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Public at risk from unregulated Botox, says independent review

Thu

According to a new review released under NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, people who undergo cosmetic injections to improve their skin have no more protection than someone buying a toothbrush. The filler and Botox market is currently worth almost £3bn, but experts are worried that the ‘explosive growth’ in treatments could be a ‘crisis waiting to happen’ if measures are not put in place to protect patients from unqualified practitioners.

The review, which was set up following the PIP breast implant scandal, calls for greater restrictions on advertising and for all clinics, NHS and private, to publish their complication rates. Dermal fillers are to be made available only through prescriptions and all practitioners have to have proof of their qualifications. Furthermore, it has been suggested that a private ombudsman should be appointed to deal with complaints about private medical care, which includes dermal filler injections.

Sir Bruce said ‘We have heard terrible reports about people who have trusted a cosmetic practitioner to help them but, when things have gone wrong, they have been left high and dry with no help. This needs to change.’

Health minister Dan Poulter was in agreement, saying ‘If anything good can come of the awful episodes like the PIP scandal, it is that the safety of the procedures that people may choose to undergo has been questioned. It is clear that it is time for the government to step in to ensure the public are properly protected. The independent panel has made some far-reaching recommendations – the principles of which I agree with entirely.’

Experts call for regulation on dermal fillers after woman is left temporarily blind

Wed

Following the PIP breast implant scandal, experts have warned that unregulated dermal fillers could cause health complications and advised patients to approach cosmetic surgeons rather than beauty salons for the treatment. A woman from Essex has learnt the hard way that dermal fillers are not as easy to administer as it might seem, after she was left temporarily blinded by the anti-wrinkle jabs.

Mary Catchpole, 42, lost four stone and suffered heart palpitations in the weeks after receiving the filler treatment, which she arranged for two weeks before her wedding and cost her £600 at Courthouse Clinics. Mary, from Romford Essex, now says ‘I regret having it done. My heart was pounding and my vision blurred. I thought I was going blind.’

The mum-of-two went to hospital and was told that her condition was probably a rare allergic reaction to the filler solution; she also had to visit a specialist eye unit and spent thousands of pounds on private treatment to restore her sight and reduce other symptoms. Tests later revealed that Mary had suffered facial nerve damage and her right eye still has blurred vision. Although industry experts recommend dermal fillers should only be carried out by a trained medical professional but Courthouse Clinics maintain that Mary’s case is ‘unique’ and say that they have one of the industry’s best safety records in relation to facial injections.

New regulations for cosmetic surgeons

Wed

Cowboy cosmetic surgeons are going to find it a lot harder to pull in clients after The Department of Health announced a review of the practice to protect women from botched breast enhancements and bad Botox injections. It has been thought for some time that there needs to be tighter regulations surrounding cosmetic surgery, in an industry that sees people administering Botox after just a few hours of training.

The review comes months after the PIP breast implant scandal that affected thousands of women throughout Europe, and it is hoped that a ban on aggressive advertising will stop anything like this from happening again. The Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is also expected to create a compulsory register that should help with monitoring women’s health, which includes surgeons warning patients that breast implants will need to be replaced every ten years. A cooling period should also be suggested to allow people who have booked surgery to rethink and make sure they are making the right decision.

As well as invasive surgical treatments, the big changes will affect inexperienced salon employees and beauticians who have been providing Botox injections, dermal fillers, and laser hair removal – all with very little training or relevant experience. At the moment, Botox can be administered by anyone who has done a half-day course in which they view a demonstration and attempt treatment on a volunteer. The drug is only available through prescription from a doctor but there are very few guidelines on who can supply it and how.

Calls for more regulation in cosmetic surgery market

Thu

Following the PIP breast implants scandal, the Health Secretary has announced a review of all cosmetic procedures, including dermal fillers and breast enhancements. The review will concentrate on areas of quality and safety within the market, and how it can be improved. Regulation is also a serious issue, as Botox injections and facial fillers are not regulated, which means they can be administered by unqualified personnel in unsafe environments.

‘We want to make a proactive opportunity to look at safety.’ Health Secretary Andrew Lansley told Sky News today, adding that ‘The vast majority of practitioners in the cosmetic industry are professional and well skilled – but I’m concerned that the sector as a whole does not have the systems for monitoring the results for patients and alerting us to possible problems.’

Well over a million non-surgical procedures were carried out in Britain last year, and the industry is expected to swell to a £3bn worth before long, as people strive to look younger and more like their favourite celebrities. However, the fear is that there are so many people offering anti-aging fillers without adequate training, that this could be a similar story to the PIP calamity. Watchdog chief Sally Taber spoke to The Daily Star about the lack of restriction on filler injections, saying ‘Unless we get this sorted out, dermal fillers will be the next disaster.’

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