A leading medical aesthetics professional has warned of the dangers to young girls who are travelling to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales for risky lip filler procedures aimed at creating an “Instagram face”.


Dr Cormac Convery, Co-founder and Medical Director of Glasgow-based Ever Clinic, said the traffic was being driven by the fact that the procedure was outlawed for under-18s in England two years ago, but other home nations were not affected.


Girls are being lured by adverts on social media which promise cheap injections to add volume to lips, but which offer no wraparound aftercare from practitioners who often block subsequent calls from patients if the treatment causes complications.


Dr Convery, who is also vice-Chair of the not-for-profit Complications in Medical Aesthetics Collaborative (CMAC), said: “I would not dream of carrying out, nor would ever advocate, these types of procedures on such young people, some of whom I believe are only 15 years old.


“Fillers are commonly used, but there can be significant adverse effects. The utmost care has to be exercised in the entire process, and in patient selection and injection technique in particular.


“Delivery of any injectable has to be part of medical treatment by qualified professionals. It should involve discussion of the patient’s medical history, full assessment and safety and risk analysis. Where there is any doubt, there should also be a cooling off period to allow patients to make informed decisions.


“Frankly, if someone puts you in a chair and simply says ‘do you want one ml of filler or two?’ you should get up smartly and walk away.”


Dr Convery said that while medical tourism is not unusual, treatments by inadequately-trained practitioners regularly have serious and, rarely, fatal effects. Recently, he said, a patient in Korea died after injection of a nasal filler.


The dangers associated with cosmetic procedures carried out by unregulated or unqualified people include infection, scarring, asymmetry, nodules, anaphylaxis and even, in extreme cases, blindness.


He added: “There needs to be a clear recognition of the inherent risks, including the difficulty accessing care when things go wrong. It’s notable that the NHS often refuses care in managing complications, unless there is an immediate need.”


Charites echoed Dr Convery’s warnings, saying the law banning filler should be also be implemented in the home nations. Save Face, a campaign group, said young girls were being encouraged to view fillers as just another beauty treatment.



Date of release: November 2023

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