In a bid to increase the safety of patients and create a more regulated industry, the Australian Medical Board has issued new guidelines for cosmetic surgery.
Cosmetic surgery is a burgeoning business all around the world as both men and women strive to delay the signs of aging, remove or reduce traces of physical imperfections, and increase their level of self-confidence.
It's no different in Australia, where people are spending more than Americans are for, say, face lifts. The problem is that it is one of the least regulated industries in the country, increasing the risk of so many patients becoming victims of botched surgeries.
This has prompted the medical board to issue stricter guidelines on cosmetic procedures.
"The guidelines will help keep patients safe, without imposing an unreasonable regulatory burden on practitioners," said Dr. Joanna Flynn, board chair.
The guidelines aim to protect patients under 18 years old by requiring a cooling period of three months for major surgeries and seven days for minor surgeries.
Patients also need to undergo a mandatory psychological assessment that may be conducted by either a psychiatrist or a general practitioner. Likewise, a seven-day cooling period is necessary for adults before going through major surgeries.
Meanwhile, medical practitioners are required to be more specific in terms of costs and getting written consent, and conduct a mandatory consultation before injectables are prescribed, although such appointment may be done face to face or online.
Lastly, the burden of post-operative care is passed on to the practitioners, who need to see to it that emergency facilities are available once the patient is under anesthesia or sedation.
The Australian College of Cosmetic Surgery (ACCS), a non-profit college for cosmetic and plastic surgeons, among others, has welcomed these guidelines, which shall take effect on Oct. 1.
"Patients will benefit particularly from the improved informed consent provisions. Cosmetic medicine and surgery are almost always self-referred, and there is a greater need for the stronger informed consent guidelines announced today by the Medical Board of Australia," said Dr. Ron Bezic, college president.
Despite the welcomed guidelines, they seem not to fix an already existing risk in the industry: any person with medical specialty or experience can do cosmetic procedures.
Dr. Gazi Hussain, vice president of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, recommends any doctor, who wishes to practice cosmetic surgeries, obtain adequate training from Royal Australian College of Surgeons.