Each and every year, thousands of Australians go under the knife for cosmetic surgeries. Of these, breast augmentation operations continue to be the most popular. Among the successes, there has also been a surge in complications – leaving many women with lingering pain and frustrations.
But what are experts doing to prevent the problem from recurring?
What problems have happened?
In the past few years, Australian news publications have been awash with reports of serious breast enhancement surgery problems. One of the most significant involved the death of an Australian women who went into cardiac arrest during a breast enhancement surgery.
However, it was the mass class action filed against popular cosmetic surgery chain, The Cosmetic Institute (TCI), that really shone a light on the seriousness of botched surgeries in Australia. Around 240 women filed complaints claiming that TCI breached its duty of care by adopting a one-size-fits-all approach when performing breast surgeries.
As a result, TCI found themselves at the centre of a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry. The committee wanted to investigate dodgy cosmetic surgery practices and uncover why these problems happened.
Why did these issues occur in the first place?
In Australia, anyone with a standard medical degree is legally allowed to perform cosmetic surgeries – meaning medical professionals do not necessarily need to hold a specialist qualification to perform this type of work. Furthermore, 'cosmetic surgery' is not a formally recognised title by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Therefore, while they may have undergone medical education in some form, they may not have received the appropriate training surrounding cosmetic surgery. This lack of clarification is why so many complications have arisen and continue to do so.
What is being done to eliminate future problems?
Earlier this year, the Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission submitted a report as part of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry. Within the report were 16 recommendations focused on improving the practice of cosmetic surgeries.
On Thursday 22 November, the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) released a statement announcing that they welcomed the recommendation to restrict the use of the title 'cosmetic surgeon'. They hope that the Council of Australian Governments will adopt the changes, not only in NSW but at a national level too. This should protect patient safety and reduce the number of medical negligence claims going forward.
If you've sustained complications as a result of negligence on the operating table, you may be eligible for compensation. Get in touch with the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners today to see how we can help.