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Dr. Raquel Amado: Safety in Aesthetics

Dr. Raquel Amado gives us her expert commentary on Safety in Aesthetics…
Do you agree with current aesthetic safety regulations and how does an absence of strict regulations affect patient safety?

I feel there is a lack of regulation when it comes to aesthetic treatments impacting the safety of the public. Yes, the absence of strict regulations can significantly affect patient safety in various ways. Please see below:

  • Unqualified Practitioners: Without strict regulations, there may be a higher likelihood of unqualified individuals performing aesthetic procedures. This lack of professional training and expertise can lead to increased risks for patients, causing potential complications like permanent blindness.
  • Unsafe Practices: In the absence of regulatory oversight, practitioners may engage in unsafe practices, such as using unapproved or substandard products, neglecting proper sterilization and infection control measures, or performing procedures without adequate patient assessments.
  • Inadequate Informed Consent: Strict regulations often mandate thorough informed consent processes, ensuring that patients are fully aware of potential risks, benefits, and alternatives before undergoing a procedure. The absence of such regulations may result in inadequate or incomplete informed consent procedures.
  • Substandard Facilities: Regulatory frameworks typically include standards for the facilities where medical procedures are performed. In the absence of strict regulations, there may be a lack of oversight regarding the safety and hygiene standards of aesthetic clinics and facilities.
  • Product Safety Concerns: A lack of regulations may lead to the use of untested or unregulated products in aesthetic procedures, increasing the risk of adverse reactions or complications for patients.
  • Misleading Marketing and Information: The absence of strict regulations may allow for misleading advertising and misinformation about the safety and effectiveness of aesthetic procedures. Patients may be misled about potential outcomes, risks, and the qualifications of practitioners.
  • Delayed Detection of Complications: Strict regulations often include requirements for monitoring and reporting adverse events. In the absence of such regulations, the detection and reporting of complications or adverse reactions may be delayed, compromising patient safety.
  • Lack of Accountability: Regulatory frameworks provide a system of accountability, allowing for the investigation and sanctioning of practitioners or facilities that fail to meet established standards. The absence of strict regulations may result in a lack of accountability for substandard practices.
  • Ethical Concerns: Regulatory frameworks often address ethical considerations in healthcare. Without clear guidelines, practitioners may engage in unethical practices that compromise patient well-being.

In summary, strict regulations play a crucial role in ensuring patient safety by setting standards for qualifications, practices, facilities, and the use of medical products. They provide a framework for accountability and contribute to maintaining ethical standards within the healthcare industry, including the field of aesthetic procedures. The absence of such regulations can lead to increased risks and potential harm to patients.

Do you think within the aesthetics industry, that there is enough screening for people with self-image conditions such as body dysmorphia?

Unfortunately, not, especially when we talk about non-medics performing these treatments.

Do you think stricter regulations could positively improve self-image?

Stricter regulations can have a positive impact on self-image in several ways:

  • Personal Accountability: Stricter regulations encourage practitioners to adhere to ethical and legal standards. Knowing that there are consequences for unethical or harmful behaviour can lead to a greater sense of personal accountability. This can contribute to a positive self-image as individuals align their actions with societal expectations.
  • Sense of Purpose: Regulations are often implemented to address issues that impact public welfare, safety, and the environment. Adhering to these regulations can provide individuals with a sense of purpose, as they contribute to the well-being of society. This sense of purpose can positively influence self-esteem and self-worth.
  • Community Trust: Stricter regulations promote transparency and fairness. When individuals and organizations comply with these regulations, it builds trust within communities. Being perceived as a trustworthy and responsible member of society can enhance an individual's self-image and contribute to a positive reputation.
From your experience what are the biggest concerns in terms of lack of regulation and what measures do you believe should be put in place?

My foremost priority revolves around ensuring patient safety across all domains. This encompasses not only the safety of the treatment itself but also recognizes that refraining from or denying treatment, in certain instances, may prove more advantageous than proceeding with interventions. It is crucial to acknowledge that non-medical professionals lack the authority to prescribe, and consequently, they may lack the necessary knowledge and experience to address potential complications. This leaves patients unattended, vulnerable to the risk of enduring long-term or even permanent deformities.

I advocate for a strategic approach that involves categorizing and restricting the administration of injectables to practitioners possessing a robust educational foundation, ideally at a level 7 qualification. I firmly believe that acquiring this advanced level of education equips practitioners with the requisite skills to administer treatments safely and adeptly, thereby minimizing the potential for adverse outcomes and ensuring the overall well-being of the patients in their care.

How would you like to see the future of safety in aesthetics?

Stricter regulation:

  • Injectables to medics only - The Level 7 in Injectables qualification - marking out medical injectors from lay practitioners.
  • Regulation in the premises 
  • Heavy fines for prescription drugs administered by non-medics.