Cosmetic surgery is a booming business. In the UK alone, it’s worth £300million per year, and in the US, that figure reaches the billions. Cosmetic surgeries are used to improve your appearance in some way, and they can either be purely for aesthetic purposes or to improve the appearance of your face or body following an accident or injury.
The most popular cosmetic surgery is Rhinoplasty, also known as a “nose job”, while breast implants, face lifts, liposuction, tummy tucks and Botox/fillers are some of the most common surgeries available. Although cosmetic surgery is now almost as commonplace as getting a haircut or getting a facial, the industry is still not as regulated as it should be.
The director of the NHS, Bruce Keogh, says that better regulation and protection is needed for consumers of cosmetic surgery after a recent report found that minor procedures such as administering Botox or using dermal fillers are being performed more and more frequently by individuals who are not registered or licensed to use these products.
As such, more and more consumers are experiencing adverse side effects after these seemingly minor procedures, without knowing where to turn for help or compensation.
I’m one of these people. I was invited to a beauty event at my local hair salon, where a “Doctor” was offering lip fillers with haircuts and a free glass of bubbly, promising that it would be a “great girl’s night out”.
To start with, it was a great night – I loved my haircut and was enjoying the wine. The next day, however, my lips were swollen, tingling and bleeding. Cracks had appeared at the corners of my mouth and in the centre of my lips and it was painful to eat and drink.
One of my girlfriends also suffered an adverse reaction to the fillers and was left with lips that were swollen to double their normal size.
A little research after the event told me everything I needed to know – the guy that had administered the fillers was not a doctor, and I couldn’t find any medical information on him. He had no documentation or certification and was clearly just an unlicensed practitioner.
The latest government report found that Botox and other fillers can be bought online, and that you don’t have to be a registered clinician to administer potentially harmful fillers.
There is also no guarantee that the fillers are actually what they are supposed to be when bought online and so people like me actually have no ideas what is being put into our bodies – and we also have no guarantee that these so-called licensed practitioners actually know what they are doing.
The cosmetic surgery scare doesn’t end there.
The PIP breast implants scandal, whereby a certain type of breast implant was found to be faulty after being manufactured with the wrong type of silicone, causing implants to explode in some women and causing swollen, tender breasts and puckering in others, demonstrated that we can never really be sure that the medical products and procedures that we undergo are safe.
That’s why it’s incredibly important that people learn how to choose the right cosmetic practitioner, and how to avoid non-licensed practitioners. It’s also why I wanted to tell my story, to raise awareness of the issue and to prevent women like me experiencing horrible side effects after undergoing a seemingly harmless procedure.
So How Can You Choose the Right Practitioner?
Choosing the right practitioner isn’t as difficult as you might think – you just have to do your homework. If you’re undergoing an implant procedure, research the types of implants that are available. Look into the manufacturers of the implants and research what the fillers are made of, as well as how successful the implants are and how long they are likely to last for.
Look to case studies and if you can, find out whether or not anyone has suffered any adverse side effects to those implants. Your doctor should give you information about the different types of implants available, and whether one type is more successful than the other.
Choosing a licensed practitioner involves checking their certifications.
A licensed, trusted practitioner in the US will be a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. In the UK, a licensed practitioner will be a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. In general (laws do differ) an individual has to be a member of either one of these associations in order to administer any type of surgery, including seemingly minor procedures such as Botox.
In the UK, it is not illegal for a licensed beauty therapist to administer Botox or dermal fillers, although it is not recommended. There are no laws in place to prevent it, and there are no laws in place to prevent anyone from administering these fillers.
Although there are no laws in place to prevent this, it’s important that you only choose a licensed doctor or plastic surgeon in order to prevent any potential problems.
The BAAPS recommends that you choose licensed practitioners simply because they will be able to intervene if anything goes wrong during the procedure, whereas an unlicensed practitioner or just an individual administering fillers at a party – like the guy at the hair salon – will not have the medical knowledge required in order to intervene.
Beauty therapists will have more knowledge than an unlicensed practitioner, but it is still better to err on the side of caution and choose only a licensed practitioner.
Unlicensed practitioners may well try to lure you in with special offers and discounts, as well as “girl’s night in” type events that you and your friends could attend. Unfortunately, many women and even men are drawn in by these types of offers and as such are at risk of sub-standard care.
Although licensed practitioners will be more expensive, you cannot put a price on your health – so spend the extra money.
Getting Help if You Need it
If you’re the victim of medical negligence relating to cosmetic surgery by an unlicensed trader, or even if you’re the victim of negligence by a licensed surgeon, you can get help. Appointing a medical negligence lawyer specializing in cosmetic surgery claims will enable you to pursue a claim for medical negligence.
If you’ve been injured or have suffered an illness as a result of the negligence of anyone, licensed or not, you deserve help and you may even deserve compensation – so don’t be afraid to ask for it.
This was a guest post by Richard Rhodes, more suitable for UK audience. I have no expertise in verifying/attest to the facts and advice here. At most this post can only be taken for entertainment purpose only.