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Dermal Fillers: Lack of Regulation Poses a Real Threat to Patient Safety
  • Apr 29, 2020
  • Latest Journal

by Dr MJ Rowland-Warmann

BDS (Manc) MSc Aes.Med. (QMUL) PGDip Endod. (Chest) MJF RCS (Eng)

Non-surgical treatments such as Botox and fillers account for nine out of 10 procedures and are worth £2.7billion [1].

Whilst cosmetic surgery numbers are static, there has been an explosive increase in the UK’s non-surgical treatment market, with Botox and Filler treatments becoming ever more popular.  This has coincided with the rise of social media and many younger patients are now seeking non-surgical procedures, seeing these as inexpensive and quick fixes added to their beauty regimes.  Botox and dermal fillers have become the social norm and whilst a wide range of ages are seeking treatment, there are serious risks to patients due to the almost completely unregulated nature of the non-surgical aesthetic industry [2].

The main problems in aesthetic medicine leading to litigation include failure to adequately consent the patient including warning the patient of the possible risks, dissatisfaction with the cosmetic outcome, and complications arising from treatment [3].  However, due to lax regulations surrounding the type of practitioner who can inject, in addition to the broad range of products on the UK market today, patients are at increasing risk of coming to harm.

Regulation in the UK
The HEE and Keogh reports into non-surgical cosmetic practice found that in 5 key areas, namely Botulinum toxin, dermal fillers, peels, laser and IPL there is almost no regulation, leaving patients vulnerable, but also that there has been varying standards of care in key elements such as practitioner competence, consenting and complication management in cosmetic treatments [2, 4].  Figure 1 illustrates the various procedures.  Neither product, practitioner nor premises have a requirement to be proven safe.

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Article by Dr MJ Rowland-Warmann
BDS (Manc) MSc Aes.Med. (QMUL) PGDip Endod. (Chest) MJDF RCS (Eng)