Despite a recent Government inquiry and subsequent recommendations into ‘cleaning up’ the cosmetic surgery arena, brand new research today reveals that fears continue to grow around this largely unregulated sector, putting off both members of the public and even medical practitioners from venturing into its murky waters.
Europe’s biggest trade event uniting the traditionally disparate worlds of plastic surgery and non-surgical cosmetic medicine, CCR Expo (www.ccr-expo.com) has conducted not one but three separate surveys to pinpoint the views of aesthetic practitioners; medics who do not practise in the field such as GPs and dentists; and women, who represent 90% of the patients who undergo these types of treatments.
One study commissioned by CCR Expo and conducted by independent survey company OnePoll on 500 women uncovered that whilst 2/5 (38%) have considered cosmetic surgery procedures such as facial injectables or liposuction, only half of them (1/5, or 18%) actually ever go through with it. Outside of cost, the top reason cited was fear stemming from horror stories about botched treatment in the media, followed by wariness of the results looking ‘unnatural’, and not knowing which practitioners are qualified to perform the procedures.
The profession itself surprisingly agreed in viewing their own sector as controversial: a survey of over 70 cosmetic practitioners including doctors, surgeons, dermatologists and nurses showed that nearly 9/10% felt too many untrained providers – even those medically qualified – are ‘having a go’ at offering aesthetic procedures and damaging the reputation of credible and properly qualified clinicians.
The vast majority (over a third, 34%) felt the biggest problem was newbies lacking specialist expertise – such as high level training in facial anatomy; followed by a quarter (23%) stating the biggest problem was providers unable to diagnose or cope with complications; and 16% citing wrong treatments, dosages and unproven products being used. When asked if this was endangering the public, nearly 9/10 (87%) stated a resounding yes.
Moreover, when asked what they thought other medical colleagues’ – those not practising aesthetics – opinion might be of the sector, a third said it was seen with strong prejudice, and as “beneath them”. A similar proportion (33%) said their colleagues probably saw the field as lucrative but were scared to enter it because of a lack ofknowledge.
CCR Expo’s 3rd survey appears to confirm this fact: when non-cosmetic practitioners such as GPs and dentists were polled, 90% stated they had at one time or another considered offering aesthetic treatments, yet cited lack of specialised training (2/5), concerns about lax regulation and horror stories (33%) and not understanding legal frameworks or the Marketing involved for not moving forward.
Understanding the endless fascination yet undeniable concerns regarding this market, CCR Expo; which this year also plays host to the Annual Meetings for professional bodies the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the British Cosmetic Dermatology Group and the Journal of Aesthetic Nursing; will be for the first time holding a ‘Getting Started in Aesthetics’ all-day theatre jam-packed with workshops and lectures aimed at medics who wish to know more about the arena. The agenda includes advice from lawyers and top cosmetic exponents including doctors, surgeons and industry experts offering input on operating a practice legally, ethically and successfully.
According to Chief Executive of Nineteen Events (www.nineteen-events.com) Peter Jones; which organises the CCR Expo;
“We don’t necessarily encourage more clinicians to join the aesthetics arena, but our research clearly shows there is a strong desire for more clarity in the sector, alongside some understandable concerns. At CCR Expo our logic is, if you’re going to do it, then do it right! This is why we have put together a full programme and roster of experts who can offer support and guidance to those who do wish to enter this field, so they have the tools enabling them to practise ethically and safely.
“Clinicians have honed their careers over many years – sometimes decades, and being protective of their reputation is entirely natural. We are here to help them train andmaintain their hard-earned standing, whilst also helping keep the public safe. They certainly deserve no less.”
Interestingly, whilst members of the public shared common fears regarding aesthetic treatments, there were variations according to age, with younger women – who most desired cosmetic procedures (one could posit that oddly, it’s older women who would ‘need’ them more) – being the least aware or concerned with lax regulation.