Health Minister Mark Butler has vowed to take urgent action to clean up the out-of-control cosmetic surgery industry and clamp down on doctors who call themselves cosmetic surgeons but don’t have proper surgical training.
In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and 60 Minutes, Butler said he was “appalled” by a video of TikTok star Dr Daniel Aronov slicing a woman’s abdomen while she was awake, then holding up a giant flap of skin like a trophy.
“This is an industry that needs to be cleaned up,” he said. “It started to resemble the wild west with these cowboys prancing around, pumped up with their own sense of celebrity on social media, wreaking havoc on patients who frankly have been misled about their qualifications.”
The Labor Party, Coalition and regulators have known about these so-called cosmetic cowboys for years but have failed to act. Over the past 10 months, this masthead has received hundreds of emails and calls from patients of cosmetic surgeons sharing stories of punctured lungs, nerve damage, chronic pain, hospitalisation and psychological damage. Some almost died.
Former health minister Greg Hunt established a review into the use of the term “cosmetic surgeon” in November 2021, following an investigation by this masthead into the disturbing practices of the country’s biggest cosmetic surgery clinics run by Dr Daniel Lanzer, who has since retired.
But, almost a year on, nothing has happened.