self-esteem, giving them a new lease on life.

Clients range from an older person wanting to age gracefully by reducing the appearance of fine lines, to a groom using BOTOX injections so he doesn’t have to worry about sweating through his suit during his wedding, to a woman gaining enough self-confidence from CoolSculpting to wear a swimsuit for the first time in her life, and beyond.

“When you can show patients a non-invasive or minimally invasive procedure that can completely change what has bothered them for years, their whole face just lights up,” Ashley Wilson said. “It’s beautiful to see that you can improve someone’s self-confidence by making a small aesthetic change.”

Although immediate gratification is typical for aesthetics, a handful of procedures and products can take a little longer to show dramatic results. But providing safe, medically grounded options for clients is the priority at Coastal Spa MD. By focusing on the total wellness of a person rather than a single aspect, the team is able to help clients both look and feel their very best.

As the demand for this type of aesthetic care grows, Coastal Spa MD will continue to grow with it. They have recently added a registered nurse aesthetician – Skylar Smith, BSN, R.N. – to their staff, and they plan to continue adding new services, with even more wellness options, in 2018.

Meet the Team

Mark Wilson, MD
Mark Wilson grew up in in England before moving to California at age 12. He attended medical college in Wisconsin and completed his residency in anesthesiology at the University of New Mexico before moving to Corpus Christi in 2002. He has practiced cardiac anesthesia fulltime in the Coastal Bend since 2003. Corpus Christi is now truly home to him, his wife, Ashley, and their two children. He serves as the medical director for the spa.

Anna Hagler, MD
Originally from Poland, Anna Hagler immigrated to the United States after graduating from medical school in 2005. She completed an anesthesia residency at Dartmouth, as well as a fellowship at Harvard, and worked as an assistant professor at the University of California Davis. She and her husband, a native Californian, chose to move to Corpus Christi because of its friendly community and proximity to the water.

Mary Lou Roper, MD
A native of Houston, Mary Lou Roper had a background in physiology and kinesiology – which she used at NASA to help prevent astronauts from deconditioning due to space flight – before she pursued anesthesiology. After completing her anesthesia residency at Johns Hopkins, she and her husband moved to Maryland. Roper grew tired of the biting cold, however, and was eager to return to Texas when the opportunity arose in 2000.

Ashley Wilson, MSN, CRNA
Born and raised in a small town in Louisiana, Ashley Wilson is a nurse anesthetist, an advanced practice nurse. After graduating with her master’s of nursing science from LSU Health Science Center in 2010, she moved to Corpus Christi for her first anesthesia job. It was here she met her husband, Mark, and she now happily calls the city home.

If you would like Coastal Spa MD to help you make a change in the New Year, visit www.coastalspamd.com or call 361-336-6464 to learn more about their services or to schedule an appointment with a practitioner.