Cosmetic Surgery – Is More Regulation Necessary?

medical signReports from the British NHS and other governmental agencies signify the need to regulate cosmetic surgery. According to experts, the lack of rules is a “crisis that is waiting to happen.” Plastic surgery is a multi-billion dollar industry that is popular throughout the world. Unfortunately, many patients are not protected as well as they should be.

PIP Scandal

The French-made Poly Implant Prothesis (PIP) breast implants became a worldwide scandal in 2011. It was found that PIP was using industrial silicon instead of medical fillers, making PIP more prone to leakage and rupture. In the UK alone over 50, 000 women already had PIP implants, mostly provided from private hospitals.

The PIP scandal caused government health agencies to pay more attention to the cosmetic surgery industry. These procedures include breast implants, tummy tucks, face-lifts, intense laser pulses, dermal fillers, and Botox.

Normalizing Surgery

In recent years plastic surgery has become a “normal” thing to do, with both men and women more likely to consider them. An array of non-surgical procedures has also made cosmetic intervention popular amongst patients who don’t fancy the idea of surgery. Every year, this industry pumps out dozens of new machines and surgical procedures.

Regulating Difficulty

Since plastic surgery is such a fast growing industry, it is very hard to regulate. Currently government agencies only have time to quality control a portion of the new technologies that are hitting the market each year. Attempts at self-regulation have also failed as many non-tested procedures turned out to be extremely harmful for patients.

Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers are a special cause of concern amongst health officials in Europe. These fillers are injected into the skin to stimulate the production of collagen and remove wrinkles. In the US, there are only 14 types of legal fillers on the market. However, in Europe there are 190 types of fillers and not all of them have been properly tested.

Another problem with dermal fillers is that virtually anyone can establish himself or herself as a practitioner. Even with no previous experience or training, a “doctor” can be licensed to use these fillers. This often leads to faulty surgeries and skin complications.

Training Required

Many governments are pushing for required qualification and training for doctors who perform non-surgical procedures like dermal filling or Botox. In addition, doctors should be required to review the medical/cosmetic records of their patients to see if there is anything that may cause complications during the procedure. Additionally, doctors should obtain certification for each type of procedure that they are administering.

Licensed medical professionals should perform all surgical and non-surgical procedures. Otherwise, patients may suffer complications if treated by an inexperienced doctor. Studies have shown that 9 out of 10 filler complications either needed additional surgery or were too damaged to re-treat.

Future Growth

The plastic surgery industry is expected to grow significantly in the next decade. With more terrible stories arising from this industry, it is vital that governments take steps to protect the patients. Within the next few years we will likely see increasingly strict safety regulations both in hospitals and cosmetic clinics.