Hong Kong needs stricter regulations for cosmetic surgery

Hong Kong needs stricter regulations for cosmetic surgery

It’s increasingly common these days for those seeking youthful-looking skin to get Botox injections. Unfortunately, the procedure is not without risks. The first death in Hong Kong from a failed Botox injection occurred earlier this month, when the managing director of a Swiss private bank fell unconscious after receiving 16 shots.

The plastic surgeon who was responsible had previously been suspended for five months, over the death of another client who was given liposuction treatment.

In 2014, after several incidents relating to various cosmetic procedures, the Legislative Council’s Information Services Division published a report on the “Regulation of Aesthetic Practices in Selected Places”. The report compared regulations in Hong Kong with those in Florida, South Korea, Singapore, and Britain.

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The report highlighted the importance of a “cooling-off” period between an initial consultation and the actual treatment. While someone is unlikely to rush into a clinic demanding plastic surgery on a spur of the moment, their decision to get surgery could be influenced by recent life events, such as the end of a relationship. A mandatory cooling-off period gives clients time to properly consider their decision.

Clients should also be assessed by a professional after the cooling-off period to ensure they are able to think clearly and make proper judgments, before they are allowed to continue with the procedure.

The beauty industry currently lacks regulation; practitioners are not required to have licence nor standardised training. The number of cases in which a procedure has gone wrong proved how risky they can be, and make clear the need for tighter regulations.

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When medical treatments are complicated, patients are usually sent from private clinics to public hospitals, where there are the facilities and specialists needed to treat the patient. This should also be the case when it comes to beauty treatments; instead of allowing private beauty clinics to perform all types of procedures, the government should make sure that high-risk procedures can only be performed at those facilities which have immediate access to medical treatment should anything go wrong.

Moreover, while the harmful effects of, say, smoking, must be printed on the packaging, there is no such warning of the possible health risks related to cosmetic surgery. With side effects ranging from scarring to the possibility of infection to serious complications, clinics should be required to print these clearly alongside their advertisements, and make sure their clients are aware of all the risks involved.

No one should lose their life in the pursuit of trying to hide a few wrinkles. There are many regulations the governments needs to consider before allowing procedures such a Botox to be so easily accessible.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Tighter laws for cosmetic surgery


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