herald

Wednesday 20 September 2017

What you need to know about the lax rules of cosmetic surgery

The uproar over the ease with which faulty implants were used on women in Europe has focused attention on the rules governing the wider cosmetic surgery industry.

Worryingly lax, according to many experts.

Any doctor or dentist holding a basic medial degree, with no further training or specialisation, can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon.

They may legally operate on patients in Ireland as long as patients consent to it. Smaller clinics offering less invasive procedures routinely use GPs or nurses.

Injectable fillers are less regulated still. There are about 160 fillers licensed for sale that can be used by anyone.

There are thought to be thousands of beauty therapists offering to perform the procedure with only minimal training.

Most fillers are not classified as medicines but as medical devices. As long as they meet basic manufacturing standards and safety tests they can be legally sold across Europe.

Unlike medicines, they do not need to undergo clinical trials.

The treatment is a prescription medication in Ireland, and as such, Botox has to be administered by a doctor or dentist.

Across the water, the Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said 40pc of its members have been contacted by a patient who has experiences problems with permanent facial fillers.

Many were so bad they needed surgery to correct.

Unqualified practitioners administering fillers incorrectly was cited as the main reason.

The cosmetic surgery industry wants all fillers classified as medicines, meaning they would have to undergo much more rigorous tests.

They also say only qualified medical practitioners should carry out injections.

They have asked for regulations to be introduced so that only a qualified surgeon on a specialist register with the Irish Medical Council, permanently resident in Ireland with 24-hour, seven-day-a-week medical and nursing back-up and performing all operations in a regulated medical environment, should be allowed to practise here.

Draft EU rules say only doctors should be allowed to inject fillers. The industry says nurses should be allowed to do so as well.

hnews@herald.ie

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