Unbiased advice if you are considering medical aesthetic or cosmetic treatment
Recognising bias and conflict of interest
This post is intended for all of you who are considering any advice or treatment to facilitate aging well. There is a lot of fur flying around but not much independent, unbiased advice.
Manufacturers will say: “Use our products and our listed providers and you will be safe.”
Business directories will say: “Use our members and you will be safe.”
Training providers will say: “Use our trainees, they are trained to Level xx and are expert injectors”
Most aesthetic clinics and practitioners will say: “Dr So and So is an expert in x treatment which is all the rage and has won x award in the cosmetic industry. Dr So and So is thereby your best bet”
Can’t say I blame them, it is a competitive dog-eat-dog industry so everyone wants to grab what they can, when they can.
But like everything in life, there is more to this than meets the eye. Aesthetic medicine, like other medical specialities, involves clinical history taking, assessment, diagnosis, management, complication care, follow up and prevention. And yes, aesthetic medicine is a well-researched medical speciality that the government will not recognise, because the longer they keep it a commodity, the more revenue they can suck out of business owners that provide these services.
It is a complex situation indeed. The drama is all the more when you consider the emotionally charged nature of aging and appearance, people hoping against hope to get the outcome they desire, airbrushed advertising by cosmetic clinics and the promise of a quick buck luring more providers into it.
With the understanding of aging getting better, non-surgical procedures getting more effective and packing more punch, it is obvious to some that this is medical care, but not to all. So read on, with an open mind.
What disturbed me most was the aggressive nature of most of the comments from therapists and public alike – many were judgemental of women seeking these treatments – but that is for another post.
There were belligerent comments from people who felt victimised or targeted by this undercover reporter. Yes, I can sort of see why they felt that way. But there is a deeper problem here: people simply don’t seem to understand what constitutes regulation, what is the difference between regulation and insurance as it matters to a patient.
So, before taking anything personally and feeling aggrieved in this situation, it may help to step into the shoes of the affected patient(s). Remember, if you are having medical treatment and that includes toxins like Botox®, injectable dermal fillers, medical grade chemical peels, thread lifts, medical lasers etc. you would want to be considered a patient, not just a client.
In the unfortunate event that something goes amiss, you have someplace to go for help and advice, if you had treatment from a regulated person. They are bound to play it safer as they answer to regulators and will not risk losing their license to practise, especially if Aesthetic Medicine is their entire livelihood.
You are probably thinking well, what if the provider is “insured” – in this country, cosmetic treatment insurance is a tick box exercise. There is some insurer somewhere, who will insure just about anyone, whilst covering their backsides with a blanket T&C’s and exclusions document.
Insurance is not the same as regulation – insurance may get you some compensation (rarely if ever), but regulation is based on inculcating the mindset that helps prevent the regulated provider from considering treatments that may do more harm than good. Any training provider that glosses over this issue is being irresponsible.
Why should it matter to you if I am regulated?
For example, I am regulated. I feel that young people seeking appearance alterations should be considered as vulnerable adults. I do not inject under-21’s for cosmetic reasons like lip fillers but I do treat acne at any age. (This choice is not just another of my many charming personal quirks 🙂 but has a medical basis which I shall address in a different post.)
The bottom line is patient safety. I am not simply saying only medical practitioners are good at something. I am saying that they have more at stake; they have to protect their license to practice.
Of note to patients doing their research, I am also saying that a physician who is dedicated to aesthetic and anti-aging medicine, not just dabbling in it alongside their NHS general practice, would have by necessity, spent more years immersed in the intricacies of what you simply see as a wrinkle that won’t go away, or the extra bulge around the middle that won’t go away despite your best efforts. So there is a good chance they will assess you in more depth (that is what they do, remember?), and treat you with an eye for long term safe results. They are in it for the long haul, and that is what you want to make sure when you pick a provider.
Please remember: Nothing can justify being reckless with your face/ body. Take your time to decide, choose the correct person to assess you and perform your treatment. Most non-surgical treatments including toxins, dermal fillers, chemical peels, medical lasers, radiofrequency body contouring etc. – are proven and safe when done for the correct patient by a responsible provider. So don’t worry, don’t let anybody’s negative comments scare you, make up your own mind.