Much confusion exists in the general public in regards to who is the best person to administer cosmetic medical products, including lip fillers, wrinkle relaxers, chemical peels, and other non-invasive procedures. Traditionally, patients have chosen experienced doctors with specialised training in the cosmetic area. These doctors worked from clinics that were set up with the sole purpose of providing medical cosmetic procedures and thus had all the facilities needed to provide the best patient care. These are dedicated cosmetic medical clinics. Unfortunately the recent increase in the number of people seeking cosmetic improvement has created an explosion in the number of centres offering them, with many people having the assumption that all practioners administering such treatments are the same. Indeed, they are not!
Firstly, potential patients must realise that cosmetic medicine involves injecting or performing treatments that contain drugs which have side effects and risks. For this reason, the Therapeutics Goods Administration, TGA (the equivalent of the American FDA), categorises medically used substances. Many of which are listed as Schedule 4 drugs. This list includes your wrinkle relaxers, fillers and most of the medical cosmetic products. To even mention brand names of Schedule 4 drugs in advertising carries considerable fines and is the reason why one does not see the word “B____x” etc. in reputable clinic advertising. These drugs cannot be given to a patient without first seeing a doctor and without doctor follow-up if any concerns should develop. So, if someone is treating a patient without initial doctor assessment, it is illegal. It is also illegal for the doctor to supply the products to any ‘would be nurse’ without seeing the patients themselves, as is taking financial kickbacks for the supply of Schedule 4 drugs. This scenario has occurred in many so-called “good” cosmetic clinics, so too has the practice of nurses being sent out to beauty clinics, which raises two major concerns. Firstly, the issue of supervision and secondly the issue of quality assurance. Where Schedule 4 drugs are used, doctor supervision must apply. This means that a qualified medical practioner should be on site at all times when nurses are treating to provide patient assessment and emergency treatment if necessary. At a beautician centre they do not have any facilities to assist in an emergency. Furthermore, medical clinics must provide strict protocols on cleanliness, sterilisation, drug handling and storage. It is unlikely that beautician centres have expensive vaccine fridges, to ensure the correct temperatures of sensitive drugs like the wrinkle relaxers are maintained, medical waste removal systems or resuscitation facilities. Infections occasionally do occur with treatments and correct medical standard hygiene is essential. Often the beauty centre owner is unaware that in the event of a negative outcome their clinic may be as liable as the treating practioner. What’s more, the patients are being charged doctor prices for nurse injectors. This hardly seems fair.
To complicate matters further, not all doctors have qualifications to perform cosmetic treatments. There has been a recent trend for GP doctors, dermatologists and various other specialty doctors to offer injectables to patients. Some have only recently finished medical school. These doctors often do not even realise the risks that are involved in injecting and rely upon the fact that a patient assumes that because they are doctors they are qualified. In fact there are only two ways a doctor can be deemed completely qualified in the cosmetic area. The first is to hold a fellowship with the Australian College of Cosmetic Surgery, (ACCS), a body dedicated to the training and standards of cosmetic medicine in Australia. To be a fellow, one must have had years of experience, undergone examinations to prove competency, attended regular educational conferences and practices to the highest standards. The second is to hold a fellowship with the Royal College of Plastic Surgeons. Plastic surgeons, however, rarely do their own injecting. They opt to employ nurses as they find it more economical to focus on surgery. There are some doctors who do in fact have experience in cosmetic medicine but do not hold fellowships. They show their dedication to the industry by being members of the Cosmetic Physicians Association of Australia (CPSA). Patients should be wary of any doctor who is not at least a member of the CPSA. After all, would you let a GP do your heart bypass surgery? So why would you let anyone not appropriately trained and experienced do your cosmetic work?
Just a quick note on price shopping
Whilst it is always good to get a bargain, medicine should be taken more seriously. Prices do vary greatly on some treatments between practioners and patients should be wary of quotes that seem very low. It is too often the case that low quotes are given to attract clients, with the practitioner’s view that they will make more from the hidden costs that eventuate, or that inferior products or low dosages are used. What’s more, qualified doctors spend a lot of time and money acquiring and improving their skills so that they can provide the best overall care to their patients. This should not be undervalued. So to the potential patient, ensure you are getting a quality service for your money as your health is your most important asset.
So what can a dedicated cosmetic medical clinic like ARGERA offer?
- A dedicated, qualified and experienced doctor to treat or oversee treatments
- Appropriate medical care in the event of an adverse reaction or side effects
- An assurance of quality products and services
- A clean and safe environment
- The latest in cosmetic advancements
- Ongoing education for the medical staff
- Improved value for money
- A safer and more satisfying treatment
- A more personalised service
- Opportunity to ask questions
- A thorough assessment and consultation process
- A range of medical grade skincare
- Friendly staff who have personal experience in treatments
- A wider range of treatment options
- A sophisticated and calming environment for treatments
- Multiple rooms for privacy
- A low key and easily accessible location to maintain confidentiality
- State of the art technology to improve patient services
- Extended office hours to allow working patients to attend
- A place where staff are happy to come to work!
- It’s worth travelling for good care. We hope you will agree after having the ARGERA experience.