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Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions: Will They Do Enough?!

Image by Sinead FentonAnyBody has contributed to the evidence gathered as part of a review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions. The call for evidence was initiated by the Department of Health after the Poly Implant Prothese PIP scandal, in which faulty implants continued to be used despite knowledge of the risks, thereby endangering patients health.

On December 31st, 2012 the Summary of this call for evidence was published and released. Beyond PIP, it highlighted other serious concerns, including:

- concerns around the products used in cosmetic procedures;

- questions around the training of those performing them;

- and the treatment and procedures for managing complications that may arise, and caring for patients who suffer from them.

When people decide to undertake cosmetic interventions they are consumers as well as patients. However, their buying-decisions may have a profound impact on their health and wellbeing, and this emphasized by the fact that the current regulatory system does not support patient safety.

Patient protection

One of the positive outcomes of the review is that now a framework is in the process of being readjusted to accurately protect the patient. This is good and welcome news.

Regulation of advertising

There needs to be a tightening of the regulations on advertising for cosmetic surgery — and this report is attempting ways in which to do this.

This is an important point, as the external influences of advertising industry and the increased visualisation of our society play enormous roles in influencing peoples perspectives on their bodies and images.

Psychological care

Are current psychological assessments accompanying cosmetic surgery sufficient? 

The review concluded that, overall, respondents acknowledged the importance of the practitioner assessing the patients motivation, but felt the current use of psychological assessments to be sufficient. But is it really enough?

Beyond the regulatory piece is the reality of the individual. To take a few steps back and take the time to understand why the individual has decided in the first place to change a part of themselves — this should be an obligatory part of the procedure. The person performing the procedure needs to ask these questions and be trained enough to know whether the patient is emotionally prepared for whatever they chose to do.

Much of the time, because these procedures are so accessible, there is not much thought put into the ramifications of being cut open and re-arranged — it has consequences both for the outside and inside of us. The outcome may be very different to the celebrated ‘growing confidence’ which many cosmetic surgery adverts promise.

Image by Sinead Fenton under a Creative Commons license. 

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