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We heard recently about the death of a beauty therapist in Sydney who died after receiving a lethal dose of anaesthetic during the intent to inject filler into her breast. The cosmetic industry is a multi billion dollar industry but local doctors are concerned that procedures carried out by unlicensed practitioners can have dire consequences. Local doctors are particularly concerned about those who are unlicensed carrying out procedures. Dr Glenn Murray is an Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery Medical Fellow and says it’s vital that any such procedures are carried out under the supervision of properly trained doctors.
Who are the people conducting these surgeries, where are they from?
It’s not just surgeries, it’s injectables as well. We’re hearing more stories of fly in fly out doctors or nurses or even just individuals who have no medical training, and we’re not sure where they come from but with cheap airfares is we’re seeing it more and more.
They are coming because there is a demand for their services and are they able to undercut the considerable expense of having these kinds of procedures done locally?
That’s a very good point, I think they do under cut but not always. Often the salon etc. is getting a kick back. I noticed a spike when the Australian dollar was high and we were hearing stories of people being lined up in a room and having a Doctor or whoever, jabbing them in the forehead- one after the other.
Have you noticed it significantly in Western Australia?
Probably not as bad as Sydney. In Sydney, we hear stories of people having cosmetic surgery in hotel rooms. But it is on the rise here. People take relaxers and fillers too lightly. The big problem with the Sydney death is that people though it was a boob job, but it was a filler and what killed her was the sedation and the local anaesthetic. When you have someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing you can have a disaster, and we have.
When you talk about Relaxers and filler being taken too lightly, what do you mean by that?
I think the problem is you can see it on “Scoopon” etc, and the medical board frowns upon that. When people see it on “Scoopon” right above a beauty salon they think it’s something like waxing, it’s not. It’s an S4 medication and it does take skill to inject. At a recent conference I went to, there was a big discussion about people going blind after fillers. It’s like being on a jumbo jet. If you are with a good pilot, on average you have a very low risk of anything going wrong. But if you’re on a jumbo jet and the person flying has no qualifications, a disaster will happen.
Do you think that for people who go in for relaxers and fillers, that there is too much in the industry of people offering those services that are not telling them that expertise is required and consequence?
I agree. It does flabbergast me. The consequences are mentioned everywhere. I had a lady come to me just this this morning and she said, “I had this done, I have lumps, I don’t know what I had, I don’t know who did the procedure and it was done at a friend’s house”. We hear stories of people having dermal fillers etc. performed in a garage or laundry and they know they have been foolish when it goes wrong. I think not enough is being done to educate people as these are medications and are regulated by the government. You are supposed to be a licenced practitioner to use them. It’s not like getting your legs waxed.
Please do your homework when booking in for a cosmetic procedure, surgical or non-surgical. We are well-known for warning people about the risks of going overseas for surgery, but there are also risks associated with going to an underqualified practitioner in Australia.