Life Wellbeing Dermal fillers failure: Botched cosmetic procedures causing blindness, doctors warn

Dermal fillers failure: Botched cosmetic procedures causing blindness, doctors warn

Dermal fillers are growing in popularity, but aren't without risk. Photo: Getty
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Australia’s peak cosmetic surgery body has sounded the alarm over dodgy dermal fillers, as the number of people going blind from botched procedures rises.

Far from a quick and painless beauty procedure, dermal fillers can cause permanent blindness if not performed correctly, the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery warned this week.

Nearly 200 cases of accidental blindness have been reported globally from botched filler procedures, ACSS president Irene Kushelew said.

“Many Australians incorrectly believe that procedures involving dermal fillers are beauty treatments, in the same category as facials,” she said.

“But cosmetic procedures are medical procedures that carry risks.

“As such, you want to be in the hands of a qualified medical practitioner in the event of any complications.”

The use of imported, illegal products by “questionable” practitioners is on the rise in Australia, Dr Kushelew said.

She urged anyone considering dermal fillers to avoid unqualified practitioners.

“You only have one face, so you want to be in the hands of someone who knows what to do,” she said.

In December, an investigation by The New Daily uncovered illegal cosmetic surgery procedures being performed without the supervision of a doctor, as required under by law.

The New Daily spoke to numerous victims across Australia who shared their horrendous experiences with botched beauty procedures.

Their complaints included temporary loss of eyesight, blocked blood vessels and alarming facial growths. 

In one facility visited by The New Daily procedures were conducted in a room the size of a tiny bathroom, with two portable beds covered by visibly dirty blankets.

The nurse was wearing casual clothes rather than the customary white coat. She wore no sanitary gloves during any of the consultations, including while touching the face of a prospective client.

The public needed protection from “untrained, inexperienced, ‘occasional’ practitioners” offering cosmetic procedures who “do not understand the high-risk areas of the face”, Dr Kushelew said.

Anyone considering a cosmetic procedure should always seek a doctor’s advice first, she said.

“Under Australian law you must have a medical consultation with a doctor so they can consider your medical history and assure a physical examination has been conducted.”

Four crucial questions to ask before cosmetic procedures

  • Have you had a face-to-face consultation with a licensed doctor? This is a mandatory legal requirement;
  • What is the specific product they will inject? The use of imported and illegal toxins and serums is on the rise in Australia, so make sure your clinic uses Australian standard-approved products;
  • How well-prepared is your clinic for an emergency? Ensure it has a procedure to rectify any unintended treatment outcomes;
  • How experienced is your practitioner? How many times have they done it before? What training have they done?

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