Booming Australian cosmetic surgery industry to be reeled in

As more and more revelations come to light about unsuccessful cosmetic surgical procedures carried out in Australia, state Governments are considering ways to exert more control over the burgeoning industry.

The Queensland Government has now banned all cosmetic surgery for under 18s and the New South Wales Government (NSW) is said to be considering the same action.

Currently in NSW teenagers cannot receive purely cosmetic procedures in public hospitals and must wait until they are 18 before having breast implants but they can have such procedures performed privately by a plastic surgeon.

As from July 1, all teenagers who seek cosmetic surgery will have to wait up to three months as part of a cooling-off period, making it far more difficult for teenagers to emulate celebrities.

The industry has for some time come under heavy criticism for preying on the young and the vulnerable and the tough crackdown on the booming industry will mean cosmetic surgeons who use false or misleading advertising will run the risk of stiff penalties.

Victoria's Health Services Commissioner Beth Wilson wants the State Government to go one step further and investigate the entire cosmetic surgery industry and introduce standards for training, equipment and governance.

At present the industry has no regulations and beauty therapists and nurses need no formal training before using lasers capable of permanently altering a patient's face or body.

A spate of cases involving both doctors and beauty therapists has prompted the calls for action which has the support of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery.

There are reports that a Melbourne beauty therapist disfigured four patients, and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Cynthia Weinstein is currently before the Medical Practitioners Board for performing banned surgery and botching procedures on six patients, and these incidents have served to add fuel to the debate.

The college's dean of medicine Dr. Mary Dingley says it was bad for the industry and dangerous for the public that powerful machines such as lasers can be used by anybody.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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