ABC News in Australia reports that the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons is calling for more stringent government regulation of office-based cosmetic surgery procedures.
As part of its submission to the Medical Board of Australia’s review of cosmetic surgery, the organization says it is particularly concerned about “office-based surgical procedures that use high-volume local anesthesia, or ‘conscious sedation,’ [and] fly under the radar in terms of accreditation and audit.”
According to ABC News, cosmetic surgery is largely unregulated in Australia: Any doctor can call themselves a “cosmetic surgeon” without being trained in the discipline. In addition, many cosmetic procedures are performed in offices that lack medical equipment to deal with patient emergencies.
The ABC News report quotes Society of Plastic Surgeons President Hugh Bartholomeusz, M.D., as saying, “We believe patients are largely unaware of the inherent differences in safety and quality control associated with surgical procedures performed at hospitals and day procedures compared to doctors’ offices.”
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The Society is seeking independent accreditation of office-based facilities where surgeries are conducted, credentialing of clinical staff, infection control, and minimum quality and audit requirements to ensure that resuscitation equipment and immediate transfer to a hospital is available where surgery is performed using more than small amounts of local anesthetic.
“The simplest mechanism would be to adapt day procedures centres [or] day hospital legislation to include office-based surgery with requirements including independent accreditation of facilities,” Dr. Bartholomeusz told ABC News.