Plastic surgery has grown into a billion dollar industry, with thousands of Australians electing to go under the knife every year. Before undergoing plastic surgery, it is critical to find the right plastic surgeon for you.
Undergoing a procedure with an unregistered plastic surgeon is dangerous, and has often lead to botched plastic surgeries with serious consequences for those involved.
If you are considering plastic surgery, or have recently undergone a cosmetic procedure, read on to find out more about identifying unregistered plastic surgeons and what to do if you have visited one.
The surge in unregistered plastic surgeons
More and more backyard beauty parlours and salons are now practising plastic surgery, with many untrained beauticians performing procedures without doctors or nurses on site. This growing wave of dangerous behaviour has prompted many doctors to speak out and issue warnings about the dangers of unregistered plastic surgeons.
NSW’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeremy McAnulty, has warned that ‘[Unregistered cosmetic surgery] places people at greater risk of poor surgical outcomes, severe infections and even nerve damage or disfigurement’. Dr McAnulty has particularly warned of the ‘great risk’ of unregistered procedures such as botox, dermal fillers and eyelid surgery. Both botox and dermal fillers can only be administered by a medical practitioner or a nurse under the supervision of a doctor.
NSW president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Saxon Smith, has echoed the calls of caution, stating that ‘when if comes to cosmetic surgery performed by an unregistered practition, it is not worth risking your face over’.
In one case, a victim of a double eyelid procedure performed by a backyard beautician was left with one eye larger than the other and faced with several months of waiting to find out if she had suffered permanent damage. Other cases have also reported contamination of equipment due to poor hygiene and lack of sterilisation, which has increased the victim’s risk of transmission of bloodborne viruses and other infection. In more serious cases, these surgeries have even resulted in death.
Qualifications that a plastic surgeon should have
You should always ensure that your plastic surgeon is qualified to perform plastic surgery. In Australia, all plastic surgeons must have successfully completed training at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) before they are approved by the Government to perform plastic surgery.
You should also ensure the plastic surgeon is experienced in the particular type of procedure you wish to undertake, as some procedures may be new or may require certain expertise.
How to spot an unregistered plastic surgeon
The surgical setting is often a good indication about the legitimacy of the surgical practice. Many unregistered plastic surgeons operate out of carpeted living rooms, with patients being set on beds or couches. If your procedure is taking part in a residential apartment, this is a clear sign that the plastic surgeon is unregistered.
The price of a procedure can also be a good indication, as the price of unregistered plastic surgeons are marginally less than fully qualified surgeons. While many people wish to save money by opting for an unregistered surgeon, the risks do outweigh the small difference in price. Remember that plastic surgery is an elective procedure, not an emergency procedure, and you should only elect to undergo the surgery if you can afford all the relevant fees and costs of a qualified plastic surgeon.
Lastly, the platform in which the plastic surgeon advertises their practice should be considered. Many unregistered plastic surgeons have been known to predominantly target Asian Australians and recent Chinese migrants, particularly through the social media platform of WeChat.
What to do if you have visited an unregistered plastic surgeon
For those who had cosmetic surgeries that did not go according to plan, a medical negligence claim is a means of receiving compensation for the negligent actions of their plastic surgeon. How much compensation you can receive for the harm caused by your plastic surgeon will vary depending on your individual circumstances, and are calculated based on the amount of harm you have suffered.