Nurses want fillers regulated after a woman blinded

Adapted from Eleanor Black – October 6, 2017

Dermal fillers are not currently regulated.

Nurses specialising in appearance medicine want the use of dermal fillers regulated, after an Australian woman was blinded in one eye by a filler procedure gone wrong.

In a rare complication, filler injected near the nose can travel through blood vessels feeding the eye, and starve them of blood and oxygen, resulting in blindness. There have been 100 such cases worldwide. 

The first case in our part of the world involved an Australian woman who was blinded in May.  She had filler injected near her nose, by a new injector. Within minutes the vision in her right eye became blurry.

That case certainly brought it to our doorstep, and there have been a couple of other close calls.  It has become a central pillar of all the cosmetic appearance conferences around the world.

Dermal fillers are used to plump cheeks and lips and alter the shapes of noses. While a nose job by a top surgeon costs around $20,000, the cost of a non-surgical nose job using fillers is around $1000. 

Under the proposed Therapeutic Products Bill, expected to go before Parliament next year, there will be a regulatory framework around the use of dermal fillers.

The classification of dermal fillers changed from “medicine” to “medical device” in 2014, meaning that anyone can use them.

“In terms of the type of classification we have for medicines in legislation (ie prescription-only, pharmacy-only under the current Medicines Act 1981), there are currently no similar legal restrictions on who can use medical devices,” says Medsafe group manager Chris James.

“In the new Therapeutic Products Bill we are looking at how to ensure appropriate use of these products.”

The executive committee setting standards for nurses practicing Cosmetic Medicine in New Zealand says people shouldn’t be discouraged from getting fillers injected, but that they should be better informed of possible problems, and ensure they choose a well-trained professional.

‘Backstreet’ beauty clinics operating in New Zealand

Adapted from  ELEANOR BLACK – October 13, 2017

Cosmetic medicine professionals say that unqualified operators are putting the public at risk.

Unqualified people are performing cosmetic procedures and importing unregistered medicines.

In one case which has caused alarm in cosmetic medicine circles, an Auckland woman is advertising surgeries on social media, including eye lifts and liposuction; sources in the industry, who want to stay anonymous, say she is not properly qualified to be doing the procedures and they are not being carried out in a proper, sterile environment. 

The government regulatory body Medsafe is also investigating the importation and use of unregistered medicines and medical devices. 

Two sources in the cosmetic medicine field said that the Auckland woman had claimed to be a doctor but had no medical training, and had been operating behind a hair salon in central Auckland. She has since moved her work to a private home.

“There are quite a few backstreet clinics, but she is the only one doing surgery,” said one source, who believed there were at least 20 operators in Auckland using unregistered products.

Sydney woman Jean Huang died after a botched breast procedure at her beauty clinic in August. 

Dr Hans Raetz, the president of the New Zealand Society of Cosmetic Medicine, has shared concerns about unqualified people doing medical procedures with the Ministry of Health.

He likens the services to choosing a scrapyard mechanic rather than a licensed mechanic. “I don’t understand why anybody would go for these guys,” said Dr Raetz. “You can always buy yourself a new car, but no such luck with a new body if your old one is falling to bits.”

Ruth Nicholson, who runs NZ Laser Training – which specialises in training around the use of lasers in cosmetic procedures – said she was also aware of underground operators.

“It’s a whole secretive underground industry. It does scare me, what’s going on. I do think there are a lot of women out there working from garages and their homes who are not registered doing god knows what.”

Sydney woman Jean Huang died after a botched breast procedure at her beauty clinic in Chippendale in August. A Chinese visitor claiming to be a doctor administered anaesthetic and breast fillers. The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery issued a warning about such procedures being done outside a medical setting.

The Auckland woman has reportedly been performing cosmetic procedures for the past two years. Her services as advertised include facial threading (a non-surgical facelift procedure), fat transfer (from one part of the body to another) and nose reshaping. Some of the procedures would entail use of anaesthetics, and it is unclear whether she is qualified to administer these.

Attempts to contact the woman, including via the WeChat social media app which she has advertised on, and at her last-known premises in central Auckland, have been fruitless. 

Screenshots of posts apparently written by her on WeChat  promote the anti-ageing properties of products she says come from Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Korea. The screenshots suggest she is importing dermal fillers and botox-like products that are unregistered in New Zealand. 

In one WeChat post she says she has clients coming from Wellington to get their noses reshaped.

Another example of WeChat being used to promote questionable cosmetic procedures featured another New Zealand-based woman who touted cosmetic products which are not registered for use here.

Derek Fitzgerald, manager of compliance management for Medsafe, said the regulator was aware of Raetz’s concerns and complaints from other people around unregistered medical products.

“Actions in relation to the importation and use of medicines and medical devices are under investigation, including the roles played by those involved,” said Fitzgerald.

If members of the public were concerned about the use of medicines or medical devices in relation to a cosmetic treatment, they could complain to the Ministry of Health, he said.

©2019 CANN

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