New research by the Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia (CPCA) shows many Australians are embarking on non-surgical cosmetic treatments without adequate medical assessment. More than half of those surveyed, (56 per cent) said their initial consultation was less than ten minutes in duration and nearly two-thirds of respondents believe online video messaging with a doctor is not good practice.
“Cosmetic medicine is a three dimensional skill, requiring a full and detailed face-to-face consultation by a medical practitioner who possesses suitable expertise in patient psychology, as well as medical conditions and comorbidity, which can affect patient management,” said spokesperson for the CPCA, Dr Mary Dingley.
“The majority of cosmetic medical procedures should only be carried out by a registered medical practitioner or a registered nurse under a doctor’s supervision. All injectables – muscle relaxants and dermal fillers – are Schedule 4 medications, which means they must be prescribed and administered by a qualified medical practitioner or administered by a nurse under a doctor’s supervision.”
Video consultations were introduced in 2011 to help remote doctors and patients have follow up consultations with city-based specialists and avoid the expense and delays caused by having to travel long distances.
“The intent was that the patient would visit their rural GP who would use video messaging to contact the relevant specialist with the patient. The reality is that the use of video to perform five, or fewer, minute cosmetic consultations, often by a doctor with no experience in cosmetic medicine, is an abuse of an otherwise excellent change to our prescribing laws,” Dr Dingley said.
The CPCA also said patients seeking laser and IPL treatments should have a face-to-face consultation with a doctor first and is concerned about the lack of regulation in this growing area. In Australia, the only states that have regulation covering the use of light devices, such as laser and IPL, are Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. The most populated states, New South Wales and Victoria, have no regulation or registration mechanisms for either the devices or the operators.
“Our members are repeatedly called upon to perform remedial treatment as a result of ‘botched’ treatments by poorly trained providers, often operating out of beauty clinics. Cases have included severe burns, facial disfigurement and the misdiagnosed treatment of skin disorders and diseases such as melanoma.”
If you’re interested in non-invasive treatments like injectables, Dr Dingley said you should visit www.cpca.net.au to find a doctor with an interest in non-invasive cosmetic medicine.