Ugly side to beauty quest

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - SUE DUNLEVY

A WO­MAN has been left with a “horn” on her fore­head and an­other had her face eaten by bac­te­ria in the lat­est bun­gles in the boom­ing cos­metic in­dus­try.

New Mac­quarie Univer­sity re­search has linked cos­metic filler pro­ce­dures to se­ri­ous and chronic in­fec­tions that take years to con­trol and leave vic­tims dis­fig­ured.

One pa­tient now re­quires surgery in which her face will be cut from ear to ear and her fore­head peeled back to re­move filler that has left her face mis­shapen.

An­other has been on an­tibi­otics for more than a year and en­dured four surg­eries, cost­ing $25,000, to drain in­fec­tion and re­build her face.

Doc­tors are warn­ing poor pro­ce­dures can lead to chronic in­fec­tion, cell death, blind­ness, loss of sen­sa­tion and the in­abil­ity to smile or clean teeth.

Jean Huang died in Sydney last month dur­ing a pro­ce­dure to in­ject fillers into her breasts.

Mac­quarie Univer­sity plas­tic sur­geon Pro­fes­sor Anand Deva, whose re­search has linked cos­metic fillers to se­ri­ous bac­te­rial in­fec­tion, ac­cuses the cos­metic in­dus­try of pur­su­ing prof­its at the ex- pense of pa­tient safety.

He wants a pa­tient reg- is­ter to keep track of the fil- lers used and the doc­torss who carry out the proce- dures.

“We are fac­ing a per­fectt storm in the cos­metic in­dus­try where de­mand is in­sa­tiable, driven by so­cial me­dia and celebri­ties, and it is be­ing met by com­pletely un­reg­u­lated providers,” Prof Deva said.

Aus­tralians are now spend­ing more than $1 bil­lion a year on cos­metic pro­ce­dures.

Prof Deva’s re­search tested the cos­metic fillers hyaluronic acid, poly­acry­lamide and poly-Llac­tic acid, and found they all sup­ported bac­te­ria growth.

He said the fillers must be reg­u­lated and treated as if they were a sur­gi­cal im­plant.

Pres­i­dent of the Aus­tralianli So­ci­ety Plas­tic Sur­geons, Pro­fes­sor Mark Ash­ton, said he was see­ing an in­creas­ing num­ber of pa­tients with prob­lems caused by fillers and wanted state gov­ern­ments to tighten reg­u­la­tions.

Dr Ron Feiner, the dean of the Aus­tralasian Col­lege Cos­metic Surgery, said filler com­pli­ca­tion rates were very small.

En­sur­ing the peo­ple do­ing the in­ject­ing were prop­erly trained and a mem­ber of a col­lege like his was more press­ing than a reg­is­ter, Dr Feiner said. sue.dunlevy@news.com.au

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