Top plastic surgeon calls for botox and filler ban for under 25s

Top plastic surgeon calls for botox and filler ban for under 25s

One of the country's top plastic surgeons has called for Botox and cosmetic fillers to be banned for young people under the age of 25. Consultant plastic surgeon at the Blackrock Clinic, Dr Siún Murphy, said the cosmetic procedures should only be carried out in exceptional cases for people under 25 years as young faces are still growing until that age.

"A lot of 18-year olds aren't fully grown yet,” says Dr Murphy, who is a member of the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons.

"If you start putting filler into a face that is not fully grown, apart from the risk to everyone of sticking a needle into a (blood) vessel, you could actually impede the growth on one side of the face or alter the structure going forward so you're doubling up on that risk. The safer option is 25."

While medicines containing botulinum toxin, trademarked as Botox, are subject to prescription control and can only be administered by a medical practitioner or by a dentist, fillers are currently licensed as a ‘medical device’.

This means that “there is really no regulation whatsoever on the use of fillers” in Europe, according to Dr Callaghan Condon, consultant dermatologist with the Blackrock Clinic. Dermal fillers, facial injections of collagen, hyaluronic acid or calcium hydroxylapatite, are also are more likely to cause complications than Botox, he added.

“There is no demand or regulation for training {of administering fillers} as it currently stands,” he told RTÉ.

“Literally, anybody could open up and start doing fillers tomorrow.” The process can cause negative side-effects such as hypersensitivity, infection or necrosis, the death of cells in an organ or tissue.

“It is very easy to put the product into a vessel and if you block the vessel, you can cause necrosis of the skin,” Dr Condon said.

Personally, I have seen necrosis of somebody’s nose, where they have lost a part of their nose from it.

"I know colleagues who have seen people who have lost part of their upper lip from necrosis."

“I have never heard of it happening in this country, but there are certainly a number of cases around the world about people going blind where if you inject in and around the eye, the filler can enter a vessel and go back to the eye and cause loss of vision.”

Health Minister Simon Harris has announced that he is considering banning botox and fillers for people under the age of 18.

He also asked department officials to outline the public health risks, if any, for men and women using Botox and fillers and to examine the need for further regulation. He said: “There is a need to examine whether current regulations are sufficient or whether further regulation is required."

The Department of Health is also looking at reclassifying dermal fillers under new EU legislation due by 2020, a spokesperson confirmed. This should allow for the introduction of national legislation, like the requirement that only certain healthcare professionals or institutions may carry out cosmetic procedures.

“Work on developing this requirement will continue over the coming months,” the spokesman added.

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The Department of Health, the HSE and the Health Product Regulatory Agency do not have information on the numbers of people currently using dermal fillers.

While the HSE funds plastic surgery when recommended by a medical consultant, it does not fund cosmetic procedures such as dermal fillers or Botox, a HSE spokeswoman confirmed. Plastic surgery procedures funded by the HSE include breast reconstruction following cancer, burn reconstruction or surgery for congenital issues.

While a number of people have presented to emergency departments following ‘botched’ cosmetic procedures in recent months, the number of incidents remains “small”, she added. Both Dr Murphy and Dr Condon credits the Kardashian family with increasing demand for dermal fillers.

“There are certainly people ringing the practices and asking about fillers at a very young age, particularly lip fillers,” Dr Condon said.

“I think this has been brought about by the ‘Kardashian-era’. Everybody makes it seem like a very simple procedure and the procedure isn't technically that difficult but it can be dangerous.”

Dr Murphy also pointed to the influence of Kylie Jenner. "What's happening now with Instagram and access to celebrities and young women like Kylie (Jenner) doing her lips, a lot of younger people are trying to access something like this.

"You have young teens going in and asking for a ml of filler to be split between them and their friends and that's when the whole thing gets extremely dodgy."

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