As you likely already know, cosmetic enhancement is big business in Australia. The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery estimates the total annual expenditure in Australia on cosmetic enhancement, including non-medical procedures, is around $1 billion. Yet Costhetics often hears concerns from both consumers and providers about patients who have not been properly vetted – emotionally and physically – rushing into cosmetic enhancement.
These concerns have led the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) to propose a cooling-off period between consultation and procedure.
“We want to do what we can to keep the public safe, without imposing an unreasonable regulatory burden on practitioners.” – Dr Joanna Flynn, Chairwoman, MBA
What do you think about this? It’s a controversial recommendation, and Costhetics wants you to have the facts.
Costhetics Explains the Unusual Relationship between Provider and Patient
The MBA notes that cosmetic surgery is a unique medical specialty. In cosmetic enhancement, the doctor and patient’s relationship is frequently commercial, rather than medical. Face and body rejuvenation is driven by non-medical needs, and that’s where the problem may lie.
For medical procedures, patients commonly go through a GP and have a discussion as to the risks and benefits attached to an individual procedure. In cosmetic enhancement, however, patients initiate a consultation directly with a provider, who also has a financial incentive to encourage them to move forward.
Key items outlined by the MBA intended to ensure patient safety and satisfaction include:
- A seven-day cooling-off period for all adults
- A three-month cooling-off period for patients under 18, plus a mandatory assessment by a registered psychologist or psychiatrist
- Written information about the costs involved in any procedure provided by the doctor
- Explicit guidance on informed patient consent, including details on risks and complications
- Post-operative care requirements for the doctor, including emergency facilities where anaesthesia is used
- Mandatory face-to-face consultations before doctors prescribe cosmetic injectables
- Limits on where cosmetic procedures can be performed
Costhetics Lists Cosmetic Enhancement Procedures You Should Think About
Great Britain has already instituted a 14-day cooling off period, and the idea of waiting before surgery is gaining momentum globally, too. The MBA’s mandatory cooling off period would apply to a wide range of cosmetic medical and surgical procedures including:
- Breast enhancement – augmentation and reduction
Also covered by the proposed guidelines are non-surgical treatments including
- Laser hair removal
- Chemical peels
- Cosmetic injectables
- Hair replacement therapy
- Microsclerotherapy (the removal of surface thread veins)
Think It Over: Costhetics Explores Risk in Cosmetic Enhancement
Clinicians who perform cosmetic procedures are members of four different professional bodies. The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) has the most members, ranging from fully qualified surgeons to beauticians. The organisation is clearly in sync with the MBA’s perspective. A statement released by the ASPS and reported by ABC News, reads
“With cosmetic surgery procedures, it is particularly important that the patient is given sufficient time to think about whether the procedure is in his or her best interest.”
It is calling for even stricter guidelines than the MBA: a mandatory two-week cooling-off period.
The Sydney Morning Herald was the first to report on the ASPS “Think It Over”campaign which launched in mid-May 2015.
Our advice to anyone seeking to make a subtle or dramatic change in their appearance is this: find a qualified, experienced professional with a track record of patient success and satisfaction and talk things over. Gather all the information you can. Visualise your cosmetically enhanced future. Let your excitement reach full throttle. Then, put on the brakes. Let your enthusiasm cool down a bit. Consider all the facts, from results to cost to down time. Give yourself time to reflect on all the consequences that will come as a result of your decision to contour your body or rejuvenate your face.
In the end, only you can decide whether a cosmetic surgery procedure is right for you. Take the time you need to make the right choice.