LONDON – A special edition of the journal, Clinical Risk, published by the Royal Society of Medicine, looks at how the combination of an under-regulated market, “professional greed”, increased marketing and overwhelming media hype have created a “perfect storm” that threatens patients and practitioners alike. The journal’s editor argues that cosmetic surgery patients in the UK are at more risk than ever before.
In one paper, entitled ‘Clinical Risk in Aesthetic Surgery’,
He adds, “There has been a massive increase in ‘marketing’, including discount vouchers, 2-for-1 offers and holidays with surgery! In no other area of medicine is there such an unregulated mess. What is worse is that national governments would not allow it to happen in other areas of medicine. Imagine a ‘2-for-1’ advert for general surgery? That way lies madness!”
Clinical Risk in Aesthetic Surgery:
– “Perhaps, like tobacco, there should be a Europe-wide ban on advertising all cosmetic ‘surgical’ procedures, including on search engines…”.
– “If we have to sell anything, we should sell our advice, not procedures. If we cannot self-regulate, then, like the financial institutions, regulation will eventually be imposed…”
– “All cosmetic treatments are medical interventions, and every medical intervention has a complication and failure rate. Consequently, there are no ‘consumers’ or ‘clients’ but only ‘patients’…”
– “Perhaps the single most important factor in reducing clinical risk in cosmetic surgery is the motive for performing any procedure must never be financial gain, so I suggest we get our act together as an industry as we are in grave danger of biting the hand that feeds us.”
France Sets Standards for Practice of Aesthetic Surgery: French consultant plastic surgeon,
– Surgical procedures can only be undertaken by surgeons who are registered specialists and deemed competent. Possession of a general medical degree, and the fact that the practitioner is ‘experienced’ are not deemed to be sufficient qualifications
– A ban on all forms and methods of publicity and advertising, direct or indirect, in whatever form, including the Internet
Minimizing Risk in Aesthetic Surgery: Foad Nahai, President of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS) and former president of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) describes how to minimise risk in each facet of ‘the safety diamond’: patient, facility, procedure and surgeon.
He tells readers:
“Regulations governing the training of all cosmetic surgeons are sorely needed. Governments are reluctant to become involved, as they see this issue as a ‘turf battle’ between various physician groups and not a public safety or patient safety issue. However, there is no question that this is a patient safety issue of paramount importance and I take our governments to task for not addressing it.”
– Since by law any physician is allowed to practise cosmetic surgery, attempts by individual physicians or plastic surgery organisations to restrict those who are not qualified is viewed as a restraint of trade.
Improving the Safety of Aesthetic Surgery: Recommendations Following a 14-Year Review of Cases to the Medical Defence Union (1990-2004): Consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS Secretary,
Managing Risk to Reputation:
The journal Clinical Risk aims to give both medical and legal professionals an enhanced understanding of key medico-legal issues relating to risk management and patient safety, through authoritative articles, reviews and news on the management of clinical risk. The AvMA Medical and Legal Journal and the Healthcare & Law Digest, both included within Clinical Risk, contain articles on current medico-legal issues and reports on a wide range of recently settled clinical negligence cases.