Sir Bruce Keogh’s review of the cosmetic surgery world in 2013 warned that dermal fillers and Botox could cause lasting harm and highlighted concerns that the provision of such treatments was not covered by some form of regulation. The aim of the review was to make Botox and fillers become prescription only so that only qualified medical staff could carry out the procedures. Unfortunately, this did not happen and many within the industry felt this was a missed opportunity. The number of treatments and aggressive marketing campaigns continue to rise but there is a huge range in the expertise and back up offered by service providers.
As Botox recently celebrated its 12th birthday as a cosmetic treatment, the Penningtons Manches clinical negligence team looks at its history and rise in popularity. Botox was originally approved in 1989 for treating uncontrolled blinking, again in 2000 for spasms of the neck and, finally, in April 2002 for the treatment of lines and it is now a household name.
Botox was frowned upon when it was first introduced with many considering the idea of injecting yourself with “poison” as repulsive. But, the number of people having Botox continues to rise and, by 2018, it is estimated that the global market will be worth $2.9bn. One of the drivers behind the growth in demand for these procedures appears to be the increasing popularity of the “selfie”, a trend started by celebrities to promote themselves on social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The correlation between the rise of cosmetic procedures and the use of social media is also worrying. Today, Botox is so readily available and considered the “norm” that people seem oblivious of the risks that can be involved and are blasé about treatment. In the US alone, there has been a 700% increase in Botox procedures since the early noughties.
Amy Milner, an associate within the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches, specialising in cosmetic claims, says: “Given the increase and rise in popularity for these types of procedures, which are showing no signs of abating, we are seeing a rise in the number of clinical negligence claims following serious side effects. We know too well that non-surgical cosmetic treatments are not regulated, despite Sir Keogh’s review and, if treatments are not carried out correctly, they can have a significant negative impact on people’s lives.
“We recommend that anyone wanting to undergo a non-surgical cosmetic treatment should ensure that they seek a medically trained surgeon to carry out the procedure and to carry out research into the treatments and their potential side effects. When treatments go wrong, particularly those carried out on a patient’s face, there can be devastating consequences and, if the procedure has been carried out by someone who is not medically qualified, a patient may have little recourse.”