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Respected medic Max Malik hit out at the shocking lack of regulation, which means that people who are not medical professionals can legally offer treatments. Despite the risks, the industry is now worth nearly £3billion – double what it was 10 years ago – as people turn to new, noninvasive procedures such as injectable fillers and fat freezing, instead of old-style surgeries like face lifts and liposuction.
A BBC documentary, TheTruth About… Cosmetic Treatments, has lifted the lid on the risks involved in the industry.
Dr Malik told the show’s co-host Dr Michael Mosley that the number of botched jobs he has had to correct “are in the hundreds”.
He said: “Why are nonmedical people allowed to do these treatments and then we have to pick up the pieces?
“In some countries, only doctors are allowed to do it, and in some countries doctors and nurses are allowed to do it. But in no country to my knowledge, in any part of the world, is just anybody allowed to do it.
“Why are we the only country that thinks we do not have to protect our public and patients with legislation?”
Procedures that go wrong can leave customers with serious side effects, including permanent disfiguration and even blindness when fillers are incorrectly injected into the blood vessels around the eye.
One patient, Emma, who first got filler injected into her lips in 2016, told the two-part show: “A colleague at work recommended this lady. I was there five minutes and I was out.
“I left, went home and had swelling straight away. I tried to get in contact with her and she told me to put a bag of peas on it, that it’s normal.”
When Emma returned to the practitioner she injected her three more times to “even the lips out”, meaning Emma was given more filler than her lips could handle.
She added: “I’ve got a lot of scarring where the pressure has been on my face.”
Host Dr Mosley said: “There are plans to regulate fillers as medical devices from this year, which should make the fillers them-selves safer, but that still won’t change the fact that anyone can administer them.
“I’m really shocked by the lack of regulations – and I’m afraid that means if you are going to have fillers you are going to have to do your own research.
“I would certainly recommend that you check out the qualifications of the person who is about to stick a needle in your face.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The Government is committed to improving the safety of cosmetic procedures. Anyone considering such treatments should take the time to find a reputable, safe and qualified practitioner, and make sure they understand the impact on their physical and mental health.
“We’re considering options to help people make informed decisions about cosmetic procedures, including introducing age restrictions on certain cosmetic treatments and improving safety through better training for practitioners.”
The Truth About… Cosmetic Treatments, Tuesday at 8pm on BBC One.
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