The safety standards for cosmetic surgery procedures in New South Wales such as a facial implant, breast enlargement surgery, liposuction, and tummy tuck will be regulated after a long list of complaints from patients including those who faced life-threatening problems while undergoing the procedures. Starting in 2017, these procedures will only be allowed in facilities that passed the rigorous licensing standards given to private hospitals.

Under the Private Health Facilities Act and Regulation, cosmetic surgeons cannot perform these major operations in non-hospital settings. They are given up to nine months to get the licensing.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner says there has been an increasing public concern regarding high-risk practices that put a patient’s life in danger. Skinner asserts these changes will vastly improve patient safety.

cosmetic surgery

Breast implants. Credit: Dr. Karen M. Horton

When the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission conducted an investigation on the Cosmetic Institute’s Bondi and Parramatta clinics back in April, they found that the health care practitioners in the facilities administered questionable amounts of anesthetics without the patient’s consent. In total, 33 patients received unsafe doses of sedative drugs at both the Bondi and Parramatta clinics while six patients experienced life-threatening surgery complications, which included seizures and increased heart rate.

“We have long been concerned by the gap in quality and safety systems surrounding cosmetic surgery which has meant some patients were being administered high volume local anaesthesia in unlicensed premises which have been able to fly under the radar in terms of accreditation and audit,” points out Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons Vice President Gazi Hussain, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Hussain says the regulation should have been introduced a long time ago and encourages other state governments to follow suit. The cosmetic surgery review was announced by the NSW Health Ministry in September of last year after a female patient suffered a cardiac arrest while undergoing a breast enhancement procedure.