Surgeons urged to prepare for changes in cosmetic surgery regulation

BMJ 2015;351:h5991
Author: Ingrid Torjesen
“The Royal College of Surgeons has set out what cosmetic surgeons will have to do to prepare for certification to show that they are qualified and competent to perform specific cosmetic procedures.  In the wake of the Poly Implant Prothèse breast implant scandal, Bruce Keogh, medical director of the NHS in England, recommended tighter regulation of cosmetic procedures after a review.1”
Find extract here. See also GMC statement ‘GMC responds to RCS initiative to improve safety for patients having cosmetic surgery’.

Women being ‘upsold’ into labiaplasty by cosmetic clinics

SMH, 29 August 2015
Author: Amy Corderoy
“Women are being “upsold” invasive genital surgeries by unscrupulous cosmetic clinics that do not properly inform them about the risks, or whether the surgery is even necessary, health experts say. While data shows public health authorities have managed to lower rates of publicly funded labiaplasty, according to clinicians working in the area.”
Find article here.

What’s normal, anyway? GPs should discourage women from unnecessary genital surgery

The Conversation, 7 August 2015
Author: Magdalena Simonis
“General practitioners have an important role to play in alleviating women’s anxiety about their genital appearance and can help stop the rise in women going under the knife for cosmetic reasons. Figures show 640 Australian women made Medicare claims for genital cosmetic surgery in 2000. In response, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners this week introduced world-first guidelines to advise doctors how best to deal with women’s rising interest in having genital cosmetic surgery.”
Find article here.

Give patients time to think before cosmetic procedures, doctors told

GMC press release, 8 June 2015
“Doctors who carry out cosmetic procedures must allow patients time to think before agreeing to go ahead with treatment, according to new guidance from the General Medical Council (GMC). The GMC is now consulting with the public and doctors about this and other proposals to make cosmetic procedures safer.”
Find press release and consultation information here.

Call for mandatory two week waiting period before cosmetic surgery

SMH, 7 May 2015
Author: Amy Corderoy
“The nation’s plastic surgeons are calling for a mandatory two-week cooling-off period before a person can get cosmetic surgery, and have warned people they risk disastrous outcomes and even death if they don’t ensure their doctor is qualified to treat them. The Medical Board of Australia is currently consulting on a proposal to improve the regulation of cosmetic medicine in Australia, with little currently known about the number and type of procedures performed by a huge range of clinicians amid a booming market.”
Find article here.

Botox can reach the nervous system – but it’s still safe

The Conversation, 22 April 2015
Author: Frederic Meunier
“Botox, or Botulinum neurotoxin type-A, is most commonly known for its cosmetic use as a smoother of wrinkles. But research may put a frown on the face of even its most avid users because this extremely powerful neurotoxin travels into the central nervous system from injection sites on the face.”
Find article here.

Safety before profits: why cosmetic surgery is ripe for regulation

The Conversation, 8 April 2015
Author: Merrilyn Walton
“Cosmetic surgery in Australia is a billion dollar industry that has been allowed to grow with scant regulation. Cosmetic surgery is not a recognised branch of medicine, so operators are only required to have a general medical degree. These doctors are able to operate in an environment with few minimum standards and no inspection system to ensure patients are not at increased risk of harm.”
Find article here.

How Tattoos Are Helping Breast Cancer Survivors Heal & Conceal Scars

The Huffington Post, 14 January 2015
Author: Carrie Antlfinger
“For women who have survived breast cancer, breast or nipple reconstruction can be a first step toward looking like their old selves. A Colorado organization is helping some of those women, and others who don’t choose reconstruction, in their emotional healing — through tattoos to help conceal their scars.”
Find article here.

Wish-fulfilling medicine in practice: the opinions and arguments of lay people

J Med Ethics Published Online 29 October 2013

Authors: Eva C A Asscher, Maartje Schermer

Wish-fulfilling medicine appears to be on the rise. It can be defined as ‘doctors and other health professionals using medical means (medical technology, drugs, and so on) in a medical setting to fulfil the explicitly stated, prima facie non-medical wish of a patient’. Some instances of wish fulfilling medicine can be understood as ‘human enhancements’.

Aim The aim of this study is to map the normative opinions and arguments of lay people about wish-fulfilling medicine.

Methods We conducted a qualitative study with lay people (five focus groups). We asked their opinions about five cases and the arguments for these opinions. Furthermore, we enquired about the role of the medical profession and the treating physician, and whether the participants saw a role for the government.

Results The opinions and arguments used varied according to the example discussed. For instance, increased familiarity with a procedure like breast enhancement seems to garner more acceptance for that procedure, whereas completely new examples were considered less acceptable. Various different arguments were raised in focus groups; these included: people should be allowed to make up their own minds about this (autonomy); payment of the treatment; and concerns about risks…”

Find article here.