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Waiting period proposed for cosmetic ops

Waiting period proposed for cosmetic ops
Photo: Waiting period proposed for cosmetic ops
Teenagers who want cosmetic surgery may soon have to pass a psychological assessment before going under the knife.

And the Medical Board of Australia also wants people seeking a procedure to undergo a mandatory cooling-off period before their operation.

Under the guidelines proposed by the board, there would be a seven-day wait period for adults and a three-month cooling-off period before procedures for all under 18s.

Australians now spend $1 billion a year on cosmetic procedures, said board chairwoman Dr Joanna Flynn.

"We want to do what we can to keep the public safe, without imposing an unreasonable regulatory burden on practitioners," said Dr Flynn.

"We think the guidelines could do this, but we want to hear what the community and the profession think."
The board also wants patients to be supplied with written information about risks and possible complications and costs.

In its public consultation paper it defines cosmetic surgery as operations or procedures that change the appearance of normal bodily features with the sole intention of achieving what the patient perceives to be a more desirable appearance.

It includes breast augmentation, breast reduction, rhinoplasty, face lifts, and liposuction.

Other procedures covered by the proposed guidelines are non-surgical cosmetic procedures, including varicose vein treatment, laser hair removal, dermabrasion, chemical peels and injections.

It does not include reconstructive surgery, which restores parts of the body that are abnormal due to congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, injury or disease.

The guidelines also propose:

* mandatory face-to-face consultations before prescribing cosmetic injectables.
* limits on where cosmetic procedures can be performed, to manage risk to patients.
* explicit responsibility for post-operative care by the treating practitioner, including emergency facilities when sedation or analgesia is involved.

The Board is inviting feedback on its draft guidelines until May 29.

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