Did you hear about the lady who was selling her 2nd hand breast implants on Ebay?
She said that they didn’t quite fit her, so she got a new pair!
I think the story was a bit of a joke.
I don’t doubt that someone would actually try to sell their old implants,
I mean you can get anything on Ebay these days (how about a hand made suit of armour for a guinea pig?).
But I don’t think that anyone would have actually bought them and seriously thought about implanting them, would they?!
The press love to get hold of a story about dodgy cosmetic surgery and dubious practices, but I think that part of the problem is the lack of regulation in the industry.
The fact of the matter is that there is no law against anyone selling a used pair of implants and perhaps more worrying, there is no law against anyone buying these implants and implanting them in someone.
Of course, if that someone was a surgeon and a member of a professional association (like BAPRAS and BAAPS for plastic surgeons), the association and probably the GMC would take a dim view of this and I am sure there would be disciplinary action.
However, the problem is that that someone does not have to be a member of any professional body and doesn’t even have to be a surgeon.
In fact, that someone doesn’t have to be a doctor at all!
There is more regulation on who can operate on your goldfish than there is on who can operate on your daughter (perhaps goldfish is not a good example and your dog would be better, anyway, the point is that there is no regulation on who can operate on a human).
We are currently relying on patients being able to get enough information about their practitioner to make an informed decision and avoid being treated by non-trained individuals (aka cowboys).
The problem is that it is happening and it is happening to high profile people – Colin Hendry, the premiership footballer and Usher and Kanye West, the music stars have all had family members come to harm having plastic surgery performed by surgeons who were not fully trained and affiliated with the plastic surgery associations.
If it can happen to them, what hope have the rest of us got.
I see that Ebay has withdrawn the listing for the breast implants, but you can still buy dermal fillers from Ebay and you can invite people around to your house and inject them on your kitchen table.
Sounds frightening (and it is), but all perfectly legal.
Totally against good medical practice that all doctors are bound to work within and there is no way the CQC (Care Quality Commission) would approve the facilities in your kitchen table to be suitable to be performing non-surgical procedures.
But the fact is that, because you don’t need to be a doctor to perform these procedures and you do not legally need to work in a facility that has been approved by the Care Quality Commission, these sort of practices go on and we don’t really know the extent of it.
It is good to raise awareness about the perils of this unregulated industry, but it would be nice if there were some positive stories now and again.
Plastic and cosmetic surgery can have a tremendous impact on people’s lives and is a powerful force for good. It has been given a bad name, but there are still a huge number of appropriately qualified doctors and nurses providing high quality care in an ethical way in safe and clean medical facilities.
Caveat Emptor – Let The Buyer Beware
Oh yes, and don’t buy your breast implants from Ebay!