More than 300 cosmetic surgeries in Australia have been botched in recent years, leading to calls for stricter regulations for doctors.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has raised concerns about doctors calling themselves cosmetic surgeons after uncovering an alarming number of ailments.
In response to a recent parliamentary inquiry, the AHPRA announced that it had received 313 notifications of cosmetic surgery that had a complication or injury in the past three years through June 2021.
Complaints have been filed against 183 surgeons following procedures ranging from tummy tuck, breast augmentation, face lifts, liposuction, and eyelid surgery to non-invasive treatments like dermal fillers and anti-aging injections.
Almost 40 percent of the complaints were directed against plastic surgeons, which is why there were calls for better regulation of cosmetic surgery by doctors.
Doctors in Australia can call themselves cosmetic surgeons without being registered as a specialist surgeon or undergoing training accredited by the Australian Medical Council.
The President of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery and Medicine, Dr. Patrick Tansley, called on the federal government to set up a national register to accredit cosmetic surgery doctors.
“The Australian Government’s accreditation in cosmetic surgery will greatly reduce the number of botched procedures that take place each year as all practitioners who attempt to perform them will be required to undergo special training and demonstrate specific competencies in the field,” he said.
“If you don’t do this, you can’t use the title of ‘cosmetic surgeon’.
“This solution couldn’t be clearer and safer. All skilled surgeons who perform cosmetic surgery and are concerned about patient safety should welcome its introduction.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has been asked to comment.
National regulator AHPRA is participating in a parliamentary investigation led by Greens Senator Janet Rice, recently extended for four months following allegations of cosmetic surgery in an investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Four Corners program of ABC had been collected.
A health regulations advisor told the Four Corners program that Australia’s multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry is “like the Wild West, but without the sheriffs.”
Australian Associated Press