If you’re thinking of traveling to the UK for some kind of cosmetic surgical laser procedure, or if you’re a citizen living in the UK and are thinking about getting one, you may want to think a little harder, or even find a plan B. The government has decided that, in a bid to try and cut down on the commission’s workload and presumably save money, they will no longer inspect cosmetic surgery clinics.
Critics of this decision believe that “cowboy operators” with poor safety standards will be allowed to operate with impunity since they will no longer need to apply for a license at the beginning of October. They fear that those who go in for cosmetic laser treatments will be left with burns and scars. In a paper written by Whitehall officials, it is estimated that 3,400 more patients could be injured because of the new deregulation. The Independent Healthcare Advisory Services, a group that represents cosmetic surgery operators is also concerned. They say this proposal means that anyone can purchase “low-cost, low-quality non-approved equipment and operated it anywhere without any training or safety considerations on vulnerable adults as well as children.”
Even cosmetic surgeons are concerned about this. David Gault, a cosmetic surgeon who specializes in laser treatments and British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons’ spokesman, says, “While some of these ‘adverse incidents’ involve only minor scarring or pigmentation, people’s sight can also be damaged by a powerful laser being shone into their eyes.” Gault contends that the psychological damage injured patients will suffer is far worse than the physical damage.
Laser Injury Example
Such is the case with Danielle Brown, who was injured in a laser procedure. She went to a clinic to have body hair removed where they gave her a patch test. Rather than waiting 24 hours as they were supposed to, they only waited one hour before giving Brown her first treatment. That treatment then lasted five hours. Brown says she felt a bit of tingling, but the laser was on its lowest setting.
The second time Brown went in for treatment, she felt burning right away. “The power of the laser had been increased and I got badly burnt on my arms, under arms, bikini line, on the back of my legs.” She was told that this was normal, but the burns began to blister the next day. Brown claims the clinic wasn’t interested when she went to them for help. She found out two years later at another clinic that the machine that had burned her was meant for white skin, and not for someone with Sudanese heritage. Brown says people are constantly asking her about her scars.
Although cutting down on the commission’s workload and saving money is hoped, critics say that because more people are likely to be injured by lasers, the extra cost of treating patients will fall somewhere between £900.000 and £1.8 million. Right now it costs £1.4 million to inspect all of Britain’s cosmetic surgery clinics annually. This also seems foolish given the fact that skin laser treatments are booming in the UK. Nearly 340,000 skin laser procedures are performed in England each year alone.
This might be taking place in the UK, but here in the States, we hear horror stories of unlicensed cosmetic surgeons butchering unsuspecting people. Imagine how the U.S., with a larger population and more people seeking cosmetic surgery, might fair if the industry was completely unregulated. It might behoove you to find out the last time your prospective cosmetic surgeon had an inspection and how well the doctor’s practice did in that inspection.
If you would like to learn more about cosmetic surgery, please contact an experienced, and licensed, cosmetic surgeon in your area.