Cosmetic surgery performed in doctors’ rooms poses an unacceptable risk to patient safety, warns the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Right now any doctor can decide to turn their hand to cosmetic procedures like liposuction, facelifts, breast augmentation and labiaplasty without having trained in any of the subspecialties of plastic surgery.

The ASPS argues these are “sophisticated operations”, but are often undertaken by GPs who don’t need to be accredited or qualified.

The ASPS is also concerned that patients are unaware this growing practice is unregulated which raises ethical and safety concerns.

“Office-based surgical procedures that use high volume local anaesthesia or conscious sedation (where the patient is awake but can’t feel pain) fly under the radar in terms of accreditation and audit,” says ASPS president, Associate Professor Hugh Bartholomeusz.

He says non-surgeons are doing cosmetic surgery without the necessary qualifications.

In its submission to the Medical Board of Australia’s public consultation on cosmetic surgery guidelines, the ASPS is calling for a nationally consistent regulation of “office-based” cosmetic surgery and enforceable guidelines around the use of anaesthetic in these settings.

Amanda Davey

Last Reviewed: 15/07/2015