More than two-thirds of people who have cosmetic surgery injections in the UK are not qualified doctors, a new study has revealed.
The study, the first to look at who provides injectable cosmetic services, including Botox and dermal fillers, in the country, found that dentists and nurses were also among those offering the services.
After examining 3,000 cosmetic surgery websites, 1,163 (32%) doctors were identified, of which 41% were specialists and 19% were general practitioners.
Other healthcare professionals such as nurses accounted for 13%, dentists accounted for 24%, and dental nurses accounted for 8%.
The injectables market is expected to be worth £11.7bn by 2026 but is currently largely unregulated as the background of practitioners is unknown.
Dr David Zagaran, author of the study, published in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, said the range of backgrounds of practitioners raised broader questions related to “competence and consent”.
“Our study highlights that the majority of practitioners are not doctors, including other healthcare professionals, as well as non-healthcare professionals such as cosmetologists,” he said.
“One of the main challenges facing government licensing programs is ensuring that licensed practitioners have the skills and experience needed to safely perform treatments in order to minimize risk to patients.”
The findings come as the government prepares to update policy on injectables, with a public consultation on the industry due to begin next month.
The recommendations are expected to inform amendments to the Healthcare Act in 2024.
Read more health news:
Botulism in patients given weight-loss injections raises warning
Complete List of Off-Shelf Cough Drops
The “hell on earth” of foreign cheap plastic surgery
Professor Julie Davies, co-author of the study, said: “Our findings should serve as a wake-up call for lawmakers to enforce effective regulatory and professional standards to protect patients from complications.”
“While the risks associated with injections are usually mild and temporary, physical complications can be permanent and debilitating.
“When surgery goes wrong, there are also serious psychological, emotional and financial consequences for patients.”
A second study published earlier this month by the same authors found that 69 percent of respondents experienced long-term adverse effects, such as pain, anxiety and headaches.