Underground Operators Pose High Risk to Patient Safety

Posted on Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) has issued a warning to patients not to put themselves in dangerous situations.  The advice comes in response to news reports about a jewellery store in Springvale Melbourne that was found to be providing beauty treatments such as anti-wrinkle injections and fillers.

“If someone offering cosmetics injectable treatments isn’t being transparent about their business, what else are they hiding?”  Dr Naveen Somia, President of ASAPS, said.

“This story is disturbing on so many levels.  The complete disregard for the rules and the risk to patient safety are frightening.  What the story highlights are when people fail to play by the rules, patients get hurt,” Dr Somia said.

According to media reports, the Department of Health officers were shocked to discover cockroaches among medical equipment in the clinic at the back of the jeweller’s when they raided the store in late May.

“The list of breaches includes poor hygiene standards, possible fraudulent products being injected into patients, questionable training and a lack of qualifications by the person administering the treatments,” Dr Somia said.

This story highlights the urgent need for more stringent regulation in the cosmetic medicine arena — something that ASAPS has been petitioning about Federal and State Governments for several years.

“It often comes as a surprise to people to learn how relaxed our laws are around who can perform invasive medical treatments.

“The unprecedented expansion of the cosmetic industry over the past decade has seen the rise of providers who have moved into the market preying on the vulnerabilities of people seeking cosmetic procedures.  Some offer no-frills services, at what seems to be an affordable cost, but is possible because of severe cutbacks that may compromise patient safety and surgical outcomes.

“While I can fully understand the lure of the cost being the main decision driver for a person in many aspects of life, this should not be one of them.  Compromising on the quality of care due to cost comes with an increased potential for poor outcomes.  Cosmetic injectable treatments being performed by someone without adequate training or in an appropriate clinical setting can have disastrous outcomes.  Risks include skin necrosis, blindness, facial paralysis, and this is all on top of just being disappointed with the results,” Dr Somia said.

The injectable medications commonly considered for non-surgical rejuvenation are S4 medications; this means regulations require a script and doctor oversight.  The procedures should be carried out in appropriate facilities with the necessary equipment to deal with unexpected but rarely severe complications and with practitioners that have the proper training.

“Thankfully, in this instance, the authorities were alerted, and this operation has been closed down.  But it just goes to show that without adequate regulation and enforcement, there are unscrupulous operators who are willing to place patients at risk,” Dr Somia said.


Media contact: Julia Power, National PR and Marketing Manager, 0414 276 990


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