Tuesday 23 July 2019

Top cosmetic surgeon warns over Botox and filler botches

Stock Photo
Stock Photo

Lynne Kelleher

One of the country's leading plastic surgeons has warned about the rise in botched cosmetic procedures in Ireland.

Consultant plastic surgeon Dr Siun Murphy is seeing more patients looking to reverse surgery or revise injectables such as filler and Botox. She also said botched surgery abroad can end up in ER with patients arriving back with septic wounds.

In the Instagram age, many young women are taking a cavalier attitude to lip fillers and Botox which have been normalised by celebrities like the Kardashians.

While Botox has to be administered by a medical doctor, dermal filler products can be injected into the face by practitioners without a medical degree.

"It is not a regulated industry," said Dr Murphy. "There are more and more cases. A lot of it is botched lip filler. There are beauticians now teaching beauticians how to inject filler. That is a recipe for disaster."

Dr Murphy, who features on RTE's new series How To Live Better For Longer, presented by Dr Eva Orsmond, said she had been treating a patient who unknowingly had permanent filler injected all over her face in Spain.

"She didn't realise the repercussions, that she would have lumps and bumps everywhere causing her pain inside her mouth, on her forehead and on her temple."

In the new series on ageing, the plastic surgeon revealed women's skin starts to age in their 20s.

Dr Murphy, who works at Blackrock Clinic, said facelifts were falling in popularity in favour of non-surgical procedures - a trend also reported across the water by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

She said: "People are busy. People don't want the downtime of a facelift and the bandaging and the time off work. They know they can do a step approach to these things, if you start with your skincare and do a little bit of Botox and a bit of structurally placed filler."

She is seen on the RTE show treating one patient in her 30s with an injectable.

Dr Murphy said exposure to sun and environmental pollutants can accelerate the process. Sun screen, not smoking, exercise, drinking water and cleaning the skin are key tips to keeping skin looking younger.

But with the possibility of blindness from a filler injection gone wrong, the consultant surgeon said the public was scarily unaware of the risks they were taking.

"I can get nervous doing filler and I should. You can inject filler very quickly into an artery and blind someone and there are beauticians injecting filler in Ireland.

"You take a beautician in her beauty salon and she injects fillers around the tear trough area, and she injects into the infraorbital artery and within about 30 seconds the patient suddenly gets blurry vision."

Although anyone can administer fillers, only a doctor or a specially trained aesthetic nurse can administer hyalase to dissolve them.

"That is an ophthalmological emergency," said Dr Murphy. "She is going to go blind in that bed if she doesn't get hyalase injected into around where the filler is to dissolve it out of the artery that is blocking her vision."

She said many botched cases go under the radar or can often end up in the ER.

"And a lot of the surgical botch-ups that happen abroad unfortunately end up in the public sector. They arrive back into the Emergency Department because they are septic, having had their surgery abroad and it's taxpayers' money that has to fork out to pay for their recuperation and revision (procedures)."

Irish plastic surgeons were trying to address this issue. "We've approached the Government about this, the Irish Medical Council, numerous different bodies, the health protection authorities and no one will really budge on it."

'How To Live Better For Longer' is on RTE One tomorrow at 9.35pm

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