Bodies donated to medical science being used to improve safety for people having treatments at local beauty parlours
Beauty therapists helped dissect a human head and inserted needles into its face during a course at Newcastle University
They learned about the structure of the skin, ligaments and fat deposits
But critics claim that it ‘beggars belief’ that bodies donated for medical study should be used in such a way
Bodies donated to medical science are being used to train beauticians, it has emerged.
During a course at Newcastle University, beauty therapists helped dissect a human head and inserted needles into its face.
The two-day event was designed to improve the safety of patients, many of whom pay hundreds of pounds to have Botox and other wrinkle-busting treatments at their local beauty parlour.
But critics claim that it ‘beggars belief’ that bodies donated for medical study should be used in such a way.
One said: ‘A human cadaver donated to a university should only be used for scientific and medical development by professionals who have earned the right to dissect it respectfully and not for probing by non-medics such as beauticians.’
Beauty therapists helped dissect a human head and inserted needles into its face during a two-day course at Newcastle University (file picture)
Facial fillers, increasingly popular injections which plump up the skin, fill in wrinkles and crow’s feet and create younger-looking cheeks and lips, can also be administered by beauticians.
But with potential complications ranging from swelling and bruising to blindness, some argue the treatment should only be given those who are medically qualified.
The course was commissioned by training academy, Cosmetic Couture, which run by Maxine Waugh, a female boxer who says it is wrong for doctors to try to monopolise the beauty industry.
She argues that experienced and highly-trained beauticians are experts in the facial muscles, skin and ageing.
Therapists who attended the course learnt about the structure of the skin, ligaments and fat deposits while watching the dissection.
They did a ‘limited amount’ of dissection themselves and inserted needles to probe the thickness of the skin.
Antonia Mariconda, of campaign group Safety in Beauty, said: ‘Donating a body to science is such a sensitive issue that you would not expect a beautician to be prodding and probing your face further her tricks and skills to enhance people’s faces for vain reasons.’
Fazel Fatah, a consultant plastic surgeon and former president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: ‘A cadaver dissection course geared towards non-medics beggars belief.
‘This is nothing but an abuse of donated cadavers whose study is meant to promote health and science – not the opposite, by ‘training’ unqualified people in subjects that could easily lead to endangering a vulnerable public.’
Julian Baker, the anatomy expert who ran the course, said that in the absence of tighter regulation of the industry, it is important to make treatments as safe as possible for patients.
Mr Baker said: ‘We have to be careful of damning people who are trying to advance their knowledge.
‘The bottom line is that they are trying to improve safety for the patient.’
Botox has to be prescribed by a doctor but it can be injected by anyone who has done a short training course. The trainees who attended the course learnt about the structure of the skin, ligaments and fat deposits while watching the dissection (file picture)
He added that the cadaver used in the session will also be used in many pieces of medical research and it is important that the row doesn’t detract from the valuable work done by the UK body donation programme.
A spokesman for Cosmetic Couture said: ‘The two days provided an invaluable resource for a small number of practitioners to study in depth the nerve structures of the face and to ensure that the highest level of safety and protection is offered to clients undergoing cosmetic procedures.
‘The utmost respect for the donors and donor families was presented as a prime concern in this class.’
While the public often think that bodies are donated for medical research, donors actually agree to anatomical examination, as well as scientific studies, education and training.
Newcastle University, which provided the cadaver and the premises, said it is ‘indebted’ to those who bequeath their bodies.
Dr Debra Patten, the university’s director of anatomy, added: ‘While predominantly our body donors are used to deliver anatomy teaching to medical, dental, speech science and speech therapy students, we also deliver anatomy teaching to paramedics and physiotherapists and to other practitioners who require knowledge of anatomy and physiology.’