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Two out of three surgeons seeing botched filler ops

Survey reveals 84% of problems with permanent fillers require surgery or deemed untreatable

London - 24 November, 2012- With the Government’s enquiry into the marketing of cosmetic procedures in full swing, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons ( ) today unveils new survey results detailing the staggering rise in problems stemming from non-surgical treatments. The internal poll reveals the number of complications seen in the past year due to dermal filler injections, how many patients needed corrective surgery and identifies the BAAPS’ main concerns regarding the lack of statutory controls over these unregulated procedures.

Dermal fillers are injectible substances commonly used to target wrinkles and smooth or ‘rejuvenate’ the skin. There are well over a hundred available, some of which promise temporary effects and others permanent. Despite the effects of the former being considered more innocuous because they’re short-term, a shocking 69% of surgeons saw patients suffering complications from just temporary fillers, while nearly half (49%) of surgeons saw problems with semi- or permanent fillers. Out of those patients who suffered problems with permanent substances, nearly nine out of ten (84%) required corrective surgery or were deemed untreatable due to the damage caused.

In spite of being pulled off the market recently for use in the breast, body contouring filler Macrolane (widely touted as the ‘lunchtime boob jab’) continued to cause problems with 45% of surgeons witnessing complications stemming from its use.

The last BAAPS survey on this theme was done in 2009 and showed only 23% of surgeons were seeing problems with permanent fillers and just under a fifth (19%) with temporary ones, showing that in the space of three years the numbers have doubled for the former and tripled in the latter.

Survey highlights:

More than two thirds (69%) of surgeons saw cases presenting with problems stemming from temporary fillers (e.g., hyaluronic acids). The majority (57%) saw 1-3 patients with complications but a considerable 12% saw between 4-6

Well over a quarter (28%) of surgeons reported that in the past year 1-3 patients actually required surgery to correct the damage caused by temporary fillers.

Nearly half (49%) of surgeons saw patients presenting with complications from semi- or permanent fillers (e.g., Bio-Alcamid, Aquamid). The vast majority (41%) saw 1-3 patients, 8% between 4-9 and one surgeon had seen more than 15 botched cases in one year.

Almost as many (41%) surgeons reported they saw patients who either required corrective surgery or were deemed untreatable due to the damage (this equates to 84% of all patients who presented with problems caused by semi- or permanent fillers)

A similar number (45%) reported seeing complications from body contouring filler Macrolane, which had been widely promoted as the ‘lunchtime boob job’. The majority (38%) saw 1-3 problem cases, whilst 8% saw 4 or more. The injectable was pulled off the market for use in the breast in April this year.

The top reasons surgeons feel complications occur with injectables are:

Unqualified practitioners are administering fillers incorrectly

Lack of regulation has allowed unproven substances to be used in the UK

Patients think of them as an easy treatment that can be administered by anyone

Patients are unaware of the risks and side effects involved with the procedure

Nearly all BAAPS members (98%) feel that when fillers go through the approval process, they should be treated as a medicine (as is done in the US with the Food and Drug Administration) and that the current approval process, in which fillers are treated as a medical device receiving a CE Mark, is inadequate.

According to consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President Rajiv Grover;

“Although it is known that plastic surgeons are not the main providers of cosmetic injectables – in fact, a considerable number of respondents in our survey clarified they did not perform them at all - it is surgeons who are called upon to deal with problems when they do arise. The growing popularity of these non-surgical treatments has clearly led to complacency regarding how they are performed and by whom. As shocking as these figures may appear to the public, none of us in the profession are actually shocked by the results of this survey. The BAAPS has been voicing concerns over the lack of regulation in this arena for years - the statistics simply prove what we’ve been saying all along. What I would find surprising is if anyone was still able to maintain, in good conscience, that fillers should not be reclassified as medicines.”


About the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
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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