Australia is outdoing the US in cosmetic surgery

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Aussies get more procedures per capita than America, spending over a billion dollars last year alone.

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Australians love plastic surgery. That’s $1bn-worth love. In fact, we’re so enamoured we’ve jumped past the United States when it comes to procedures per capita.

Roughly 500,000 cosmetic procedures were carried out last year. That includes 20,000 boob jobs, 30,000 liposuction procedures and $350m dollars’ worth of Botox injections.

But as the industry booms, attention has turned to regulation – because when it comes to the cosmetic side of the industry, there’s little clarity. While plastic surgeons have to complete at least 5 years of extra specialist training to practice in their fie, anyone registered as a medical practitioner - from a GP to a dentist - can call themselves a ‘cosmetic surgeon’.

In some cases, this can prove fatal. A special investigation by The Feed earlier this year revealed in certain cases, ‘surgeons’ were unqualified and unlicensed – some operating out of apartment homes. Others had pretended to be actual doctors to pass off credentials. Enforcing proper practice appeared incredibly difficult.

Last year COAG Health Ministers said they’d crack down on fake ‘cosmetic’ surgeons, mostly by restricting who can use the title. It’s something the cosmetic surgery industry agrees with.

“There needs to be some government regulation so that patients and consumers are aware of who they should be seeing and who they shouldn’t be seeing, “ says Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery spokeswoman Meaghan Heckenberg,  “ this is not happening at the moment.”

Even if the rules become stricter, there is still the problem of enforcement. With so many backyard operators and cowboy cosmetic salesmen,  how do we ensure everyone is pulled into line?