Cosmetic Surgery Industry Faces Overhaul

Simon Newton, Sky Reporter

The cosmetic surgery industry could face stricter regulation after the Government ordered a review of its practices following the PIP breast implant scandal.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has asked NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh to examine whether the industry needs tighter control.

Sir Bruce will also look at whether people have enough information before deciding to have surgery, and whether they have received the right aftercare.

He said: "The recent problems with PIP breast implants have shone a light on the cosmetic surgery industry.

"Many questions have been raised, particularly around the regulation of clinics, whether all practitioners are adequately qualified, how well people are advised when money is changing hands, aggressive marketing techniques, and what protection is available when things go wrong.

"I am concerned that too many people do not realise how serious cosmetic surgery is and do not consider the life-long implications - and potential complications - it can have."

The PIP scandal emerged last year after the implants were linked to the death of a French woman from a rare form of cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).

An estimated 47,000 British women are thought to have had PIP implants, which tests showed were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for use in mattresses.

NHS experts also found the implants were twice as likely to rupture as other brands.

Mr Lansley has asked that the review considers a national implant register, making it routine practice for surgeons to register all devices - from breast implants to hip replacements.

The register could be used to detect trends and identify individual patients. Clinics could also be required to join a scheme similar to that run by the travel industry meaning patients would have protection if a company went bust.

The review could also recommend a tightening of the rules on anti-ageing dermal fillers. At the moment they only require basic safety checks and can be legally injected by anyone.

A minimum training requirement for cosmetic surgeons could also be introduced. A new ComRes survey found that 45% of women who said they would have considered surgery before the scare, now said they were less likely to have it.

The body which represents plastic surgeons it backed better regulation.

Fazel Fatah, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), said: "We would like the review to take this opportunity to draw a clear line between cosmetic treatments that are seen as a commodity and cosmetic surgery that is serious medical treatment which must be provided by fully trained and qualified surgeons."