Hardly a week goes by without us receiving desperate calls from anxious members of the public worried that their Botox or skin filler treatment has gone horribly wrong. In the vast majority of cases, the person concerned has a treatment at a conveyor belt “Botox Party” or from a beauty salon where a visiting nurse or doctor visits once a month to carry out treatments. Many of these practitioners dabble in medical aesthetics as a way of supplementing their income. They flit from venue to venue offering cut price treatments having had no more than a half day course in administering Botox and skin fillers. Then when complications occur, they are difficult to get hold of, never answer their mobile phones and are told by the salon that the practitioner will not be back again for 4 weeks.
The medical aesthetic industry is unregulated in England. This means that anyone can open a clinic and administer skin filler injections. Even though Botox is a prescription only medication, illegal supplies of Botox are being administered by beauty therapists, hairdressers without the patient ever seeing a doctor or prescribing nurse.
So how do you ensure that your face will be in a safe pair of hands?
Sue Ibrahim, is a Dermatology Nurse Consultant with over 15 years experience within the medical aesthetic industry. This is her advice on choosing a practitioner:
- Make sure your practitioner is a medical doctor registered with the GMC or a registered nurse that is registered with the NMC. Ask for their registration numbers; check them out.
- Ask your practitioner how many procedures like the one you are seeking they carry out on a weekly basis and for how many years they have been in practice.
- Ask you practitioner how often they visit the location in which you are being treated. If it is only once every few weeks then consider what you will do if something goes wrong.
- Ask your practitioner how many complications they have had to deal with over the past year. If the practitioner say that they never have any complications then consider this:
If a practitioner has never had a complication, then they are not treating many people.
If a practitioner has never dealt with a complication, will they know what to do if you have a complication?
- Can the practitioner show you before and after photographs of their work? If they can only show you photos from glossy manufacturers leaflets then be wary.
- Can the practitioner supply testimonials of their work from other clients? Or are there existing clients sitting in the waiting room who look confident in the practitioner.
- Can the practitioner show you evidence that they hold indemnity insurance for the treatments they cary out?
- Does the premises look fit for purpose? Is the procedure being carried out in a clinical environment? If not, you may be at a greater risk of post treatment infection.
- Have you received a thorough medical consultation prior to treatment? Has the practitioner explained the side effects and adverse reaction than can and do occur.
- Have you been offered a cooling off period between consultation and treatment or is the practitioner trying to talk you in to having a treatment there and then.
- Have you been offered a written set of after-care instructions prior to treatment?
- Have you been offered a follow-up appointment to assess the results of your treatment?
- Do not be afraid of changing your mind about going ahead with treatment, even if the practitioner is holding the syringe in their hand. You are entitled to refuse your Consent to treatment at any point during the treatment session.
It is your face and if you are not 100% confident that you are being treated by the right practitioner, then walk away.
Further information on this topic can be found on the NHS Choices Website.