Aussies officially more vain than Americans
AUSTRALIANS are now officially more vain than Americans, with our rates of cosmetic surgery overtaking the land of the Kardashians.
With 500,000 cosmetic procedures from Botox to boob jobs performed last year, health ministers are finally cracking down on rogue operators calling themselves cosmetic surgeons.
A public consultation paper is to be released by the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council after NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged his colleagues to restrict use of the title "cosmetic surgeon" to avoid patients being misled, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.
The long overdue reforms come as the country's bill for cosmetic procedures soars past $1 billion a year, more per capita than even the US.
At present anyone from fly-in fly-out operators with no qualifications to medical graduates and GPs can give themselves the title of "cosmetic surgeon" because the surgery is not a recognised speciality.
The country's peak body for cosmetic surgeons yesterday called on governments to urgently lay down guidelines on who can operate on patients.
"Patients have no way of knowing whether their surgeon is properly qualified and has undergone specific training in cosmetic surgery," Dr Ron Bezic, president of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery, said.
"The system is a complete lottery for patients," he said.
"There is no simple national and easily recognisable way for patients to know whether they are in safe hands."
Latest estimates are that $350 million worth of Botox procedures were carried out last year plus 20,000 boob jobs and 30,000 liposuction procedures, the ACCS said.
Dermal fillers and laser treatments make up the rest of the top five most popular procedures.
The national approach targeting cowboy practitioners came out of the COAG Health Council meeting late last year. NSW private hospitals and day procedure centres are licensed but only for cosmetic procedures that involve anaesthesia.