I GREW A HORN AF­TER COS­METIC SURGERY

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - FRONT PAGE - SUE DUNLEVY NA­TIONAL HEALTH RE­PORTER

A WOMAN who de­vel­oped a “horn” on her fore­head and an­other whose face was “eaten by bac­te­ria” are among bun­gles en­gulf­ing the boom­ing cos­metic in­dus­try.

One of the vic­tims now re­quires surgery to cut her face from ear to ear and peel back her fore­head to re­move fillers that have left her with a mis­shapen face.

The other has been on an­tibi­otics for more than a year and has had surgery four times, cost­ing $25,000.

New re­search by Mac­quarie Univer­sity plas­tic sur­geon Pro­fes­sor Anand Deva has linked cos­metic filler pro­ce­dures to chronic in­fec­tions that take years to con­trol, leav­ing vic­tims dis­fig­ured. Doc­tors have warned poor pro­ce­dures can cause cell death, blind­ness, loss of sen­sa­tion and the in­abil­ity to smile or clean teeth.

The rev­e­la­tions fol­low the death in Syd­ney last month of Jean Huang, 35, while hav­ing fillers in­jected into her breasts.

With Aus­tralians spend­ing more than $1 bil­lion a year on cos­metic pro­ce­dures, Prof Deva has ac­cused the in­dus­try of pur­su­ing prof­its at the ex­pense of pa­tient safety. He wants a regis­ter to keep track of the fillers used and the doc­tors who do the pro­ce­dures.

One woman, who wants to be known only as Ms Thorn­ton, said her life has been a “night­mare” af­ter a plas­tic sur­geon in­jected filler into her face in 2003. Within six months she had de­vel­oped ma­jor lumps and in­fected nod­ules.

“I was in a hos­pi­tal not some back­yard clinic,” Ms Thorn­ton, 50, said.

“He didn’t say there was any chance nod­ules could de­velop. He said I had a re­ac­tion and wanted to give me a steroid in­jec­tion that would have left me with pit­ted skin.”

In 2014 a sur­geon tried to re­move the nod­ules through her mouth but couldn’t get them all.

While the orig­i­nal treat­ment cost $500, at­tempts to re­pair the dam­age have so far cost more than $8000.

A 47-year-old Syd­ney woman said she “lost her face” when she de­vel­oped an in­fec­tion af­ter she had per­ma­nent filler and platelet-rich plasma in­jected into her face.

Within days a small pink dot de­vel­oped where she had re­ceived the treat­ment and her face be­came swollen and red.

The cos­metic doc­tor re­fused to see her again. She said: “No one would ac­cept me, they di­rected me to emer­gency.”

Her face has lost its sym­me­try and she has had four oper­a­tions to drain the in­fec­tion, as well as spend­ing a year on an­tibi­otics.

“I had a pretty face. I lost my face; I lost the left side of my face,” she said.

She is now hav­ing fat re­moved from her stom­ach and in­jected into her face to re­build it and re­quires ex­ten­sive laser treat­ment to re­move scars.

Prof Deva, whose re­search found many fillers sup­ported bac­te­ria growth, said: “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 com- pletely un­reg­u­lated providers.

“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’.”

He wants fillers treated as if they are sur­gi­cal im­plants.

Doc­tors and clin­ics should be re­quired to note the type of filler used so in­fec­tion risk and trou­ble­some prod­ucts could be tracked, he said. And he wants man­u­fac­tur­ers to refuse to sell their prod­ucts to doc­tors who won’t agree.

Al­ler­gan, one of the com­pa­nies that man­u­fac­tures the fillers, said it would wel­come any ini­tia­tive or tool that im­proved pa­tient out­comes.

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