Guidelines are needed to ensure popular cosmetic procedures, such as "injectables" and "fillers", are better regulated, says the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
Dr Geoff Lyons, president of the ASPS, said his main concern about such procedures is that the public seems to think they are "not hazardous and therefore low risk".
This is incorrect, he explained. They are still real medical procedures and should be treated as such.
Research is on Dr Lyons' side, with Queenland's recent HCCC report also calling for action to be taken on a national level to protect consumers and regulate cosmetic treatments.
In January 2012, the Cosmetic Surgery Working Group of the Clinical Technical and Ethical Principal Committee for the Australian Health Ministers' Council also compiled a report on the subject.
Cosmetic Medical and Surgical Procedures: A National Framework looked into, as the title suggests, cosmetic procedures in Australia.
It reviewed the adequacy of the consumer safeguards that are currently in place and offered suggestions to make the system a lot safer for those undergoing cosmetic procedures.
The ASPS endorses this report's suggestions wholeheartedly, said Dr Lyons. He added, however, that regulation is "only as strong as its weakest enforcement link" – so drastic measures need to be taken.
"Unqualified practitioners using unapproved equipment, or injecting prescription drugs in unsafe environments is a recipe for disaster," he said in a July 22 statement.
If you are considering plastic or reconstructive surgery, you should keep in mind that Medicare does not recognise cosmetic surgery and non-surgical cosmetic procedures.
Many providers of health insurance will not cover these procedures or the hospital costs associated with them either.
However, cosmetic procedures are only a small part of plastic surgery.
Should you require plastic or reconstructive surgery of another kind, make sure you find out exactly what you are covered for with your Australian health insurance provider before you undergo any procedures.
Some health insurance plans may exclude certain plastic surgery or reconstructive procedures.
Common exclusions include surgery on a congenital abnormality (such as a cleft palate), burns, traumatic injury, as well as the removal of cancers or tumours.
Contact HICA today for advice on private health insurance and how it can relate to plastic and reconstructive surgery.