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New cosmetic surgery guidelines encourage cooling off periods

New cosmetic surgery guidelines encourage cooling off periods - Featured Image

The Medical Board of Australia has introduced a range of new guidelines in a bid to crackdown on the cosmetic surgery industry.

The guidelines aim to inform medical professionals and the community about the expectations the Board has for doctors who perform cosmetic surgery procedures.

According to Board Chair, Dr Joanna Flynn, “The guidelines will help keep patients safe, without imposing an unreasonable regulatory burden on practitioners.”

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The 6 page guidelines were developed after draft guidelines were circulated in March 2015.

“The Board listened to stakeholder feedback, and responded with a new set of guidelines that will best keep patients safe,” Dr Flynn said.

“The changes prioritise patient safety and reduce some of the regulatory requirements proposed in the previous draft guidelines, when either there was no evidence of improved safety or the costs significantly outweighed the benefits of a proposal,” she said.

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9 key points from the guidelines include:

  • There should be a 7 day cooling off period for all adults before any major procedure (anything that involves cutting beneath the skin);
  • Adult patients should be referred to a psychologist, psychiatrist or general practitioner if there are any indications of underlying psychological problems;
  • There should be a 3 month cooling off period for all under 18s before major procedures and a mandatory evaluation from a registered psychiatrist, psychologist or general practitioner;
  • There should be a 7 day cooling off period for all under 18s before minor procedures (cosmetic medical procedures that do not involve cutting beneath the skin but may involve piercing the skin);
  • The treating medical practitioner must take responsibility for any post-operative care;
  • The treating medical practitioner must make sure there are emergency facilities when using sedation, anaesthesia or analgesia;
  • There needs to be a mandatory consultation (either by person or by video conference) before medical practitioner prescribes schedule 4 cosmetic injectables;
  • Medical practioners need to provide detailed, written information to the patient to ensure they are making informed consent. Information should include the range of possible outcomes, complications and recovery times associated with the procedure and the qualifications and experience of the medical practioner;
  • Medical practitioners need to provide patients with detailed written information about costs including any costs for follow-up care or any potential revision surgery or treatment.

The new guidelines will take effect on 1 October 2016. Read the Cosmetic Surgery Guidelines.

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