Review into cosmetic surgery industry launched led by NHS Medical Director
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Home > News > Government launches review into the cosmetic surgery industry

16th August 2012

Government launches review into the cosmetic surgery industry

During the recent scandal surrounding breast implants, the government promised to carry out a review into the cosmetic surgery industry.

The review's remit will be to make sure that the cosmetic surgery industry is focused on patient safety and care, as well as the safety of products used in cosmetic procedures.

Patients undergoing cosmetic surgery should be provided with sufficient and accurate information before making the decision to proceed, including whether the person carrying out the procedure has the appropriate qualifications. They also need to know what aftercare is provided by the clinic, particularly when problems arise as a result of the procedure.

Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of the NHS who is leading the review, said at the launch that he was concerned that “too many people do not realise how serious cosmetic surgery is and do not consider the life-long-implications - and potential complications - it can have”.

New legislation of cosmetic surgery

The reviews' findings could recommend new legislation to regulate clinics as well as setting minimum qualifications required for those who carry out procedures such as breast implants.

It will also consider whether the industry, often criticised as exploiting vulnerable people, uses aggressive advertising methods which need to be controlled.

Introduction of an implant register

The introduction of an implant register will also be considered. This would ensure that all devices used in cosmetic procedures would be routinely registered and patients could be contacted quickly. Many private clinics had not kept records of which patients had received PIP implants.

The register would also cover devices such as metal-on-metal hip joints which have also recently been found to cause problems to patients.

Scheme to protect cosmetic surgery patients

A further measure could be the compulsory introduction of a scheme, such as already exists in the travel industry, which would provide patients with protection should they experience post-procedure problems and the company providing their procedure has collapsed.

Regulation of minor cosmetic treatments

Whilst the government review is focusing on the more serious cosmetic procedures, such as breast implants and other invasive surgery, there are calls for tougher regulation to also be imposed on cosmetic treatments such as anti-aging fillers (dermal fillers), botox injections and laser treatments. Currently no qualifications are required to administer these so-called minor procedures so they can be legally injected by anyone and only basic safety checks are required.

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