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UK Review: Cosmetic Procedures Should Be Prescribed

Update Date: Apr 24, 2013 09:43 AM EDT

Cosmetic surgeries, which range from Botox injections to hide wrinkles to invasive surgeries to enhance the appearance of body parts, such as the breast and butt, are on the rise. Due to the poor regulation of the plastic surgery industry and the easy access to these types of procedures, more people are willing to go under the knife. The cosmetic surgery market in the United Kingdom is already worth 2.3 billion pounds and is expected to jump to 3.6 billion pounds by 2015. An independent review commissioned by the UK'S Department of Health stated that the money this industry rakes in is not worth the damage it can do on individuals. The review called plastic surgery a "crisis waiting to happen" and stated that the procedures could be better regulated via prescriptions.

Although the review acknowledged the dangers of invasive cosmetic surgeries, it mainly focused on the growth of non-surgical procedures, such as fillers and laser hair removal. The review found that this industry was even more unregulated, which increases the risk factors for many more consumers. Within Europe, breast implants and Botox, as well as some other medical devices, are considered to be medicines, and thus, they are regulated to some degree. Smaller cosmetic procedures, particularly fillers, go unregulated. The European industry has 190 different types of fillers whereas the United States only has 14.

"The most striking thing is that anybody, anywhere, anytime can give a filler to anybody else, and that is bizarre," The NHS medical director and leader of the review, Sir Bruce Keogh stated.

In order to help regulate this industry better, the review compiled a list of recommendations, which would make access to these procedures harder. The review states that in terms of qualifications, everyone who performs any of these cosmetic procedures should be listed on a register, any one who performs non-surgical procedures must be qualified, cosmetic surgeons must acquire a certificate of confidence and all procedures must be approved by a doctor, not a salesperson. In terms of legal access, the review stated that fillers should only be given via prescription and that there should be a breast implant register. Lastly, in the financial realm, the review recommended that financial offers for procedures should be illegal and that there should be compulsory insurance as well as a pooled fund for botched procedures.

The review will be looked at and decided on in the summer. England's Health Minister Dan Poulter, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons all agree with the concerns that this review brought up.

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