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Are UK patients guinea pigs for unproven cosmetic treatments?

Top Surgeons Examine Evidence at Annual Conference

London - 27 September, 2007 - The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (, the not-for-profit organisation established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit, are today holding a press conference at the Royal College of Physicians, at the start of their Annual Meeting taking place 27-28 September.

At the press conference, BAAPS spokespeople will address the controversy surrounding unregulated aesthetic treatments: is the UK really a testing ground for companies pushing unproven products? BAAPS experts will highlight some examples of those promoting overhyped claims and will also discuss the disturbing impact of manufacturers marketing directly to the public.

According to Douglas McGeorge, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President;

"The public needs to be realistic about the outcomes they can expect from new cosmetic treatments, at least until solid clinical evidence of their efficacy exists. No matter what the product is promising, it is always important for patients to educate themselves and discuss options with a properly qualified practitioner."

In addition to recommending a healthy dose of scepticism from the public in regards to new treatments, the BAAPS will also denounce the government's decision of allowing the industry to 'self-regulate'.

According to Douglas McGeorge;

"To foster a 'wild west' approach is not only an affront to reputable professionals who follow the rules, but ultimately creates an unsafe environment for the public."

At the event, the BAAPS will focus on a number of recent, specific cases where products have been publicized without a sound basis, including:

Isolagen: a product withdrawn from the market in America in 1999, it was still introduced in the UK in 2002, claiming to be a 'natural' way to 'grow your own facelift'

Celution: promoted as a 'lunch-time breast augmentation', states that stem cells from your own body can be reinjected as a natural alternative to implants - now legal in the EU although it isn't approved or available yet in America

High-street claims: Superdrug, which now offers Botox and other injectables on the high street, has recently marketed the filler Sculptra as a 'liquid facelift', which can lead to false expectations

Fat-Melting Treatments: including the flabjab (a.k.a. 'Lipodissolve' or 'Lipostabil'), which claims to melt fat although it has no license for cosmetic use and has been banned by the MHRA; and Mesotherapy, injections of medications or vitamins, minerals and herbs with no standardized protocol or chemical formulation, and without scientifically valid studies documenting their safety or effectiveness

Contour Lifts: Surgeons have been critical of the facelift effect offered through this procedure, achieved via what has been termed as 'fishing line' holding up skin on each side of the face

At the Annual Meeting, which is attended by hundreds of surgeons from all over the world, experts will be unveiling a number of revolutionary procedures and techniques. Presentations are on a wide variety of subjects, many of them unsurprisingly focusing on treatments specific to obesity surgery or the most popular surgical procedures, such as breast augmentation. Topics include:

'Out-to-Dinner Boob Job', which enables patients to be out to dinner the same evening after their surgery, as well as a full return to normal activity after 24 hours.

The 'Back Lift': folds of fat in the back are removed and concealed via a discreet scar under the bra line

'Scarless Arm Lift': eliminates dreaded 'bingo wings' - fat is removed and the scar is hidden

'More than Just a Facelift': discoveries about how individual features age independently from each other

'Lengthening the Short Nose': new technique tackling a difficulty that's challenged surgeons for a long time

And many others.

According to Adam Searle, immediate Past President of the BAAPS;

"The BAAPS Annual Meeting provides an exciting platform for experts all over the world to present on the latest techniques and advances in aesthetic surgery. Before promoting new products, we see it as our responsibility to evaluate new technology as scientists before we can recommend it to patients."


The BAAPS (, based at the Royal College of Surgeons, is a not-for-profit organisation, established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit. Members undergo thorough background screening before they can join. Information about specific procedures and surgeons’ contact details can be found on the website, or by contacting their office at 020 7430 1840. Further materials can be posted to members of the public seeking specialised information. BAAPS is also on Twitter:   and Facebook:

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