Not everyone who performs cosmetic surgery in Australia is a plastic surgeon. In Australia, only a surgeon who has completed eight years of specialist plastic surgery training on top of medical school can be called a plastic surgeon.
At this time, however, it is legal for other medical practitioners to perform cosmetic surgery, despite their level of training.
Last July, the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) made a submission to the Medical Board of Australia in the name of patients whose lives are being put at risk by unknowing or uncaring medical practitioners. ASPS has asked the MBA to limit the amount of anaesthesia that may be given to cosmetic surgery patients in offices and private rooms.
Team Costhetics was glad to hear this, and you should be, too. Here’s why…
Conscious Sedation Can Leave You Unconscious…Or Worse
The vast majority of plastic and reconstructive surgeons in Australia perform invasive procedures only in a licensed facility with a licensed anaesthetist present. Some other doctors perform popular procedures such as liposuction and breast augmentation in their own offices. Rather than using a general anaesthetic, they administer large doses of anaesthetic to put their patients into a twilight state where they are sedated but conscious.
“We have always been concerned about conscious sedation and the fact it allows quite large and invasive procedures like facelifts and breast augmentation and liposuction to be done in places that aren’t licensed,” – Hugh Bartholomeusz, former president, ASPS
Patients who seek pain-free, stress-free procedures have made conscious sedation in-demand. That’s fine. A patient is perfectly safe in the hands of a trained and experienced anaesthetist and in a well-equipped setting where licensed professionals can address any health emergency that might occur.
In a non-hospital setting, doctors may take on the role of both surgeon and anaesthetist. This kind of multi-tasking can lead to a host of errors and mistakes. Those mistakes can lead to complications and even death.
Know Who’s in Charge
If you’re scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure, be sure to ask your doctor what kind of sedation is going to be administered. Also be sure to ask about the credentials of the person who will be monitoring you.
“…people administering local anaesthetic for cosmetic procedures may not be trained in either the delivery of appropriate doses of local anaesthetic or sedation, and this is the problem.” – Phillipa Hore, chairwoman of the safety and quality committee of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists
Don’t hesitate to ask for all the information you need to feel safe. If you don’t like the answers you receive or if your medical practitioner is less than forthcoming, put on the brakes.
Like Mr. Spock, Team Costhetics wants you to live long and prosper.