Do you know what your practitioner is injecting in your face when you’re asking for filler? Do you know if what they are using has been approved for use in Australia? I recently heard on ‘the vine’ that a practitioner is offering cheap fillers – so how do you know what you’re getting? Well apparently these ‘fillers’ are coming from a third world country and have no approval here in Australia – what’s happening here? Who can you trust?

More Australians than ever before are undergoing cosmetic procedures. Whether that be cosmetic surgery or less invasive treatments such as fillers or laser, the numbers are ever increasing at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, along with these rising numbers, there are also more and more reports of dodgy jobs and completely unacceptable results; not to mention an increasing number of deaths. However, it seems consumers are just not getting the message. We spoke to Dr Robin Chok, Cosmetic Surgeon from the Regenesis Clinic in Kent Town, Adelaide to weigh in on the discussion. “It takes more than just injecting fillers into people to get a good result. It’s combination of good craftsmanship and good tools that result in a good face and good results consistently.”

A recent media release from the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) suggests people spend more time researching their hairdresser than they do a cosmetic practitioner. And it’s at the risk of having dire results.

Consumers need to be reminded that undergoing a cosmetic procedure is a serious decision to make and should not be taken lightly. There are risks associated with any surgery or treatment and putting your appearance, and life, in the hands of someone unqualified seems completely ludicrous. Not only are you dicing with death, but the very real possibility of serious disfigurement and ongoing issues for the rest of your life. Whilst this might be pointing out the worst case scenario, believe us, it is happening not only all over the world, but all over Australia.

Whether it be burning your skin from overexposure to a laser; injecting too much of a low grade filler and causing infections and whatever other side effects; or having your heart stop because you’ve been given the wrong dosage of a cocktail of anesthesia and sedatives and you’re not in a hospital so your caregivers don’t have access to the necessary means by which to deal with the situation; not giving proper thought and research into your treatment, procedure or practitioner can seriously change the course of your life. We are not talking about deciding on a new pair of shoes here. We’re talking about your body, your health, and even life or death.

So, what can you, the consumer, do to ensure you are at the hands of an experienced, qualified practitioner or surgeon, with relevant and suitable experience to minimise your risk of being in harm’s way?

Check the Practitioner’s Credentials

What training have they had? Where did they undergo this training and who was it with?
What qualifications do they hold? Are they registered with any recognised industry bodies? Can you see before and after photos of previous patients? Do they have any reviews (and on the reviews, are they real?)?

Dr Chok warns, “One of the things that we’ve seen and it is becoming widespread ‘underground’ where there are some beauty places around Australia where untrained, non-registered medical personnel have been injecting fillers and botulinum toxin imported from overseas into unsuspecting customers. It’s just a matter of time before more disasters will be the result.”

Dr Chok recommends any customers to do their research in terms of making sure you go to reputable practitioners who are using Australian TGA approved and registered products with the proper training to ensure safety and good results. “Do your own research look up the practitioner if they are registered, if they are currently registered with no limitation on their registration, and you always have the right to ask the questions.”

What Product Will You Be Having Put In/Used On Your Body?

  • If it’s a breast implant… what implants will be used? Research these implants. Make sure the brand is specified on your paperwork and documentation so that you have a copy.
  • If it’s a laser… what laser will be used and what settings will the practitioner be using? Have you discussed in detail what your desired results are? You might want to ask if you can have a patch test to see if your skin has any adverse reactions.
  • If it’s a filler… what filler will be used. Research this filler. Is the practitioner suitably qualified to give this filler to you? Have you seen the box with the branding?

Dr Chok says, “Australia is a very controlled market in terms of any injectable product – it must be approved by the TGA before it is actually legal to be used on anyone in Australia. Any doctors, beauticians or nurses importing product independently without TGA notice is doing so illegally and this is very, very dangerous. We have seen disastrous results – take the example of the nurse that injected into the glabella of a young man and caused blindness. Turns out the person was not even a registered nurse with no supervision from any doctor and she injected him with a product that is an unknown substance imported by her from China – the result was tragic. This young man lost sight in one eye. It is not reversible.

“Unfortunately lessons that have been learnt overseas: even South Korea which has the biggest cosmetic surgery industry in the world has seen a dramatic increase in filler mishaps over the past 5 years; from poor technique and materials which should never have been injected into the area it is.

“It’s like we’ve all heard of cases in South America & Mexico where non-medical products have been injected into someone’s butt, such as concrete! To the unsuspecting customer they could have been injected with anything from cooking oil to industrial silicone, and also up to the point of concrete mix, with disastrous results, resulting in people having strokes to actual loss of limbs.

“In Asia & Europe there is a huge influx of counterfeit botox and fillers that are pushed into the market – and sometimes being substituted for the real thing, so essentially how do we know – if the price is too good to be true – watch out, it’s probably not true.”

Where is the Procedure Being Performed?

If it is surgery, you want to make sure the clinic or facility, often called a day surgery, has appropriate equipment or measures in place for any emergency situation.

If a clinic, is it clean and what are the other staff like? You will have to use your intuition with this, but be reminded that if you are choosing somewhere because it offers cheaper prices, you may be signing up for less than desirable results.

“Illegal backyard beauty parlours to spas are offering fillers at cheap prices. Recently there have been three cases where people have been hospitalised because of an infection from being infused with an unknown substance within the infusions,” Dr Chok says.

We have some awesome cosmetic surgeons and practitioners listed on our pages – check them out here. And remember, if you are looking for any procedures or treatments make sure you do your research, are aware of any pros, cons or risks of anything you are choosing to undergo, and realise the importance of choosing the right person to do the right job.

Oh, and if in doubt, give us a call! We may be able to guide you in the right direction.

Trish

Trish is a plastic surgery blogger. She is passionate about wellbeing, health and beauty, and doesn't mind a little bit of 'help' from the amazing cosmetic and beauty procedures that are available today. Trish spends her days talking to women and men who are looking for suggestions and advice on procedures that are available to them. Cutting through the sales pitch and hype, a down-to-earth response on general information is what you will get.

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