Cosmetic surgery: New laws could stop breast implant procedures in unlicensed clinics.

By Olga Oskman  

Cosmetic surgeons could be banned from offering cheap breast implants in unlicensed clinics under new strict rules being considered by the NSW Government.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner has released a discussion paper canvassing new regulations on facilities carrying out cosmetic surgery.

“We will consider whether there is further regulation of the industry, whether it requires legislation or regulation to make it safer for patients,” she said.

It comes after the ABC highlighted the concerns of some doctors about botched procedures as well as the kind of anaesthetics some of the facilities are using.

Ambulances had to be called to one popular breast implant clinic, The Cosmetic Institute, to rush several young patients to hospital emergency departments.

At least one had suffered a cardiac arrest , while another had serious breathing problems.

The NSW Government is now considering whether there should be a new class of “cosmetic surgery” included in current laws, so that cosmetic procedures could only be undertaken in a licensed private health facility or hospital.

Cosmetic procedures that would have to be done in hospitals would include breast implants, buttock implants, tummy tucks, penis augmentation, liposuction, face lifts and neck lifts.


At the moment, many clinics are performing cosmetic procedures such as breast implants without full hospital resuscitation equipment.

Many health experts have told the ABC they do not believe it is safe for doctors in cosmetic clinics to be giving patients high doses of anaesthetics for procedures like breast implants.

The NSW Health Department appears to share the same concerns and is considering whether licensing facilities to carry out cosmetic surgery is the solution.

Amy Rickhuss suffered a cardiac arrest during surgery earlier this year at The Cosmetic Institute's Parramatta Clinic. (Image supplied.)


"There are good grounds to consider that private health facility licensing is required to manage these serious risks," the discussion paper said.

"If there is a real risk of loss of consciousness, the department preliminary considers that the procedure should only be carried out in a licensed facility."

The New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission is currently investigating practices at The Cosmetic Institute, as well as the types of anaesthetic its doctors use.

The Cosmetic Institute insists it is following proper procedures and only using the sedation it is licensed to.

Complaints about industry prompt Medical Board review.

Ms Skinner said she wanted to hear from people who have had cosmetic surgery in New South Wales.

"The discussion paper will enable stakeholders and industry groups as well as the general public to make submissions which will help inform any future legislative changes," she said.


The discussion paper can be viewed on the NSW Health Department website.

Submissions will close at the end of January 2016.

Growing complaints about cosmetic surgery have also prompted the Medical Board to conduct a widespread review of the cosmetic surgery industry in Australia.

Changes could include mandatory cooling off periods for all patients before cosmetic surgery procedures, with a three-month cooling off period for all patients younger than 18, and mandatory assessment by a registered psychologist or psychiatrist.

Other changes could include explicit guidance on informed patient consent — including information about risks and possible complications — and explicit responsibility for post-operative care by the treating doctor, including emergency facilities when sedation or analgesia is involved.

Also on the table are mandatory face-to-face consultations before prescribing prescription-only cosmetic injectables such as Botox and detailed written information about costs and limits on where cosmetic procedures can be performed.

The Medical Board is likely to report back on possible changes early next year.

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This post originally appeared on ABC News.