Edinburgh doctor calls for clampdown on 'Wild West' lip-filler and Botox trade as injuries rise

Medics dealing with botched fillers daily speak out

Monday, 13th January 2020, 7:11 am
Updated Monday, 13th January 2020, 7:16 am

An Edinburgh doctor has expressed his “grave concerns” about non-medics performing cosmetic surgery on “often young and vulnerable patients”.

Dr Nestor Demosthenous, who owns Dr Nestor’s Medical Cosmetic Centre in the New Town, has written to Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman to urge her to clamp down on the industry in light of warnings that injuries connected to procedures such as Botox and lip fillers are rising fast.

Several practitioners authorised by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) say most their work involves repairing damage caused by non-medical workers who can legally inject clients with dermal filler.

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Providers such as beauticians are not obliged to register, despite the potential dangers.

In the worst cases, patients have suffered tissue death after blood vessels were injected, but burst and bleeding lips are common and there are warnings that more serious injuries could occur.

More than 430 independent clinics are registered with HIS to provide non-surgical treatments, but only those run by a doctor, nurse, midwife, dentist or dental technician are obliged to join the scheme, and other providers such are beauticians and hairdressers are not regulated, despite a promise by the Scottish Government in 2016.

'Youngest and most vulnerable'

In his letter, Dr Demosthenous said at least once a week he receives inquiries about having a correction from patients who have had work done elsewhere.

He said: “I find it’s usually the youngest and most vulnerable patients that are attracted to the cheap deals. It’s the Wild West out there.”

He added: “We need to act immediately; legislation must be put in place that protects the public above all else. It is too late for many, but if we act now, we can prevent a public health disaster.”

Figures suggest that most issues are caused by non-medical workers.

Save Face, a national register of accredited practitioners, reports that more than 80 per cent of complaints reported to it in 2018 were about treatments carried out by lay people, including hairdressers and beauticians.

HIS said it had received 23 complaints about members since 2017.

Last year, Save Face received more than 200 complaints from patients in Scotland.

Ashton Collins, a director of Save Face, said: “The regulation of independent clinics in Scotland has led to a two-tier system whereby a limited group of healthcare professionals are required to register but lay people are not.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said a public consultation on the options for regulation would be launched “shortly”.

He said: “It will focus on cosmetic procedures, such as dermal fillers, that are provided by non-healthcare professionals within non-regulated sites, principally, although not exclusively, administered by beauty therapists or hairdressers.”