Coalition of plastic surgeons and dermatologists call on Government to introduce greater regulation of potentially dangerous dermal fillers
- In response to the rise in the number of ‘botched’ dermal filler jobs that plastic surgeons are seeing and correcting, The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) is calling for Government to introduce greater regulation of dermal fillers
- BAPRAS’ call for greater regulation is supported by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD)
- Today, Alberto Costa MP for South Leicestershire will lead a debate on the topic of the safety of dermal fillers in Parliament
Every year, plastic and reconstructive surgeons in Britain are seeing an increasing number of cases of dermal filler complications and botched jobs, particularly in patients that have undergone treatment carried out by non-medical or trained professionals.
Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire will today lead a debate on the topic of dermal filler safety in Westminster Hall and the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), and The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) are supporting Mr. Costa’s calls for Government to introduce tighter regulations and improve patient safety.
According to a report by Save Face, [i] there were 934 complaints about non-surgical procedures in 2018, up from 378 in 2016; of these complaints, 616 were for dermal fillers. 387 of these complainants had to have corrective procedures by other practitioners, and 11 had to go to A&E – but actual figures may be much higher than reported. The report also highlights that 83% of non-surgical cosmetic procedures were carried out by beauticians, hairdressers, and laypeople rather than trained healthcare professionals.
BAPRAS President, Mark Henley, commented:
“It is shockingly easy – and legal – for untrained beauticians or members of the public to purchase cheap dermal filler kits online and carry out procedures themselves. The risk that this poses to safety of individuals is evident in the rising number of corrective procedures being required and we urge the Government to introduce tighter regulation as a priority.”
BAPRAS, BAAPS and BAD are jointly calling on Government to consider the following changes to the regulation of dermal fillers in the UK:
- To change the classification of dermal lip fillers from devices to medicines to ensure full clinical trials are undertaken to assess patient safety
- Introduction of legislation ensuring that dermal fillers can only be carried out by appropriately trained professionals or medical professionals; for example through the Cosmetic Practice Standards Authority or the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners
- Development of clinical guidelines on the use of dermal fillers
- Increase in public education on the risks associated with dermal fillers, particularly when carried out by non-medical professionals
Dermal filler products are currently classified as ‘medical devices’ in Europe, and so do not undergo the same level of clinical trials as ‘medicines’ such as Botox (Botulinum toxin)– requiring only a Conformité Européene (CE) mark. In the US, tighter FDA regulations mean only 10 dermal fillers are approved for use, compared to 160 in Europe – many of which will have been tested in an extremely limited number of patients.[ii]
Calls for greater regulation come shortly after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists highlighted concerns around the lack of regulation of medical devices across Europe.
Mr Niall Kirkpatrick, a BAPRAS Member and leading consultant craniofacial plastic surgeon at the Portland Hospital in London, is a specialist in correcting dermal filler complications and has been vocal in calling for legislative change, and a push to educate the public about the associated risks of these treatments.
“I see significant complications arising from the use of dermal fillers in almost every clinic I hold. Many distressed patients come with severe injuries resulting from incorrectly administered fillers and require extensive and complicated reconstructive surgery. Sadly, most patients I meet are unaware of the risks of dermal fillers and the costs associated with repairing significant damaged as a result. The materials used by individuals who have little to no medical training are often cheap, even bought from the internet, and unregulated. Due to a lack of patient records however, it is often difficult to track exactly which materials have been injected into the patient and by whom.”
Alberto Costa MP is spearheading the campaign for tighter regulations of non-surgical cosmetic procedures in Parliament, commenting:
“My interest in this matter stemmed following a meeting with my constituent Rachael Knappier, who suffered a terrible injury following a botched lip filler treatment. Not only was I shocked to hear Rachael’s experience but similarly I was very concerned to hear that there are almost no regulations or safeguards in place for those who receive these kind of non-surgical treatments.
These types of procedures are readily available on the high street and can be administered by those with no medical or formal training, however they can pose a very serious health risk if not carried out properly. Regulation is needed to ensure that consumers, like Rachael, are protected in case of accidents and to ensure that the public are fully informed as to the potential risks associated with these treatments before making any firm decisions”.
Mr Simon Eccles, Member of BAAPS and BAPRAS and a specialist in complex craniofacial surgery at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital stressed the need for patient education on the procedures:
“Most patients that come to see me with filler complications have not been informed of the risks. There needs to be a greater push for education for both the public and for those administering the filler injections. We are also seeing the growing problem of cosmetic tourists going abroad for treatment, and then returning to the UK with problems that need to be fixed. This, of course, is a huge drain on the NHS.”
- ENDS –
For more detail, please contact - Harriet Evans, Portland Communications
Phone – 020 7554 1873 / 07970705681
About the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS):
The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons is the voice of plastic surgery in the UK, advancing education in all aspects of the specialty and promoting understanding of contemporary practice. BAPRAS speaks for the majority of reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgeons providing services to patients in the UK today.
About the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS):
BAAPS is the only organisation solely dedicated to safety and education in cosmetic surgery, and which represents the vast majority of NHS-trained Consultant Plastic Surgeons in private practice.
BAAPS Members have completed the highest level of training available in their field, and keep up to date with surgical advances by attending scientific meetings in the UK and abroad and participating in specific association activities like the BAAPS annual audit.
[i] Save Face, ‘Consumer Complaints Audit Report 2017-18’. Available at: https://www.saveface.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Save-Face-Consumer-Complaints-Report-2017-18-FINAL-1118.pdf
[ii] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services / U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Unsafe and Ineffective Devices Approved in the EU that were Not Approved in the US. Available at: https://www.abhi.org.uk/multimedia/docs/zempty/European%20Devices%20-%20FDA%20report.pdf