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Injecting some sense into dermal fillers debate

Non-surgical doesn’t mean non-medical; surgeons call for a ‘Moral Charter’

London – 1 April, 2013 – A recommendation from Sir Bruce Keogh’s review into cosmetic surgery, which calls for beauty therapists and doctors to achieve a formal qualification to provide facial injectable treatments, has been ‘cautiously received’ by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons ( ). Specialised training is needed, they agree, but these procedures should be administered only by medical professionals - as they are capable of not only selecting the right patients but dealing with any complications.

According to consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President Rajiv Grover;

“Non-surgical does not mean non-medical. Treatment with dermal fillers have clear benefits but also risks – it is not just about who can wield a syringe but who will have the capabilities to deal with any possible complications. We agree that specialised training is required and certainly more extensive than the many widely-promoted weekend courses currently available, but aesthetic injectables should only ever be provided by medical professionals. It is known that dermal fillers have a physiological (‘biological’) effect on skin – such as stimulating the production of collagen, and many of them also contain local anaesthetic. These factors make these substances, in essence, a medicine.”

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 recent survey of BAAPS members ( revealed that 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.

Rajiv continues;

“Not only should those administering these procedures be capable of handling possible complications – which can range from bruising or swelling to necrosis, which is when the skin ‘dies’ – but, perhaps more importantly, be able to properly assess and select patients. People seeking aesthetic treatments may present with medical or even psychological issues, and experienced medical professionals are able to explore their histories and expectations to ensure the most satisfactory outcome. We call on the Government to regulate who is able to perform these procedures – and in the absence of tight controls, we urge manufacturers to adhere to a ‘Moral Charter’ whereby they agree to only distribute their products to medical professionals.”


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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