The Medical Board of Australia, after consultation with the industry, professionals and community, has finally issued guidelines for medical practitioners performing cosmetic surgery and treatments. These address the growing concern for a massive increase in reports of poor outcomes from surgeries and treatments by a select few cosmetic practitioners. Yayyyy this is wonderful news for the consumer!!!
The new guidelines will be applicable to cosmetic surgeons, aesthetic practitioners and plastic surgeons. They include a one week cooling off period for all adult patients considering a major procedure, and a 3 month cooling off period for under 18’s who will also be required to have an evaluation by a psychologist, general practitioner or psychiatrist to ensure they are undergoing the procedure for the right reasons.
One of the really important guidelines introduced is that the clinic or facility where a procedure is performed and a patient is being given sedation, anaesthesia or analgesia must have the appropriate provisions and equipment to deal with an emergency. However, better private health facility licensing is still being called for. The current situation is that almost anyone can open a facility and start offering non-surgical treatments. The guidelines also stipulate that the medical practitioner must take responsibility for post-operative care. Two Australian women have died in the last decade from undergoing liposuction procedures where the facility where they had the procedure done was not able to cope with the complications, or postoperative care was not sufficient. Several others have been rushed to hospital and thankfully lived to tell the tale.
There are also mandatory consultations before any patient is allowed to receive cosmetic injectables to ensure expectations and desired results are made clear and practitioners are also required to provide patients with more detailed outlines of costs.
Unfortunately it has taken years of botched jobs and some serious and devastating results for dozens of patients before these guidelines were introduced. Because of the speed in which cosmetic treatments have increased in popularity and quantity of technologies on the market (injectables, lasers, implants, etc. etc.) has skyrocketed, it has taken regulatory bodies a bit to catch up. These guidelines are only enforcing what has been recommended for the last five years or so by the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.
ACCS (Australian College of Cosmetic Surgeons) president Dr Ron Bezic said that the new guidelines were a win for patients. “Our College was the first to establish a code of practice. Many of the provisions of that code are also now reflected in the new guidelines.
“Patients will benefit particularly from the improved informed consent provisions. Cosmetic medicine and surgery are almost always self-referred, and there is a greater need for the stronger informed consent guidelines announced today by the Medical Board of Australia,” Dr Bezic said.
With Australians spending up to $300 billion annually on anti-wrinkle injections, we agree that this overhaul of the industry is much needed and will hopefully provide some safeguards and better outcomes for patients.
As we always remind you, make sure you check out any practitioner’s qualifications and experience before undergoing any treatment or surgery with them. We also suggest you check out our blog on Injectables and Fillers which gives you a rundown on what to look for when considering one of these treatments.