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Buyers Beware

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh’s remarks reported on the Sky News site are hardly news to those of us in the industry that have spent many years, sometimes 10 or more, training in surgical disciplines. Given that there has been a complete absence of regulation it is perhaps a surprise that more disasters have not occurred.

Whilst the cosmetic use of Botulinum Toxin has yet to result in a fatality, we have seen cases of skin death from overzealous use of dermal fillers and some cases of bowel perforation in liposuction. Junior surgeons are exposed to clinical cases in a stepwise fashion under the responsibility and direction of a senior and experienced colleague. Greater complexity and responsibility are allowed only when ready to move on to the next level. Perhaps a slightly negative view, but we are also taught to consider what might possibly go wrong before even starting. This enables both avoidance of ‘worst-case’ scenarios and preparation in the rare event of occurrence. It is perhaps no surprise that cosmetic practitioners run into difficulties after a weekend or even just a day’s training course.

It has also seemed a complete anachronism that anybody can set themselves up with the label ‘cosmetic surgeon’ and simply begin practicing: in this case, it truly is ‘practice’ and the patient is left very much at the sharp end. Last year saw a particularly bad example whereby a ‘cosmetic doctor’ with a Harley Street clinic and regular TV show found himself under a GMC suspension for inadequate safety during invasive procedures and financial inducements. As his own CV details that the prime training received was as a GP it really is a case of ‘buyer beware’. And we look forward to the final report being delivered at the end of April.

Click here to view the Sky News Article: In the press Monday 1st April, 2013