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Cosmetic injections checklist

22 August 2019

Cosmetic injections are serious medical procedures that involve injecting a substance under your skin to change an aspect of your appearance (e.g. reducing the appearance of wrinkles or lines on your face). If used incorrectly, the substances in these injections could cause skin damage, blindness or even death.

If you are considering a cosmetic injection, use this checklist to carefully research both the products and people involved.

Considering cosmetic injections?

Complete this checklist first.

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Attend a consultation

The products used in cosmetic injections require a valid prescription from an authorised prescriber such as a medical doctor, dentist or nurse practitioner. The prescriber must consult with you and fully explain the procedure before it goes ahead. This consultation may occur face-to-face or via video conference.

Make a list of your questions or concerns and bring these along to your consultation. The prescriber should provide you with enough information for you to make an informed decision, including possible risks and complications. Your informed consent should be obtained before the procedure goes ahead.

Check the registration status of the people involved

You should check that both the prescriber of the cosmetic injection and the person who administers the injection are appropriately qualified. The register of qualified people can be freely searched on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s (AHPRA) website.

The Medical Board of Australia’s guidelines for registered medical practitioners who perform cosmetic medical and surgical procedures outline the requirements for medical practitioners prescribing and administering cosmetic injection products.

Some nurses and dentists can prescribe cosmetic injection products. The Dental Board of Australia has published a fact sheet outlining expectations of dentists performing cosmetic injections. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has also issued a position statement outlining expectations of nurses working in the area of cosmetic procedures (see next page for links).

Check that the people involved are suitably experienced

Cosmetic injections into the wrong area of the face may result in serious consequences, including blindness or death. The person administrating the injection must have the appropriate knowledge and training.

Ask the person who will give the injection how much experience they have with this type of procedure. Also ensure that anyone else involved in the procedure is suitably qualified and experienced.

Research the risks

As with all medical procedures, there is a degree of risk associated with cosmetic injections. Your prescriber should explain the risks to you.

The person responsible for the procedure is also responsible for providing aftercare. You should be provided with written instructions and advice on what follow-up will be provided and what to do if you experience unexpected side effects.

Research the products

Ask about the products that are going to be used in your procedure. As legislation prevents the advertising of product and brand names, you will need to ask for this information.

The Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) lists all of the products that can be legally supplied in Australia. Search the ARTG to ensure that the product used in your procedure is registered.

Avoid counterfeit products

Some clinics have been involved in the illegal importation and use of dangerous counterfeit products. Cheaper products imported from overseas can be difficult to identify and may pose health risks.

Do your research and ensure that the product is included on the ARTG (see above). If it sounds too good to be true, it often is!

Report any unexpected side effects

As with most medical procedures, there will be a range of side effects that are considered normal for cosmetic injections. These side effects should be explained to you and may include redness and swelling of the skin.

It is important for prescribers to report unexpected side effects to the TGA. You can also report problems experienced as a result of a cosmetic injection directly to the TGA.

Report a problem or side effect

Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG)

Register of practitioners

Guidelines for registered medical practitioners who perform cosmetic medical and surgical procedures

Fact sheet: The use of botulinum toxin and dermal fillers by dentists

Position statement on nurses and cosmetic procedures

If you require further information, you can contact us on 1800 020 653 or email info@tga.gov.au

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