Whilst we are believers that real beauty lies within, statistics show that Australians are image obsessed. We are now spending more on cosmetic injections, fillers and surgical procedures per capita than our American counterparts. For instance, Australians spend approximately $300 million per year on Botox/anti-wrinkle injections.

Despite its obvious popularity and acceptance in our society, there is no question that cosmetic surgery is by the far the most unregulated area of medicine. Consumers are unknowingly deciding to go under the knife, without knowing that their ‘plastic surgeon’ may lack any experience or could be a serial offender of unprofessional conduct.

On 9 May 2016, The Medical Board of Australia announced that it would be releasing new guidelines for treating doctors performing cosmetic procedures, which will take effect on 1 October 2016. This crackdown includes the following new regulations, which will apply to all procedures that involve piercing/changing the skin, or those that change the position, texture or appearance of a patient’s body parts:

  1. Children planning plastic surgery will be subject to a three-month cooling off period before going through with it. They will also be obligated to undergo and pass a mental health check.
  1. Adults are not spared from independent evaluations and will be required to consult with a GP, psychologist or psychiatrist before undergoing any major cosmetic surgery.
  1. Adults will also be subject to a seven-day cooling off period before major procedures.
  1. Any doctor prescribing anti-aging injections or fillers shall be required to consult with the patient before the procedure is performed. This will be mandatory.
  1. Patients that choose to undergo these procedures must also be provided with detailed written advice about the costs of the procedures.
  1. Doctors must ensure that after-care is available to patients and emergency facilities during the surgery.

Ultimately, these guidelines provide a safeguard to patients and if a doctor fails to meet them, they will be called to account for their actions.

Important questions need to be asked prior to meeting a plastic or cosmetic surgeon so that you can be prepared and fully informed of what is set to happen. These questions could include:

  • What are your qualifications? How many years experience do you have?
  • How many times have you performed this particular procedure?
  • Have you performed this procedure in the last six months? If so, was this procedure successful?
  • What kind of complications could arise if I go through with this procedure?
  • Will I need to take time off work?
  • What are the after-care requirements associated with this procedure?
  • Will I be able to contact you after the procedure if there are any complications?
  • Do you have any before and after shots that I could look at?
  • Are there any post-operative side effects?
  • What will happen if the surgery is not successful? How would you deal with this if it occurred?
  • Where will the surgery take place?
  • Will you be performing the surgery?
  • Is there any visible scarring? If so, what can I do to minimise this?
  • What are the costs of this surgery?
  • Will there be a qualified Anaesthetist present during the surgery? If so, will their fees be included in the treatment costs?

If you have suffered injury because of a cosmetic procedure that went wrong and would like to know if you have a claim contact our medical negligence team on 1800 250 1800 to speak to one of our friendly experts, or make an online enquiry for a free no obligation assessment of your claim.

Written by Vladana Vracar.

Vladana Vracar is a Solicitor in Julie Mahony’s Practice Group.  Vladana primarily assists Julie with medical negligence cases including representing patients who have suffered negligent cosmetic procedures.