Disfigurement Hideous toll of quest for beauty by cosmetic filler
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 victim 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 with a misshapen face.
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.
A woman 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 expense of patient safety.
He wants an electronic patient register to keep track of the fillers used and the doctors who carry out the procedures.
“We are facing a perfect storm in the cosmetic industry where demand is insatiable, driven by social media and celebrities, and it is being met by completely unregulated providers,” he said. “We can ride the wave, the boom and make money and drive fancy cars or we can say this is still medicine and the health of people is at stake.”
Australians are now spending more than $1 billion a year on cosmetic procedures.
One of the biggest cosmetic chains, Laser Clinics, says it performed more than 2.7 million beauty treatments and treated 220,000 new clients in 2017. It was sold recently for more $650 million.
Professor Deva’s research tested the cosmetic fillers hyaluronic acid, polyacrylamide and poly-l-lactic acid and found they all supported bacteria growth.
Multiple needle passes or fanning of the needle during the procedure increased infection risk, the research found.
The research reports on five patients who developed troublesome infections linked to the fillers which took years to resolve and involved multiple follow-up surgeries costing tens of thousands of dollars.
Professor Deva says the fillers must be regulated and treated as if they were a surgical implant.
Doctors and clinics who use the products should be required to note the type of filler used on a special passport app on a patient’s mobile phone so infection risk and troublesome products can be tracked, he says.
Professor Deva wants manufacturers of the fillers to refuse to sell their products to doctors who won’t sign the passport.
Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons president Professor Mark Ashton said he was seeing an increasing number of patients with problems caused by fillers and wants state governments to tighten regulations around the industry.
“It is important to recognise that there is no such thing as
PROF ANAND DEVA