Scots who seek aesthetic treatments on the cheap are in danger of their lips turning black – or even going blind from nose filler going wrong, according to one of the country’s top clinics.


The stark warning comes as increasing numbers of people suffer life-changing complications after treatment in unregulated travelling clinics, and from other unqualified practitioners.


If not treated in time, sufferers can face a lifetime of corrective treatments, costing them thousands more than their cheap deal appeared to save them.


Dr Paige Shaw, a dentist whose speciality at the Ever Clinic in Glasgow lies in facial aesthetic treatments, said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of patients who are desperate to have complications fixed.


“The most damaging cases I have seen are vascular occlusion – when a lip filler gets into a blood vessel or blocks blood supply.


“The results can be horrendous. The lips can turn black and eventually necrotic – that is, the death of living tissue. Eventually if untreated, it leaves scar tissue – and a lifetime of regret for the sufferer.”


Dr Paige, who focuses on head and neck treatments, said that if unqualified practitioners inject filler into the nose, it can affect vessels that connect to the eye – and cause permanent blindness.


Prompt treatment is required to remove filler into vessels to prevent life changing complications, something which is impossible if the practitioner was operating from a travelling clinic which has moved on.


The reality is that all too many underqualified practitioners can cause complications and must resort to sending patients to NHS A&E. Doctors there often are not qualified in aesthetic procedures and may not be able to deal with the problems which can arise.


“Aside from any other considerations, it is quite unfair to load yet more pressure on an NHS which is already under huge pressure. If things go wrong and you have seen a professionally qualified medical practitioner with all the right equipment and medical colleague support, you are much more likely as a patient to have problems corrected by them and, if not, be referred to the appropriate person”, she said.


According to Dr Paige, the Five Most Common Dangers associated with cosmetic procedures are:


  • Infection at the procedure site, which slows down healing time and requires ongoing care and treatments, especially if the procedure was not carried out in a medically clean clinic by a medical professional who can use aseptic techniques and is fully qualified in infection control;


  • Bruising, always a possibility with an aesthetic procedure, but injecting at the wrong depth by an inexperienced practitioner means bruising can be much worse than it need have been;


  • Migration of filler away from intend site, often caused by overfilling or poor technique;


  • Asymmetry, when a poor practitioner gets the balance of the face completely wrong;


  • Nodules caused by cheap fillers which may cause complications years down the line.


“While properly procured dermal fillers are safe and effective in the right hands, there are unscrupulous people in the world who will try to take advantage of others.


“Anyone thinking of a procedure should seek out suitably qualified and experienced professionals. These should be medical practitioners who meet set standards in training, skills and insurance.


“Mounting evidence shows that the cheapest options are just not worth it”, she said.


Non-surgical procedures account for nine out of 10 cosmetic procedures and make up 70% of a market which is worth in excess of £3.6 billion in the UK.


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