In a past blog post on the PIP scandal, I worried that the Government was failing to act on a potential health time bomb when they advised the many thousands of UK women affected by PIPs that there was no need to remove them unless there was a suspected rupture.
Out of the PIP scandal, Sir Bruce Keogh was instructed by the Government to lead a far-reaching study of the cosmetic surgery and aesthetics industry and there were high hopes that some much-needed regulation would be introduced.
Safety in cosmetic surgery should be paramount
Although myself and many of my plastic surgical colleagues did not agree with every recommendation set out in the Keogh Report when it was eventually published, there were some excellent ideas on how the Government could start to regulate the ‘Wild West’ cosmetic surgery industry.
Last month, the Government published its response to Sir Bruce Keogh’s report and, worryingly, it looks like this whole experience has been a wasted opportunity and that the public still aren’t being protected properly.
Dermal fillers are often seen as the next crisis waiting to happen and I have seen patients at my Leamington plastic surgery clinic seeking treatment for less than satisfactory or even botched procedures.
The Government has agreed to introduce legislation to make it illegal for anyone to inject dermal fillers without the correct training, but I don’t believe that this training will bring non-surgeon practitioners up to a level that properly protects a patient’s safety. Furthermore, the register of non-surgical practitioners will not be compulsory and those giving the injections only need to be ‘overseen’ by a practitioner with the necessary level of qualifications. I believe that allows a lot of scope for corner cutting and abuse.
One way to overcome the problem could be to make dermal fillers a prescription-only drug, just like Botox. This means that only medical practitioners with the necessary qualifications would be able to inject; this covers plastic surgeons, dentists, doctors and nurse prescribers. This was certainly the recommendation of many plastic surgeons at the time of the report, but this avenue of action has been ignored.
Advice from Leamington cosmetic surgeon Mr Richard Matthews
So, how can patients protect themselves? My advice is not to be seduced by cut-price deals or too-good-to-be-true offers. Be aware that it remains illegal for an injector to personally advertise their use of Botox to the general public. Seek treatment from a medical practitioner who has the necessary qualifications and experience to not only ensure you get the best results possible but also to manage any potential complications.
I often find that my Leamington dermal filler patients were previously unaware that dermal fillers and Botox are treatments that many cosmetic surgeons offer (the latter legally declared as a ‘wrinkle-relaxing procedure’), either as a standalone procedure or as an adjunct to cosmetic surgery. A consultant-level cosmetic surgeon with many years’ experience, such as myself, will definitely represent a safe bet to those considering an aesthetic treatment.