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Partner Update with Nicole Montgomery #13

New Cosmetic Surgery Guidelines in Australia: Prioritizing Safety and Standards

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Australian Commission livestream on Thursday the 14th of December 2023. The commission's broadcast on safety and quality in healthcare was an important end to 2023. You can watch the new Cosmetic Surgery Standards livestream here. 

Cosmetic surgery has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, with more individuals seeking enhancements to improve their appearance. According to the commission the cosmetic surgery industry is a billion-dollar industry in Australia. To ensure the safety and well-being of patients, Australia has introduced new cosmetic surgery guidelines in response to the growing demand for these procedures. This week, we will explore the key aspects of these guidelines and their impact on the cosmetic surgery industry.

The field of cosmetic surgery has evolved significantly over the years, offering a wide array of procedures to enhance one's appearance. With this growth, concerns have arisen regarding patient safety, ethical standards, and the qualifications of practitioners. The new guidelines aim to address these issues and promote responsible practices within the industry.

Key Guidelines:

Patient Assessment and Informed Consent: One of the primary focuses of the new guidelines is ensuring that patients receive thorough assessments and are fully informed about the risks, benefits, and alternatives of any procedure. This includes obtaining informed consent from patients before surgery.

Having worked for over 15 years within this industry, I have spoken to many patients who were so excited about the procedure, they really did not comprehend the risk. In addition, I have had experience with patients who did not understand the medical jargon. They did not have the medical knowledge and insight to appreciate the gravity of surgery. Post surgery when a patient for instance has a haematoma (a common complication with surgery and/or injectable), the patient would be furious, disheartened and lose trust in the practitioner as they saw themselves as “botched”. Meanwhile, they ticked a box, initiated and signed acknowledging the risk before the procedure. Consent is an extremely important component of any patient journey.

Qualifications and Training: Cosmetic surgeons are required to have appropriate qualifications, training, and experience to perform specific procedures. These guidelines aim to enhance the competence of practitioners and reduce the risk of complications.

Facility Standards: The guidelines establish standards for the facilities where cosmetic surgery is performed, ensuring that they meet certain safety and hygiene requirements. This helps reduce the risk of infections and other complications associated with surgery.

Follow-up and Aftercare: Post-operative care and follow-up are crucial for patient recovery and satisfaction. The guidelines emphasize the importance of providing comprehensive aftercare and monitoring patients' progress. Having worked years as a patient educator and post-operative nurse, I am thrilled to see post-operative care as an integral part of the patient journey.

Patient Education: Informed decision-making is a cornerstone of the new guidelines. Patients are encouraged to thoroughly research their chosen procedure, consult with qualified practitioners, and ask questions to ensure they have realistic expectations and understand the potential risks. This ensures consumers are making informed and safe decisions, as opposed to relying on misleading marketing and sales tactics.

The introduction of these guidelines is expected to have several positive impacts:

Enhanced Safety: Patients can have greater confidence that their cosmetic surgery will be performed in a safe and controlled environment by qualified professionals.

Improved Outcomes: By prioritising patient assessments, post-operative care, and practitioner qualifications, the guidelines aim to improve surgical outcomes and minimise complications.

Increased Accountability: The guidelines hold practitioners accountable for their actions, reducing the risk of substandard practices within the industry.

The introduction of new cosmetic surgery guidelines in Australia reflects a commitment to the safety and well-being of patients seeking cosmetic enhancements. These guidelines set a higher standard for practitioners and facilities, ultimately benefiting those who choose to undergo cosmetic procedures. As the field continues to evolve, these standards will play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of the cosmetic surgery industry.

I encourage everyone within the aesthetic industry to watch the launch and keep abreast of current guidelines and accreditation requirements. 

For more information, visit National safety and Quality Cosmetic Surgery Standards

Written with gratitude,
Nicole Montgomery RN


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