Tougher cosmetic surgery guidelines a critical step forward for patient safety

9 May 2016
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers today welcomed the Medical Board of Australia’s new guidelines for cosmetic surgeons as a significant boost for patient safety.

“Too often we’ve seen we’ve seen the terrible consequences of poorly performed cosmetic surgery, from disfigurement through to serious medical complications, such as cardiac arrests and even death” said Kathryn Booth, principal and medical law expert at Maurice Blackburn.

“It’s particularly pleasing to see the Medical Board is now making it crystal clear that it is the treating doctor who must take explicit responsibility for post-operative care of their patient because that is precisely when death or serious injury can occur.”

“In some cases, those performing the cosmetic surgery have ignored signs of illness and infection in their patient after the procedure.”

“No surgery, cosmetic or otherwise, can be taken lightly. All surgery is risky, particularly those procedures involving general anaesthetic.”

With cosmetic surgery a booming industry in Australia, Ms Booth also welcomed the new guidelines targeting the industry’s particular responsibility toward those patients under 18 years of age.

“The cooling off periods and mandatory evaluations by other medical practitioners for everyone under the age of 18 will help those young men and women make more informed choices.”

“The new guidelines also require that everyone who performs cosmetic surgery must tell their patients exactly the extent of their qualifications and expertise in performing these procedures as well as the risks involved.”

“Too often people are choosing their cosmetic doctor without all the relevant information and this needs to change.”

Ms Booth said Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has seen the consequences of poor cosmetic surgery over many years and has campaigned hard for tougher regulation of the industry.

“It not only has a physical impact on the patient, but it also takes an emotional toll.”

“It’s critically important that the message gets out to people, particularly younger people, that cosmetic surgery is medical procedure that by its very nature is risky.”

“Hopefully these new guidelines will be a wake-up call to an industry that sadly included too many rogue operators failing to adhere to the basic principles of patient safety.”

Practice Areas: