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Thinking about cosmetic surgery? Read this first

Regulations around cosmetic surgery are about to change

Doctors performing cosmetic surgery will soon need to follow strict rules after a safety crackdown by the Australian Medical Board.

The new rules mean that anyone wanting major surgery will have to wait for a “cooling off period” of seven days before undergoing surgery. This applies to breast augmentation, breast reduction or nose jobs.

Anyone under 18 will need to wait even longer – at least three months before undergoing surgery – plus they will also be required to undergo compulsory counseling.

However, the new rules only apply to qualified doctors – and do little to regulate the innumerable beauty therapists and nurses who routinely provide botox and other cosmetic procedures.

Australians spend $1 billion a year on cosmetic surgery – and the industry has long been criticised as being under-regulated.

Unlike plastic surgery, which requires years of training, “cosmetic surgery” is not recognised as a separate area of medicine in Australia. This means anyone with a medical degree can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon – even if they have no specialist surgical training, or even comprehensive training in the procedures they’re performing.

In the booming nonsurgical area of chemical peels, laser treatment and Botox, practically anyone can inject unsuspecting customers. As a result, the number of complaints is booming. Between 2008 and 2012, complaints to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission doubled for example.

The Australian Medical Board crackdown comes a few years after the death of two young women. In 2009, 26-year-old Lauren James died after poor follow-up care after liposuction. The previous year a 28-year-old woman from Adelaide died after suffering from a flesh-eating infection following liposuction.

Thinking about cosmetic surgery? If you are undergoing major cosmetic surgery, ensure your doctor is a fully licensed plastic surgeon and a member of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). If they are, they will have (FRACS) after their name. 

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